Turkey Finds Potential Evidence to Use Against Sweden Joining NATO

Turkish security forces have allegedly discovered Swedish anti-tank weapons being used by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), according to reports, adding to Turkey's resolve to block Sweden's accession to NATO.

As a part of Operation Claw-Lock, Turkish soldiers were able to raid caves they suspect had been used by the PKK in northern Iraq on Tuesday, according to a Daily Sabah report.

Turkey has recently said it will block Finland and Sweden's bids to join NATO because of what it sees as their lax attitude towards Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants, who are considered terrorists by Ankara.

The PKK, which has been fighting a war for independence against the Turkish state since 1984, is also listed as a terrorist group by the U.S. and the European Union due to deadly attacks the group has carried out in the country.

The security forces carried out raids on several caves on Tuesday in the area in Iraq after five Turkish soldiers fighting against the PKK were killed in action.

AT-4 anti-tank weapons built by Sweden's Saab Bofors Dynamics Ammunition, were found, according to the Daily Sabah report and a Takvim report that had been translated by Google.

The denial came as delegations from Sweden and Finland were expected in the Turkish capital, Ankara, for talks with Turkish officials on Wednesday to try and overcome Turkey's objections to their NATO bids, according to an Associated Press report.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed the attempts by NATO leaders to convince him to change Turkey's stance on Finland and Sweden issue.

Last week Erdogan said that the two Nordic countries should "not bother" to try and remove his objections, according to an Aljazeera report.

While the E.U.—including Sweden and Finland—lists the PKK as a terrorist organisation, its attitudes are more fluid towards its Syrian branch, the People's Protection Units, or YPG, according to the report.

The YPG contributed in combating ISIS in Syria and has had its leaders hosted in European capitals.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson addressed the frustrations of Turkey in a press conference on Wednesday.

"We are not sending money to terrorist organizations, of course, nor any weapons," Andersson said during the conference, according to a The Defense Post report.

She also said that discussions between Finland, Sweden and Turkey would give them a chance to clear up any "confusion" surrounding the topic.

The accusation of providing support to the PKK is not the only reason for Turkish resentment against the two Nordic countries. Since 2019, Finland and Sweden have imposed sanctions against Turkey over the country's invasion of northeastern Syria.

The Turkish president's objection could ultimately block the two Nordic countries from joining the alliance, as any new member needs to be approved by all 30 NATO countries, including Turkey.

Newsweek has contacted Sweden and Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a statement after the cabinet meeting with the agenda of Russia and Ukraine on February 28, 2022 in Ankara, Turkey. Turkey Finds Potential Evidence to Use Against Sweden Joining NATO Turkey Presidential Press Office/Getty Images