Turkey’s pro-government media outlets continue to target Sweden following escalating tensions between Ankara and Stockholm over the Nordic country’s NATO bid.
Despite Sweden’s promises to end support to groups recognised as terrorist organisations by Ankara in order to bypass Turkey’s veto over NATO’s Nordic expansion, the country has witnessed several attacks against Turkey in recent weeks, wrote Sabah newspaper on Saturday.
The flagship of Turkey’s pro-government media said that the supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) continued to have a freehand in Sweden where they have found a sanctuary.
Sabah’s report, replicated by other major pro-government outlets, accusing Sweden of receiving PKK supporters with open arms, is based on a Friday report from Swedish Radio in relation to one man who was arrested by the Stockholm District Court on suspicion of attempted extortion and aggravated weapons offences, as well as attempted terrorist financing.
The man, who is a citizen of Turkey living in Sweden for about five years, was arrested in an investigation into attempted aggravated extortion and is suspected of being linked to the PKK, the Swedish Radio said.
The Turkish newspaper used this single incident to add fuel to the fire between Ankara and Stockholm that was sparked last month as a result of an effigy of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hung by its feet during a protest in the Swedish capital.
The tensions between the two countries intensified after a far-right anti-Islam activist burnt the Muslim holy book, the Quran, in Stockholm.
The Swedish government distanced itself from the far-right stunt but stated that such demonstrations are protected by the freedom of speech.
“The last incident proved once more that terrorist groups have been running rampant in the country where hideous demonstrations are taking place under the pretext of ‘freedom of speech’,” wrote Sabah newspaper in relation to the recent events in Sweden.
Turkish pro-government media’s reports targeting Sweden gained pace following Erdoğan’s comment this week reaffirming that Ankara will not allow the Nordic country to join NATO as long as it tolerates demonstrations desecrating the holy book of Islam.