Türkiye on Monday strongly criticized Sweden for refusing to prosecute supporters of the PKK/YPG terror group for last week’s provocative demonstrations against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the capital Stockholm.
“Once again, the silence of those who claim to champion democracy, pluralism, and freedom in the face of this vile terrorist act means nothing but supporting terrorism,” Omer Celik, spokesman for the Justice and Development (AK) Party, told reporters in the capital Ankara.
Actions depicting the murder of a country’s head of state would not be regarded as freedom of expression anywhere in the world, Celik said, reiterating that what PKK/YPG supporters did last week “has nothing to do with freedom of speech.”
The Swedish prosecutor’s decision not to punish the perpetrators means “a terrorist group can take any action it wants in Sweden; it can threaten the heads of states of friendly countries,” he said.
Celik called out Sweden for becoming a “propaganda center of these terrorists.”
He warned that the ambiguous stance of Swedish politicians and judiciary on terrorism and counterterrorism issues poses a threat to the country’s own national interests.
“During our negotiations in Türkiye, they (Swedish officials) said that they would work seriously to revise their laws on terrorism and make them stronger,” said Celik, who was speaking to journalists after a meeting of the AK Party’s Central Executive Board.
“Although they have taken some steps, the situation remains same,” he added.
He urged Swedish authorities to honor the pledges on anti-terrorism efforts it made to gain NATO membership.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in May, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
But Türkiye – a NATO member for more than 70 years – voiced objections, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terror groups, including the PKK and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
Last June, Türkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum to address Ankara’s legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.
Türkiye has praised some steps taken by Sweden and Finland but says the countries need to do more to show their firm stance against terrorism and terror groups that threaten Türkiye.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
FETO orchestrated a defeated coup in Türkiye on July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 wounded. Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Source: Anadolu Agency