Social media posts blaming Turkey for organising the attack against a Kurdish cultural centre and Kurdish businesses on 23 December were mainly shared from accounts in Sweden and Finland, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.
“Some groups are consciously, persistently trying to link the attack against the cultural centre to Turkey,” Yeni Şafak quoted Akar as saying on Saturday.
Following the attack which left three Kurdish people dead and three others, including a Frenchman, wounded, French police arrested a 69-year-old retiree with a history of assaults against immigrants as the main suspect, and a French court sent him to prison on Monday. However, the Kurdish community in France and beyond express suspicions about a role that might have been played by Turkey, by recalling a similar attack in Paris in 2013, during which a Turkish gunman, allegedly linked to the Turkish intelligence, killed three female Kurdish activists, including one of the founders of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The 2013 attack left trauma among Kurds, as the attack remained unsolved after the Turkish suspect died in prison in 2016, just a month before the start of his trial.
Following the 23 December incident, many Kurdish institutions and some French politicians said it should be handled as a terrorist attack and should be investigated thoroughly. A possible role played by Turkey in the attack has also been expressed by many accounts on Twitter.
“We observed that tweets were intensely posted from Sweden and Finland about allegations that the attack ‘was organised by Turkey’,” Akar said. “We shared this information with all relevant institutions. The supporters of the terrorist organisation are trying to take down Turkey by campaign attacks they organise,” he added.
Turkey has been putting pressure on Sweden and Finland to cut their support to what Ankara calls supporters of terrorism, threatening the two Nordic countries to use its veto power against their NATO membership bid.
The three countries signed a memorandum in June that included some concessions made by Sweden and Finland to meet Turkey’s demands for the extradition of some Turkish nationals over terrorism ties, in exchange for Ankara lifting its reservation against their NATO membership.
Following the signing of the memorandum, Stockholm and Helsinki started gradually changing their policies towards Ankara, particularly after the new right-wing government in Sweden took charge, giving up the country’s long-running progressive foreign policy.