Swedish delegation heading to Turkey to discuss Ankara’s extradition requests
Swedish officials will visit Turkey next week to discuss Turkey’s extradition requests of terror suspects, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said.
Ankara expects Sweden and Finland to extradite Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Gülen Movement members to Turkey within the scope of the NATO agreement, Bozdag told reporters on Tuesday, after a cabinet meeting in capital Ankara, state-run Anadolu news agency said.
Sweden and Finland that have a long history of neutrality in military conflicts, officially applied for NATO membership in May, following Russia’s launching an invasion of Ukraine on Feb.24. While the vast majority of NATO members welcomed Sweden’s and Finland’s bids to demonstrate strength and unity in the face of Russia’s invasion, Turkey, the second largest army in the alliance, opposed the two countries’ memberships, citing their failure to combat threats to Turkey’s security.
After Sweden and Finland promised to address Ankara’s pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects, Turkey dropped its objections against Sweden and Finland’s membership applications, allowing the military organization to formally invite the two countries for membership at a Madrid summit in June. But the final approval of their memberships depends on the current member states’ parliaments. The NATO accession protocols for Sweden and Finland need to be ratified by the parliaments of all 30 members, where Ankara says it will not ratify the documents if Stockholm and Helsinki fail to fulfil their commitments, regarding Turkey’s extradition requests.
The Swedish delegation will held two-days long technical talks with Turkish Justice Ministry officials, starting on Oct.5, Bozdag said. A Turkish Foreign Ministry delegation also will head to Finland soon, he said.
The people that Ankara expects the two Scandinavian countries to extradite are those who are under investigation and prosecution in Turkey, Bozdag said, adding that no information was given to them whether the people on Turkey’s extradition request list had left Sweden and Finland.
Twenty-seven of 30 NATO member states by now have given the necessary official approval for Sweden and Finland’s joining the transatlantic alliance.
Along with Turkey, Hungary and Slovakia remain on the list of the member states that have not ratified Sweden and Finland’s accession yet.
PKK is an outlawed armed group in Turkey, fighting an insurgency on Turkish soil for almost four decades and designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.
Gülen Movement on the other hand, is an Islamic group led by Fetullah Gülen, a cleric living in self-imposed exile in the United States. Turkey blames the movement of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government by a failed coup of July 15, 2016.