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Turkey says Sweden and Finland not fulfilling NATO deal

July 27, 2022

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu slammed Finland and Sweden for allowing "terror propaganda" as the two countries await Ankara's permission to join NATO.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the NATO Summit held in Madrid, Spain in June
Cavusoglu (center right) and President Erdogan (right) accuse Sweden and Finland of supporting Kurdish militantsImage: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/picture alliance

Sweden has not yet extradited suspects Turkey seeks over terrorism-related charges, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.

"They must fulfill their responsibilities, or we'll block their NATO bids," Cavusoglu said, according to state broadcaster TRT World.

Cavusoglu also claimed, "terror propaganda in Sweden and Finland continues."

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine but were faced with opposition from Turkey over claims that the Scandinavian countries were supporting "terrorism." Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused them of being a haven for Kurdish militants.

Ankara dropped its objectionsin June after the Nordic states to "address Turkey's pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously."

On Wednesday, Cavusolgu said the deal is currently being processed by his ministry.

"If obligations are fulfilled, it will be sent to the president and he will send it to Parliament. Of course, Parliament will decide, but it cannot be sent right now," he was quoted as saying by pro-government Daily Sabbah.

Turkey's demands

Turkish President Erdogan said Sweden had promised to extradite 73 "terrorists" wanted by Turkish authorities as part of the agreement.

Last week he said if the Nordic states backtracked on the deal, Turkey's parliament would still be in a position not to ratify the agreement.

Kurds in Sweden fear crackdown, extradition

Ankara is particularly concerned about members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), considered a terror group by the EU and US.

It is also after followers of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Nordic pair said legal process will be followed

Sweden's Justice Minister Morgan Johannsson had previously said that the country would follow international and local laws in evaluating extradition requests and would not extradite Swedish citizens.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto stressed that Helsinki would also be guided by the rule of law when it comes to extraditions.

Erdogan's opponents — including lawmakers, human rights activists and journalists — have ended up in prison often on what are generally considered trumped-up charges.

lo/dj (AFP, Reuters)