Sweden, Finland should help Turkey fight terrorism: Stoltenberg
Sweden and Finland need to promote cooperation with Turkey and tighten their anti-terror laws to fight terrorist groups, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday, local media reported.
“Sweden and Finland should strengthen cooperation with Türkiye in the fight against the terrorist organization PKK and its offshoots,” Stoltenberg said as he urged the Nordic countries to cooperate with NATO members against terrorism.
“Türkiye is concerned because it is the only NATO country that suffers the most terrorist attacks and their concern should be understood,” Stoltenberg explained.
The NATO chief’s comments come at a particularly tense time in Türkiye following the Nov. 14 terror attack on Istanbul’s busy Istiklal street that killed at least six and left 81 injured, as well as the three rocket attacks by the PKK’s Syrian branch YPG into Turkey’s southeast. the limit was at least three civilians were killed and 14 others were injuredwhich included eight security personnel.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) was launched Operation Claw-Sword against the terror group late on Saturday which intends to eliminate its hideouts in northern Iraq and Syria. Its defense ministry confirmed that Turkish warplanes have directly hit at least 89 targets since then.
Regarding the Turkish counteroffensive, Stoltenberg noted that NATO members have different views on terrorist groups and emphasized that Türkiye has the right to self-defense against such organizations.
Turkey is currently in conflict with Sweden and Finland over their application to join NATO. The two countries abandoned their long-standing policy of non-alignment and applied to join the military alliance after Russia invaded Ukraine. But Ankara has blocked their applications and accuses Stockholm in particular of being a haven for terrorists.
Sweden, in particular, has taken steps to get into Turkey’s good graces since the sides struck a deal in June requiring them not to provide support to the PKK and its offshoots, or the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the group behind the defeated 2016 coup in Turkey.
Last, the Swedish Riksdag adopted a constitutional amendment which will enable the introduction of new laws to “restrict freedom of association in relation to associations that engage in or support terrorism” and enable “further criminalization of participation in a terrorist organization or the prohibition of a terrorist organization.”
The change comes into effect on January 1.