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Turkish FM says Sweden, Finland have not taken any concrete steps on extraditions

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said Sweden and Finland have not yet taken any steps to meet Turkey’s demand for the extradition of people it calls “terrorists” under a NATO deal signed last month, Turkish media outlets reported.

In televised remarks on Wednesday, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey has to see whether the two countries are taking action in line with Turkey’s conditions under the NATO deal in order for the Turkish Parliament to ratify their membership in NATO.

“One of their responsibilities [under the NATO] deal is to prevent terrorist propaganda. But it still happens. It’s not sufficient only to criticize them, you need to take action. There is silence on the part of Finland. The people whose extradition we have demanded still have not been extradited to Turkey,” said Çavuşoğlu.

He said if Sweden and Finland keep their promises under the NATO deal, the Turkish government will then start the parliamentary process to ratify their membership in NATO.

“I must say we are not yet in a position to bring it to parliament,” Çavuşoğlu added.

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but were faced with opposition from Turkey, which accused the Nordic countries of imposing arms embargoes on Ankara and supporting groups it deems terrorists.

In an agreement signed by Stockholm and Helsinki at the NATO summit in Madrid on June 28, the two Nordic countries agreed to examine Turkish extradition requests for political dissidents who are deemed “terrorists” by Turkey “expeditiously and thoroughly.”

There are conflicting figures about the number of people whose extradition Turkey is seeking from Sweden and Finland.

In a recent statement to the Swedish TT News Agency, Foreign Minister Ann Linde said Turkey had sought the extradition of 16 Turkish citizens from Sweden since 2019 but had to withdraw nine of its requests because those individuals do not live in Sweden. Linde also said while Swedish courts refused to extradite four people, three others were extradited to Turkey.

Yet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at the end of the NATO summit on June 30 that Sweden had made a “promise” to extradite “73 terrorists” and threatened to block NATO membership if the commitments were not met. Before this statement, there was only talk of the extradition of 33 people.

However, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who was pressed by reporters several times at a recent news conference to say if such a promise had been made, simply repeated Stockholm’s position.

She said Sweden will continue to respect national and international laws, no Swedish nationals will be extradited and that the decision will be up to independent authorities and courts.

Turkey demands the extradition of people including some journalists and writers who allegedly have links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government labels the faith-based Gülen movement as a terrorist organization and accuses it of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016. The movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and its Western allies.

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