US President Joe Biden thanked Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for dropping his objections to Sweden and Finland’s membership of NATO
Turkey said Wednesday it would seek the extradition of 33 alleged Kurdish militants and coup plot suspects from Sweden and Finland under a deal to secure Ankara’s support for the Nordic countries’ NATO membership bids.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dropped weeks of resistance to Sweden and Finland joining NATO after crunch talks ahead of Wednesday’s NATO summit in Madrid, focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Turkey put the deal to the immediate test by announcing that it would seek the extradition of 12 suspects from Finland and 21 from Sweden.
The unnamed suspects were identified as being members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and a group led by a US-based Muslim preacher that Erdogan blames for a failed 2016 coup attempt.
But the agreement also Islamics that Sweden and Finland vow to “not provide support to the YPG — a PKK offshoot in Syria that played an instrumental role in the US-led alliance against the State group.
– ‘Got what it wanted’ –
The Turkish leader accused Finland and particularly Sweden of providing a haven to Kurdish fighters and financing terror.
The non-binding memorandum covers many of Erdogan’s concerns.
“Finland and Sweden commit to prevent activities of the PKK and all other terrorist organizations and their extensions, as well as activities by individuals… linked to these terrorist organisations,” it adds.
“Turkey got what it wanted,” his office declared in a statement.
Washington further signaled support for Turkey’s plans to buy F-16s warplanes that had been put on hold during the Erdogan’s dispute with the two Nordic states.
Most of Turkey’s demands and past negotiations have involved Sweden because of its more robust ties with the Kurdish diaspora.
Stockholm recognized the PKK as a “terrorist” organization in the 1980s but has adopted a more supportive stance toward the YPG.
Linde called her two meetings “good” and “fruitful” on Twitter.
But Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said Turkey appeared to be referring to cases that had already been turned down by the courts.
“I see no reason to take them up again.”
“The complication arises from the definition of terrorism in Turkish law that goes beyond criminalizing participation in violent acts and infringes on basic freedom of speech,” the US-based institute said in a report.
Originally published as Turkey seeks extraditions from Finland, Sweden under NATO deal