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NATO

Turkey: Sweden’s planned extradition not enough to meet Nato pledge

Turkey's justice minister Thursday said on Thursday that Sweden's pledge to extradite a Turkish convict fell far short of Stockholm's commitments under a deal paving the way for its Nato membership bid.

Turkey: Sweden's planned extradition not enough to meet Nato pledge
Turkish Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin is expected to attend the meeting in Stockholm next week. Photo: Adem ALTAN/AFP

Nato member Turkey is threatening to freeze Sweden’s attempts to join the Western defence 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 a 2016 coup attempt and outlawed Kurdish militants.

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 Bozdag told the conservative Milliyet news site that Sweden needed to do far more to win Turkey’s trust.

“If they think that by extraditing ordinary criminals to Turkey they will make us believe that they have fulfilled their promises, they are wrong,”

Bozdag said in the first government response to the extradition decision. “Nobody should test Turkey.”

Bozdag is seen as one of the more hawkish members of Erdogan’s government. The powerful Turkish leader 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.

Erdogan 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.

Sweden and Finland ended decades of military non-alignment and decided to try and join NATO in response to Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine.

Their bids have already been ratified by the United States and more than half of the 30 members of NATO. Each application must win unanimous consent from member states.

Sweden and Finland are due to hold their first formal consultations with Turkey about the dispute on August 26.

The Swedish foreign ministry on Thursday denied a report in the Aftonbladet newspaper, saying that the meeting will be held in Stockholm.

According to the Aftonbladet report, Turkish Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin has been invited to the meeting. 

No official venue for the talks has been set.

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SWEDEN AND TURKEY

Swedish delegation to travel to Turkey next week for Nato talks

An official Swedish delegation will travel to Turkey at the start of next month for talks about Sweden’s Nato application.

Swedish delegation to travel to Turkey next week for Nato talks

Turkish news outlets have reported that a delegation from Sweden’s Ministry of Justice will be in Turkey October 5th-6th, and that the scheduled talks will deal with “the extradition of criminal terrorists” from Sweden to Turkey. The Ministry of Justice confirmed to TT that this meeting would take place, and that it would involve senior officials rather than ministers.

Turkey has demanded that people it describes as “terrorist suspects” be extradited from Sweden and Finland. The Swedish government maintains that Swedish citizens cannot be extradited. Further, the Swedish government has pointed out that Swedish law, which applies in Sweden, is applied by an independent court system.

While non-Swedish citizens can be extradited, this can only happen when the extradition is in line with Swedish law and the European Convention on Extradition.

Sweden’s outgoing foreign minister Ann Linde said on Tuesday that the Nato talks with Turkey were “moving along nicely”. 

“My judgement is that Turkey will say ‘yes’ to Swedish Nato membership, however, I do not know when that will be,” she said.

An agreement was signed in Madrid this June by Turkey, Sweden, and Finland, which has also submitted an application for Nato membership. Under that agreement, Turkey lifted its objections to the two countries’ Nato applications. Among the topics covered in that agreement were terrorism, arms exports, and extraditions.

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson has said he will keep Oscar Stenström, the diplomat appointed by the Social Democrats to lead Sweden’s Nato process, in place when he takes over as Sweden’s new Prime Minister later this month. 

Only two of Nato’s 30 members have still to ratify Sweden and Finland’s accession: Turkey and Hungary.

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