NATO candidates respond to Turkey over extradition

Extradition process for foreign ‘terrorism’ suspects can only be done in accordance with local laws, Finland and Sweden insist

There will be no expedited extradition of « terrorism » suspects in Turkey, Finland and Sweden reported after the two Nordic nations struck a deal with Ankara to resolve their NATO bid impasse. This week, Turkey and the two would-be members reached a 10-point deal, which was aimed at groups Ankara sees as « The Terrorists » and an end to the current arms embargo.

« The agreement reached by Finland, Turkey and Sweden aims to facilitate extradition, but mentions that it takes place in accordance with European extradition agreements », Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto explained in an interview with Yle TV channel on Friday.

The country has made no concrete promises of extradition and no list of wanted individuals has been agreed upon in talks with Turkey, the foreign minister said. In total, the country has received 12 extradition requests from Turkey over the past five years and they are still being processed. Handing over Finland’s own citizens is also out of the question, Haavisto noted without saying whether Ankara was looking for such individuals.

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« When we talk about extraditions, the person must have committed a terrorist crime or prepared such a crime, proven in Finland », Haavisto said. « Furthermore, in accordance with Finland’s commitments, we cannot send anyone to the death penalty or to torture. »

A similar position was also put forward by Sweden. “In Sweden, Swedish law is enforced by independent courts. Swedish citizens are not extradited. Non-Swedish citizens can be extradited at the request of other countries, but only if this is compatible with Swedish law and the European Convention,” Justice Minister Morgan Johansson told AFP on Thursday.

As Turkey this week reached an agreement with the two Nordic nations to resolve their differences and lift Ankara’s roadblock on their NATO membership, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to block the process again if Ankara’s demands were not met.

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FILE PICTURE. The signing ceremony of a memorandum between Turkey and the Nordic countries. ©Turkish Presidency/Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Turkey wants dozens of extraditions after NATO deal

« The main thing is that promises come true » Erdogan said at a press conference after a NATO summit in Madrid on Thursday. « Sweden and Finland should do their homework first and those are in the text… But if they don’t, it’s of course out of the question for the ratification to be sent to our parliament, » he added. he added.

Finland and Sweden have rushed to join the US-led NATO bloc amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The two Nordic nations have had close ties to the alliance for decades already, but have remained formally neutral so far.

Their NATO campaign, however, hit a stalemate when Turkey raised concerns about the two nations harboring members of groups it deems to be « The Terrorists. » These groups include the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a low-level insurgency against the Turkish government for decades, and the so-called Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization (FETO). This group is believed to be led by the US-based Turkish cleric, who was named by Ankara as the culprit in the failed 2016 attempt to depose Erdogan.


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