Turkey has not seen any concrete action from Sweden and Finland regarding the extradition of those considered terrorists by Ankara and is set to hold a meeting with the NATO-hopeful countries on Aug. 26, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday.
In June, the three countries’ foreign ministers signed a memorandum to confirm that Turkey will back Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids during a summit in Madrid, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said it would not approve their applications to join the alliance, citing their support for Kurdish organizations that Turkey considers security threats, among other concerns.
The Nordic countries are yet to deliver on their commitments arising from the memorandum, nor have they taken any solid steps on Ankara’s requests for extradition of those considered terrorists by the Turkish government, TRT network cited Çavuşoğlu as saying.
The three countries will meet at the permanent joint mechanism under the trilateral memorandum signed at the NATO Madrid summit, the top Turkish diplomat said.
Later on Thursday, Sweden announced it was set to extradite to Turkey a man who is wanted for fraud, T24 news site reported, marking the first case since Ankara’s demand in return for allowing Stockholm to formally apply for NATO membership.
The 39-year-old was sentenced in Turkey to 14 years in prison on several accounts of bank card fraud, according to Swedish broadcaster SVT, and has been detained in Sweden since last year.
Justice Minister Morgan Johansson told Reuters news agency that the extradition was “normal routine matter,’’ adding, “The Supreme Court has examined the issue as usual and concluded that there are no obstacles to extradition.’’
A spokesperson for the justice ministry declined to say if the man was on the list of people Turkey has demanded to have extradited and did not provide further information on the matter, Reuters said.
Ankara is critical of what it considers the lax approach of Sweden and Finland toward groups that Ankara deems national security threats, including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian extension, as well as followers of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, who are blamed by Turkey for a failed coup against Erdogan in 2016.
Turkey has also put forth the condition that the countries hand over of more than 70 people described by its president as terrorists.
Long known for their policies of military neutrality, Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO after Russia launched its war in Ukraine in February. Turkey was the only country among the alliance’s 30 members to block their bids.
In order for a country to join NATO alliance, unanimous approval of all 30 current members is required.
(This story has been updated with Sweden’s extradition in paragraphs 5-8)