Ankara has sent an official letter to Stockholm and Helsinki calling on the two Nordic nations to extradite “terrorists”
Turkey has sent a reminder to Sweden and Finland of its request for the extradition of the individuals Ankara deems “terrorists.” In late June, Turkey acquiesced to the countries joining NATO, after blocking their bids for weeks and accusing them of providing refuge to members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), among other things.
On Wednesday, Turkey’s TRT Haber TV news channel quoted the country’s justice minister, Bekir Bozdag, as saying that a “Sweden and Finland were reminded by a letter that they received regarding their demands for extradition of FETO and PKK terrorists.”
The PKK is a Kurdish group founded in the late 1970s that seeks to carve out autonomy for Turkey’s largest ethnic minority. The PKK has waged guerilla warfare for over a decade against Turkish authorities. It was also designated terrorist in the USA and EU.
As the name suggests, the Fethullah Terrorist Organization was founded by Fethullah, a Turkish exile preacher, who Ankara authorities believe was responsible for the failure of the 2016 coup attempt.
Sweden and Finland both applied for NATO membership in May, citing Russia’s perceived threat.
To be accepted in the military alliance as a candidate country, however, all members must agree to it.
Turkey initially objected to the two countries’ bids and articulated several conditions they would have to meet for Ankara to change its mind.
Ankara demanded that Stockholm and Helsinki be extradited for a group of refugees they wanted because of their connections to these two organisations.
Furthermore, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government also demanded that Sweden and Finland lift arms embargoes they had imposed on Turkey after its 2019 incursion into northern Syria.
The deadlock was finally broken ahead of the military bloc’s Madrid summit last week.
After the three nations signed a memorandum, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last Tuesday: “It is a pleasure to inform you that the agreement we have reached now opens up possibilities for Sweden and Finland to join NATO.”
President Erdogan’s office, in turn, noted that “Turkey achieved what it wanted.”
The accord states, among other things, that “Finland and Sweden both confirm that PKK is an illegal terrorist organization.” with both nations pledging to “Prevent activities by the PKK and other terrorist groups and their extension.” including individuals linked to it.
In addition to that, Stockholm and Helsinki agreed to cease any support to the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria, which Ankara believes to be related to the PPK, as well as to Gulen’s group.
Last, but certainly not least: The two Nordic countries confirmed the end of any existing arms embargoes against Turkey.