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 Türkiye," says PM Kristersson.

Türkiye says Sweden and Finland are harbouring and supporting terrorists mainly from the groups of FETO, PKK and its affiliations.
Türkiye says Sweden and Finland are harbouring and supporting terrorists mainly from the groups of FETO, PKK and its affiliations. (Reuters Archive)

Türkiye has the right to protect itself against terrorist attacks, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has said, stressing his country should not be a "safe haven" for terrorists targeting Ankara. 

Sweden's new premier said on Thursday it must be admitted 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 recognise that the terrorist attacks that hit Türkiye are just as bad for Türkiye as other terrorist attacks that hit other countries are for them," Kristersson added.

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

READ MORE: Erdogan: Türkiye 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-long impartial stance on wars after Russia began its "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24.

But Türkiye and Hungary placed reservations about Nordic countries' memberships in NATO.

The Hungarian government recently announced that it will approve their membership bids in 2023 but Türkiye has conditioned its approval.

Türkiye says Sweden and Finland are harbouring and supporting terrorists mainly from the groups of FETO, PKK and its affiliations.

In June, the three nations, however, signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding at a NATO summit in Spain, in which the Nordic nations pledged to drop their support for terror groups and help Ankara fight against them. 

In its almost 40-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Türkiye, the US and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the terror group's Syrian offshoot.

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

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

Operation Claw-Sword

Besides its diplomatic efforts, Türkiye continues to fight YPG/PKK in northern portions of Syria and Iraq.

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

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

A terrorist affiliated with Syria-based YPG exploded the bomb, killing six, including two children, and leaving 81 people wounded.

Amid the Operation Claw-Sword, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated that Türkiye will root out all terrorists from the country's borders in Syria and Iraq.

Following Türkiye'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 that Finland is closer to being a NATO member rather than Sweden, noting that Stockholm is dragging its feet on fighting against those groups. 

Meanwhile, Turkish, Swedish and Finnish delegations will meet in Stockholm for the second time to discuss NATO membership and the Nordic countries' measures against terrorism. 

READ MORE: Sweden amends constitution to boost anti-terror law as demanded by Türkiye

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

Source: TRTWorld and agencies