BY DAILY SABAH WITH AFP
Türkiye’s justice minister on Thursday said that Sweden’s pledge to extradite a Turkish convict fell far short of Stockholm’s commitments under a deal reached during the Madrid NATO summit.
A deal Sweden and fellow NATO aspirant Finland signed with Türkiye in June commits them to “expeditiously and thoroughly” examine Ankara’s requests for suspects linked to a 2016 coup attempt and PKK terrorists.
The Swedish government said earlier this month that it would extradite Okan Kale – a man convicted of credit card fraud who appeared on a list of people sought by Ankara published by Turkish media.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ told Milliyet news site that Sweden needed to do far more to win Türkiye’s trust.
“If they think that by extraditing ordinary criminals to Türkiye they will make us believe that they have fulfilled their promises, they are wrong,” Bozdağ said in the first government response to the extradition decision.
“Nobody should test Türkiye,” he warned.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself has warned that he will not submit the two countries’ applications for ratification in Parliament unless they comply with his extradition demands in full.
Erdoğan said in July that Sweden had made a “promise” to extradite “73 terrorists.”
The Turkish Justice Ministry in June formally requested the extradition of 21 suspects from Sweden and 12 from Finland.
With Sweden and Finland agreeing to cooperate on Türkiye’s fight against terrorism, the three countries are set to convene on Aug. 26 for the first meeting of the joint mechanism committed under the trilateral memorandum, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday.
Among its many shattering consequences, President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted Sweden and Finland to abandon their long-held nonaligned status and apply to join NATO as protection against an increasingly aggressive and unpredictable Russia – which shares a long border with Finland. Under NATO treaties, an attack on any member would be considered an attack against all and trigger a military response by the entire alliance.
Türkiye agreed in June to lift its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, ending an impasse that had clouded a leaders’ summit opening in Madrid amid Europe’s worst security crisis in decades, triggered by the war in Ukraine.
In a trilateral deal with Sweden and Finland, Türkiye has demanded that the two countries extradite wanted individuals and lift arms restrictions imposed after Ankara’s 2019 military operation into northeast Syria.