Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Turkish President Recep Erdoğan warned at the NATO summit in Madrid that the country could still block Finland and Sweden’s accession to the alliance.
While Turkey agreed to lift its objections to proposed NATO expansion earlier this week, Ankara stressed that it could still block the process if the two aspiring Nordic countries do not meet their obligations, according to The Guardian reporting.
Erdoğan reminded that, in order to get the green light from Turkey, Finland and Sweden have to extradite terror suspects. He stressed that the Turkish parliament could refuse to ratify NATO expansion if the two aspiring members do not fulfil their promises.
Erdoğan pointed out that Sweden promised to extradite 73 terrorists and stop financing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US.
The Turkish memorandum does not specify the number of persons to be extradited, but notes that the two Nordic countries have to address “pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly, taking into account information, evidence and intelligence provided.”
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ pointed out on Wednesday that Finland and Sweden received from Turkey files on 33 individuals with alleged connections to the PKK and the group of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Answering to reporters who asked about the number of promised extraditions, Erdoğan noted that the figure was upped from 60 to 73.
“Sweden promised to give us these 73 people with this text,” he pointed out and added “they may or they may not, we will follow that through the text and we will make our decision.”
Magdalena Andersson, Prime Minister of Sweden, noted on Wednesday that the extradition process will be in line with Swedish regulations and international conventions, stressing that “we never extradite Swedish citizens.”
Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, observed that the Turkish memorandum does not list the names of people to be extradited.
“In the case of extraditions, we will adhere to our own legislation and international agreements… ultimately, extradition is a legal discretion which politicians have no right to influence,” he concluded.