Turkish military finds Swedish-made anti-tank weapons in PKK caves
Turkish security forces discovered Swedish anti-tank weapons while carrying out a raid on a cave used by the PKK terrorists in northern Iraq within the scope of Operation Claw-Lock, a report said Wednesday, as Swedish officials denied providing assistance to the terrorists, which has become a stumbling block for the country’s NATO membership.
The security forces carried out raids on several caves in the area after five Turkish soldiers fighting against the terrorists were killed in action.
They discovered AT-4 anti-tank weapons built by Sweden’s Saab Bofors Dynamics Ammunition during the raids, TRT Haber reported.
Turkish security forces also discovered arms, vehicles and equipment as well as televisions, satellites, heaters, power generators and life supplies in the caves used by the terrorists.
The AT-4, which is one of the most common light anti-tank weapons in the world, weighs 6.4 kilograms (14.1 pounds) and is 102 centimeters (40 inches) in length.
Initially built in Sweden by Saab Bofors Dynamics, the weapon was modified by the U.S. military and adopted as the M136, a lightweight multipurpose weapon. The Swedish military also recognized the U.S. version and the forward folding grip is known to be the only difference between the two versions.
The announcement of the discovery came a day after Sweden denied that it was providing any “financial assistance or military support” to terrorist groups in Syria.
“Sweden is a major humanitarian donor to the Syria crisis through global allocations to humanitarian actors,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde told the Aftonbladet newspaper on Tuesday. “Cooperation in northeastern Syria is carried out primarily through the United Nations and international organizations,” she said.
On Wednesday, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson also claimed her country is not funding or arming terrorist organizations.
“We are not sending money to terrorist organisations, of course, nor any weapons,” Andersson told a Stockholm press conference, as Finnish and Swedish delegations began discussions with Ankara on Wednesday.
Listed as a terror group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – of which Sweden and Finland are members – the PKK has waged an insurgency against Turkey since 1984.
Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict.
Among other things, Ankara claimed that Sweden had decided to provide $376 million to support the PKK’s Syrian offshoot, the YPG, in 2023 and that it had provided military equipment to them, including anti-tank weapons and drones.
On Monday, Turkey outlined five conditions for it to back Sweden’s NATO membership bid, demanding that Sweden lift sanctions against Turkey, including an arms export embargo; end “political support for terrorism”; eliminate sources of terrorism financing and halt arms support to the PKK/YPG, according to a list published by the Presidency’s Directorate of Communications.