Signs of discord after agreement on Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO

Signs of discord after agreement on Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO
Update: 01 July 2022 21:55
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Merely days after signing of a trilateral memorandum in Spain on Tuesday, with Turkey agreeing to back Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO, signs of discord emerge.

While it has been widely assumed by parties after the recent NATO summit in Spain on 28-30 June that Turkey is now ready to drop its objection to the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, signs of a discord have emerged as conflicting remarks came from the officials of Turkey and the two Nordic countries on the issue of 'extradition' of certain individuals by the latter.

After the three countries signed a deal that clears the way for Sweden and Finland to become NATO members, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Wednesday that they would seek the 'extradition of 33 terrorists', 12 from Finland and 21 from Sweden.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the number to 73 on Thursday, however, saying that Sweden had 'promised' Turkey to extradite '73 terrorists'.

Erdogan also warned that he could still block the two countries' accession to NATO if they fail to implement the recent accession deal with Ankara.

The Swedish officials responded saying that they did not understand Erdogan's reference, and assured that Sweden will continue to strictly adhere to the rule of law.

"In Sweden, Swedish law is applied by independent courts," Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said in a statement to AFP.

"Swedish citizens are not extradited. Non-Swedish citizens can be extradited at the request of other countries, but only if it is compatible with Swedish law and the European Convention," he added.

While Finnish Justice Minister Anna-Maija Henrikson said on Wednesday that Finland will continue to follow the same international agreements regarding extraditions as previously, the Finnish Ministry of Justice stated that they have not received any new extradition requests from Turkey over the past few days, according to a report by YLE News.

Turkey first voiced its disapproval of Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership plans in mid May over accusations that the two countries have been harboring 'terror groups'.

Turkey also demands that Sweden and Finland lift arms embargoes imposed in response to Turkey's military incursion into Syria in 2019, resulting in the occupation of parts of north Syria that had previously been under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).