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HomeNewsTürkiye Awaits Lagging Sweden to Fulfill Extradition Requests

Türkiye Awaits Lagging Sweden to Fulfill Extradition Requests


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A positive atmosphere prevailed at the last NATO summit for Sweden, which seeks membership in NATO. One month later, Türkiye remains concerned whether the Scandinavian country will effectively pursue counterterrorism efforts as it expected before approving the membership.

Speaking to A Haber on Wednesday, Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç reaffirmed that they were awaiting Sweden to positively respond to the extradition requests for terrorists wanted by Türkiye. He said Parliament, when it returned from recess in the autumn, will weigh it while discussing ratification of the process.

Sweden desperately seeks the approval of Türkiye, a key ally of NATO, as it hopes to join Finland, whose membership was approved by Ankara earlier, as the security concerns escalated amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Tunç said terrorism was the common enemy of humanity and thus, every democratic country complying with the rule of law should join forces to fight terrorism. He noted that Türkiye failed to obtain a Red Notice or international arrest warrants for terror suspects in some cases, on the grounds of the “Interpol charter” and so far, sought 2,201 Red Notices for suspects in other countries.

“We filed 28 extradition requests to Sweden in terrorism cases and 22 among them were rejected. Among them were nine suspects from the PKK, eight suspects from the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and five from other terrorist groups. Three requests were annulled because of the deaths of wanted suspects or similar causes. Three requests are still pending and Sweden’s Supreme Court issued rulings opposing three requests,” he said, adding that they needed a decision by the Swedish government for the process to proceed.

At the recent NATO summit in Lithuania, Erdoğan agreed to forward to Parliament Sweden’s bid to join NATO for a ratification vote. Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership shortly after Russia launched its war on Ukraine in February 2022.

Although Türkiye approved Finland’s membership to NATO, it is waiting for Sweden to fulfill its commitments not to provide shelter to terrorists and supporters of terrorists, and not to greenlight their actions.

Stockholm reassured Türkiye that it would not support terrorist organizations, including the PKK, its Syrian affiliate YPG or the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), in the aftermath of its NATO membership and that a new bilateral security mechanism will be created between Ankara and Stockholm. NATO will also establish a Special Coordinator on Counterterrorism for the first time in the bloc’s history.

Before the NATO summit in Lithuania, Erdoğan told NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that Sweden must stop the PKK terrorist organization from freely organizing protests in the country to get a green light on its NATO membership bid.

“Türkiye maintains its constructive stance regarding Sweden’s membership, but legislative amendments would be meaningless so long as PKK/YPG supporters organize demonstrations freely in that country,” Erdoğan had told Stoltenberg in a June phone call. Last month, the president reiterated that Sweden’s membership would be ratified (or rejected) by Parliament once it ended its summer recess.

“Sweden wants to ally with the U.S. in NATO and the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) will have this issue on its agenda. They will discuss (its ratification). Sweden implemented a new counterterrorism law on June 1. It contains general clauses and is similar to laws in all other, democratic countries. What matters here is how the law is applied,” Tunç said.

“We expect members of terrorist groups to be extradited, to be handed over to judiciary authorities. Sweden should heed both our calls for extradition and prevention of attacks against the Quran,” he said.

Sweden, along with Denmark, is also repeatedly criticized for allowing anti-Islam acts, particularly public burnings of the Quran, the holy book of millions of Muslims. In recent months, incidents of Quran desecration in both countries prompted outrage among Muslims, who called for the countries to ban the acts.

Türkiye was among the most vocal critics of the burnings. Though the Swedish government condemned the acts and announced measures to prevent desecration, they also insisted on adhering to the “freedom of expression” of the people involved in incidents. The burnings were not widespread at first but became more commonplace after Rasmus Paludan, a Danish-Swedish far-right politician, launched a new spate of burnings in Denmark and Sweden, for what he called a reaction to Türkiye’s opposition to the Swedish NATO bid.

“All these matters will be taken into consideration by the Turkish Parliament. We expect a favorable stance from Sweden,” Tunç concluded.

Erdoğan has said at the NATO summit that Sweden’s NATO membership bid would not be ratified by Parliament before October, but that he hoped for a swift ratification once lawmakers return from a break. He said at a news conference at the summit that Sweden in return would actively support his country’s bid for membership of the European Union and help lift arms embargoes imposed on Türkiye.

“After those promises are kept, we will of course continue with (Sweden’s NATO) membership process,” he said.

Erdoğan welcomed the creation of a “special coordinator” for counterterrorism within NATO. “Fighting against terrorist organizations is our red line, so from now on we expect all our allies to show a principled stance in their fight against terrorist organizations,” he added.

Source: Daily Sabah


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