Turkish security forces have discovered Swedish anti-tank weapons used by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to reports, bolstering Turkey’s resolve to block Sweden’s NATO membership.
As part of Operation Claw-Lock, Turkish soldiers were able to attack caves they suspect were used by the PKK in northern Iraq on Tuesday, according to a Daily Sabah report.
Turkey recently said it would block Finland’s and Sweden’s bids for NATO membership over what it sees as their lax attitude towards Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) activists. , considered terrorists by Ankara.
The PKK, which has been waging a war of independence against the Turkish state since 1984, is also listed as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union due to the deadly attacks the group has carried out in the country.
Security forces raided several area caves in Iraq on Tuesday after five Turkish soldiers fighting the PKK were killed in action.
AT-4 anti-tank weapons built by Swedish company Saab Bofors Dynamics Ammunition were discovered, according to the Daily Sabah report and a takvim report translated by Google.
The denial came as Swedish and Finnish delegations were expected in the Turkish capital, Ankara, for talks with Turkish officials on Wednesday in an attempt to overcome Turkey’s objections to their NATO bids, according to a Associated Press report.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected attempts by NATO leaders to convince him to change Turkey’s position on the Finnish-Swedish issue.
Last week, Erdogan said the two Nordic countries should ‘not bother’ trying to overcome his objections, according to a AlJazeera report.
While the EU, including Sweden and Finland, lists the PKK as a terrorist organization, its attitudes are more fluid towards its Syrian branch, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, according to the report.
The YPG contributed to the fight against ISIS in Syria and hosted their leaders in European capitals.
On Wednesday, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson addressed Turkey‘s frustrations at a press conference.
“We don’t send money to terrorist organizations, of course, or any weapons,” Andersson said at the conference, according to a The defense post report.
She also said talks between Finland, Sweden and Turkey would give them a chance to clear up any “confusion” around the subject.
The accusation of support for the PKK is not the only reason for Turkish resentment against the two Nordic countries. Since 2019, Finland and Sweden have imposed sanctions on Turkey following the country’s invasion of northeast Syria.
The Turkish president’s objection could ultimately prevent the two Nordic countries from joining the alliance, as any new member must be approved by all 30 NATO countries, including Turkey.
Newsweek contacted the Swedish and Turkish Foreign Ministries for comment.