BY DAILY SABAH
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Türkiye has not seen any concrete action from Sweden and Finland regarding their extradition of terrorists as part of the agreement reached to approve the two Nordic countries’ NATO bids.
Speaking at the closing news conference of the Ambassadors Conference in Ankara, Çavuşoğlu said the two countries have not fulfilled their pledges yet.
“They have proposed to hold a meeting in August and we will hopefully hold our first meeting on Aug. 26,” he said.
Last month, Turkey, Finland and Sweden signed a deal for Ankara to remove its block of the Nordic countries’ NATO membership, while the candidates pledged not to support the PKK terrorist group, its extensions or the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which staged a 2016 failed coup attempt.
The agreement addresses Ankara’s three main concerns with Finland and Sweden: the lifting of weapons export restrictions to Turkey, a hard line on the PKK and its affiliates, and the extradition of terrorist suspects.
In the memorandum text the three countries signed on Tuesday, Finland and Sweden agreed to “address (Turkey’s) pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly … in accordance with the European Convention on Extradition.”
Turkey expects 73 terrorists to be extradited.
According to the signed memorandum, Finland and Sweden pledged not to support the PKK and its Syrian branch the YPG or the network of U.S.-based Fetullah Gülen, which staged a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey and was labeled as a terrorist organization. The signed memorandum did not list any individuals for extradition.
Turkey’s Western allies designate the PKK as a terrorist group but not the YPG, which the United States has partnered with to fight the Daesh terrorist group in Syria despite Ankara’s objections. The PKK launched its insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Turkey, a NATO member of more than 70 years and with the alliance’s second-biggest army, has long demanded that allies halt support for the PKK/YPG.
It has repeatedly traded barbs with the United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands and others over the matter.
Touching on Türkiye’s stalled EU accession process, Çavuşoğlu said Türkiye plans to eliminate technical political obstacles regarding its EU accession bid and let the bloc know that it is ready for talks
“EU would’ve become a global actor had it accepted Türkiye’s accession bid to the bloc, took recent steps together,” he said.
Türkiye-EU relations are marked by disputes on several issues, including tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Türkiye’s role in Syria, the migrant crisis and the stalemate in Türkiye’s accession process to join the bloc. However, Turkey recently reiterated that it is part of Europe and sees its future in the EU, adding that it will continue to work toward full membership.
Ankara is calling to reenergize the accession process, update the EU-Türkiye Customs Union, regular high-level dialogues, visa liberalization and counterterrorism.