PKK members extradition from Sweden, Finland top demand from Turkey
Ankara is putting the promised security guarantees to the test.
Yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lifted his opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO in exchange for written security guarantees, which Ankara immediately is putting to the test.
Bekir Bozdag, the Turkish justice minister, announced that Turkey will be seeking the extradition of Kurdish militants and members of the PKK - Kurdistan Workers' Party - whom Ankara considers responsible for a 2016 coup attempt.
"We will seek the extradition of terrorists from the relevant countries within the framework of the new agreement," Bozdag said.
Turkey, according to Bozdag, will be asking for the extradition of 12 suspects from Finland and 21 from Sweden, who were either members of the PKK or members of a group led by Fethullah Gulen, a preacher based in the US.
Erdogan considered that Finland and Sweden "do not have a clear unequivocal stance against terrorist organizations. Sweden is the incubation center of terrorist organizations. They bring terrorists to talk in their parliaments," alluding to the PKK and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front.
Ankara and the PKK have been at odds since 1984, and the group is blacklisted not only by Turkey, but also by the EU and the US.
The memorandum signed on Tuesday between Turkey, Finland and Sweden, says that the European countries pledge to "address Turkey's pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly".
The two countries also agreed to lift their embargoes on weapons deliveries to Turkey, which were imposed in response to Ankara's 2019 military incursion into Syria.