Turkey asks for Finland, Sweden’s extradition under NATO deal | NATO news

Turkey’s justice minister has announced that his country will request the extradition of 33 alleged Kurdish fighters and coup suspects from Sweden and Finland as part of a deal that secures Turkish support for the NATO membership of the two Nordic countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday dropped weeks of opposition to Sweden and Finland’s ambitions to join NATO during talks ahead of a military alliance summit in Madrid, Spain.

Erdogan emerged from meeting with Nordic leaders after signing a ten-point deal in which the two countries pledged to join Turkey’s fight against banned armed groups, such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and swiftly extradite suspects to Turkey.

“The files of six PKK members, six FETO members are waiting in Finland, while those of 10 FETO members and 11 PKK members are waiting in Sweden. We will write again about their extradition and remind them after the agreement,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said through Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu.

Erdogan has previously accused Finland and Sweden in particular of providing a safe haven for Kurdish fighters.

The agreement states that “Finland and Sweden confirm that the PKK is a banned terrorist organization” and that Sweden and Finland pledge “not to provide support” to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), an offshoot of the PKK in Syria that plays an important role. role in the United States-led alliance against ISIL (ISIS).

Finland and Sweden also pledge to “promptly and thoroughly handle the pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects from Turkey”.

The agreement also states that “Finland and Sweden undertake to prevent activities of the PKK and all other terrorist organizations and their extensions, as well as activities by individuals … associated with these terrorist organizations.”

The European Union and Washington both recognize the PKK as a “terrorist” organization.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland have given up decades of military non-alignment and were formally invited to join the NATO alliance at Wednesday’s summit in Madrid.

NATO leaders gathered for a key summit in Madrid, Spain, and pose for a group photo.
NATO leaders gather for an important summit in Madrid, Spain [Kenny Holston/Pool via Reuters]

‘got what it wanted’

Erdogan’s office hailed the agreement with Sweden and Finland as a victory.

“Turkey got what it wanted,” his office said in a statement.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told reporters in Madrid on Wednesday that his country “as far as I know has not made any claims for the time being”.

A day earlier, the Finnish leader said the memorandum signed did not list persons for extradition and that Helsinki would continue to respect European rules when making extradition decisions.

“Actually, we don’t have any unresolved extradition requests at this time. We have processed 14 of the 16 (requests from Turkey) and two decisions have been blocked due to the fact that the targets have not been located,” Niinisto told reporters.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said Stockholm will continue to follow local and international laws in its extraditions, adding that her country will not extradite Swedish citizens.

“We never extradite anyone who is a Swedish citizen, and I know that some of those who have expressed concern are Swedish citizens, so they need not worry,” she said.

“We will of course, as before, follow Swedish and international law… this means that if someone is not carrying out terrorist activities, then there is no need to worry.”