Sweden and Finland's political, financial and arms support to terrorist organizations is threatening NATO, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday.
Speaking to reporters following a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, Akar described the talks as positive and noted that he voiced the importance of joint action in the fight against terrorism.
Restrictions on the Turkish defense industry harm NATO and do not comply with the spirit of the alliance, Akar added. “We have been fulfilling our responsibilities in NATO for 70 years and will continue to do so. Yet, we clearly underlined that we will also continue to preserve our national rights and interests,” he continued.
“NATO is a security organization. One of its main areas of struggle is terrorism. NATO’s founding principles necessitate all kinds of fights against terrorism for regional and international stability and security,” he emphasized, reiterating that Turkey is fighting several terrorist organizations at the same time.
“While fighting terrorism in the north of Syria, Iraq, protecting our citizens and country, on the other side we prevent terrorists from spreading in Europe,” Akar said. “An understanding that ignores terrorists who attack an alliance member country, kill its security forces and massacre innocent people is incompatible with the spirit of friendship and alliance.”
Akar went on to say that he presented evidence of Sweden and Finland’s support for terrorist organizations during his talks in Brussels. “There are Swedish-made AT-4 anti-tank weapons. We have gathered several of these weapons used by terrorists during our operations in the north of Syria and Iraq. We have put forth the photos and serial numbers of these during our meetings,” Akar added, highlighting the inconsistency in supporting terrorist groups while demanding to participate in a defense organization.
Speaking on defense industry export restrictions on Turkey by some members, Akar said: “One side they say ‘Let’s get stronger, be united against all kinds of threats toward NATO,’ on the other side embargoes are applied on Turkey.”