Sweden presses on judicial independence in Turkey extradition decision
Sweden insists that any decision to extradite alleged Kurdish militants and coup plot suspects to Turkey would be made by "independent courts."
Erdogan warned Sweden and Finland that if the agreement is not implemented, he will veto their applications to join NATO.
Sweden insisted, on Thursday, that any decision to extradite "Kurdish militants and coup plot suspects" to Turkey would be made by "independent courts."
Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said in a written statement as quoted by AFP that "in Sweden, Swedish law is applied by independent courts. Swedish citizens are not extradited. Non-Swedish citizens can be extradited at the request of other countries, but only if it is compatible with Swedish law and the European Convention."
Turkey announced, on Wednesday, that it would seek the extradition of suspected Kurdish militants and coup plotters from Sweden and Finland as part of a deal to secure Ankara's support for the Nordic countries' NATO membership bids.
On Thursday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sweden and Finland that if the agreement is not implemented, he will veto their applications to join NATO.
Johansson insisted in his statement that Sweden's Supreme Court "makes that examination and has a veto. That system is still valid. It is clearly stated in the agreement that we comply with the European Convention on Extradition, which Sweden, Finland, and Turkey have signed."
Erdogan's stern warning came at the conclusion of a NATO summit at which the US-led alliance formally invited the Nordic countries to join the 30-nation bloc.
Sweden and Finland have lately abandoned their history of military non-alignment and announced plans to join NATO.
Their bids were on track for approval until Erdogan expressed reservations in May.
He accused the two of harboring “outlawed Kurdish militants” and promoting "terrorism."
Erdogan also demanded that arms embargoes imposed in response to Turkey's military incursion into Syria in 2019 be lifted.
On the sidelines of the NATO summit on Tuesday, the three sides signed a 10-point memorandum that appeared to address many of Erdogan's concerns.
Erdogan dropped his objections after a warm meeting with US President Joe Biden, which was followed by a promise to sell new warplanes to Turkey.
Nonetheless, Erdogan told reporters at a post-summit press conference that the memorandum did not imply that Turkey would automatically approve the two countries' membership.
The applications of new countries must be approved by all members and ratified by their respective legislatures.
Erdogan cautioned that Sweden and Finland's future behavior would determine whether their application was forwarded to the Turkish parliament for ratification.
"If they fulfil their duties, we will send it to the parliament. If they are not fulfilled, it is out of the question," he said.
One Western diplomatic source in the NATO summit's hallways accused Erdogan of being involved in "blackmail."