ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey has sent letters to Sweden and Finland renewing its request for the extradition of people it considers terror suspects, the Turkish justice minister said Wednesday.
Turkey last week lifted its deal-breaking objections to Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession. But Ankara has warned that it could still block the process if the two Nordic countries fail to meet its demand to extradite people suspected of links to outlawed Kurdish groups, or to the network of an exiled cleric accused over a failed coup in 2016.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told Haber Global television in an interview that letters were sent renewing Turkey’s requests for the extradition of suspects for whom earlier requests had been rejected.
The letters also “reminded” the two countries about suspects whose cases are still pending, he said.
Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed a joint memorandum last week that allowed NATO to move ahead with inviting the Nordic countries to the military alliance that seeks to enlarge and strengthen in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
With the memorandum, Finland and Sweden agreed to address Turkey's “pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly ... in accordance with the European Convention on Extradition.”
Turkey had objected to Finland and Sweden's membership, accusing them of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and other groups that it says pose a threat to its security. It demanded that Finland and Sweden extradite wanted individuals and lift arms restrictions imposed after Turkey’s 2019 military incursion into northeast Syria.
The Nordic countries’ accession still needs to be approved by the parliaments of all 30 NATO members — a process that could take months — and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened that Turkey's Parliament could refuse to do so.