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Turkish, Swedish delegations hold talks in Ankara about Turkey’s extradition requests

Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson (L) shakes hands with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid, on June 28, 2022. Henrik MONTGOMERY / TT News Agency / AFP

A delegation from the Swedish justice ministry met with a delegation from its counterpart in Turkey on Wednesday to discuss Turkey’s requests for the extradition of political dissidents who are labelled as “terrorists” by the Turkish government, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The Turkish delegation was led by Director General of Foreign Relations and European Union Affairs Kasım Çiçek during the seven-hour meeting at the justice ministry.

According to a statement on the meeting from the Turkish side, the ministry repeated its extradition requests for people who are allegedly linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community, and FETÖ, a term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement as a terrorist organization.

The seven Gülen-linked political dissidents whose extradition Turkey is seeking from Sweden are writer Harun Tokak, journalists Levent Kenez and Bülent Keneş, Yılmaz Aytan, former police chief Murat Çetiner, Orhan Er and Harun Ayvaz, who all face trials in Turkey due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Some alleged PKK members are also on Turkey’s list, according to Anadolu, which said Sweden earlier rejected Turkey’s extradition requests for these people.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, Sweden decided to give up its 200-year policy of neutrality and applied to become a member of NATO; however, the country faced a veto from Turkey.

To join NATO, the parliaments of the 30 member states must approve the membership application.

NATO member Turkey is threatening to freeze Sweden and Finland’s attempts to join the Western defense alliance unless it extradites dozens of people Ankara accuses of “terrorism.”

A non-binding deal Sweden and fellow NATO aspirant Finland signed with Turkey in June commits them to “expeditiously and thoroughly” examine Ankara’s requests for suspects linked to the Gülen movement and the PKK.

The Turkish government labels the 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.

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