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Sweden should not be a place where people who finance terrorism find a safe haven “precisely because their activities are not aimed at Sweden but at Turkey”, says Prime Minister Kristersson.

Turkey says that Sweden and Finland harbor and support terrorists mainly from the groups FETO, PKK and its affiliates. (Reuters archive)

Turkey has the right to protect itself against terrorist attacks, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has said, stressing that his country should not be a “sanctuary” for terrorists targeting Ankara.

Sweden’s new prime minister said on Thursday it will be recognized that “Türkiye is a country that is exposed to terrorist attacks and where we also state that Türkiye has the right to protect itself against terrorist attacks.”

“The rest of the world has reason to realize that the terrorist attacks that hit Turkey are just as bad for Turkey as other terrorist attacks that hit other countries are for them,” Kristersson added.

He emphasized that Sweden should not be a place where people, who in various ways participate in and finance terrorism or terror-related activities, find a safe haven precisely because their activities are not aimed at Sweden but at Turkey.

READ MORE: Erdogan: Turkey expects concrete steps from Sweden for its NATO bid

NATO membership

Sweden and Finland decided to join the Western military bloc, NATO, breaking their century-old neutral stance on war after Russia launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24.

But Turkey and Hungary reserved themselves against the Nordic countries’ membership in NATO.

The Hungarian government recently announced that it will approve their membership bid in 2023 but Türkiye has not lifted the block.

Turkey says that Sweden and Finland harbor and support terrorists mainly from the groups FETO, PKK and its affiliates.

In June, however, the three nations signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding at a NATO summit in Spain, with the Nordic nations pledging to end their support for terrorist groups and help Ankara fight them.

In its nearly 40-year campaign of terror against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the terrorist group’s Syrian offshoot.

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (or FETO) is behind the failed 2016 coup in Türkiye that killed 251 and injured over 2,200 people.

READ MORE: Türkiye warns Finland, Sweden must ‘take steps’ before NATO approval

Operation Claw-Sword

In addition to its diplomatic efforts, Türkiye continues to fight the YPG/PKK in northern parts of Syria and Iraq.

On Sunday, Türkiye launched Operation Claw-Sword, a cross-border air campaign against the YPG/PKK terrorist group, which has hideouts across the Iraqi and Syrian borders where it plans attacks on Turkish soil.

The operation came after a YPG/PKK terrorist attack targeting Istanbul’s crowded Istiklal Avenue on November 13.

A terrorist linked to the Syria-based YPG detonated the bomb, killing six, including two children, and leaving 81 people injured.

In the midst of Operation Claw-Sword, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated that Türkiye will eradicate all terrorists from the country’s borders in Syria and Iraq.

After Turkey’s anti-terror operation, some YPG/PKK supporters gathered in Stockholm’s main square to show support for the group in Syria.

Turkish officials say Finland is closer to a NATO member than Sweden, noting that Stockholm is dragging its feet in fighting these groups.

At the same time, Turkish, Swedish and Finnish delegations are meeting in Stockholm for the second time to discuss NATO membership and the Nordic countries’ measures against terrorism.

READ MORE: Sweden amends the constitution to strengthen the anti-terror legislation that Türkiye demanded

READ MORE: YPG/PKK supporters hold anti-Türkiye demonstration in Sweden amid NATO bid

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

Turkey has the right to defend itself against terrorists

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