NATO membership: Erdogan again threatens Sweden and Finland
L he accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO first requires the extradition of “terrorists”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested on Thursday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has again threatened to block Sweden and Finland from joining NATO less than 48 hours after the agreement was reached between the three countries.
Speaking to the press at the end of the Atlantic Alliance summit in Madrid, he called on the two Nordic countries to play their part in the fight against terrorism on pain of burying the memorandum signed on Tuesday evening.
Since mid-May, Ankara has blocked the process of enlargement to these two countries by accusing them of protecting Kurdish fighters from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the People's Protection Units (YPG), whom ;it classifies as a terrorist movement.
However, on Tuesday evening, the Turkish, Swedish and Finnish governments signed a memorandum of understanding which opens access for both Nordic nations to the Atlantic Alliance.
On Thursday, the Turkish president spoke for the first time since this surprise signing. And he laid down his conditions.
If they do their duty, we will submit [the memorandum] to Parliament for adoption. If they don't, it's out of the question for us to send it to Parliament…, he warned.
A senior Turkish diplomat in Washington has assured that the adoption process could occur at the earliest end of September and could wait until 2023, with Parliament going into recess from Friday.
Mr. Erdogan referred to a promise made by Sweden regarding the extradition of 73 terrorists. They will send them back, they promised. It is in written documents. They will keep their promise, he added without further details.
Stockholm reacted on Thursday evening by recalling that its decisions on extradition were subject to an independent judiciary.
In Sweden, Swedish law applies with courts independents, Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said in a written statement provided to AFP.
Non-Swedish people can be extradited at the request of other countries, but only if it is compatible with Swedish law and with the European Convention on Extradition, he insisted.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not give details Thursday on the 73 people targeted, but Ankara has been calling for several years for the extradition of Kurdish activists or those close to the Gulenist movement exiled in Sweden.
The Turkish Head of State also called on Finland and Sweden to complete their laws relating to the presence on their soil of members of the PKK and the YPG, which operate on Turkey's borders in the north from Iraq and Syria.
What matters is that the promises made to Turkey are kept, he insisted.
At the center of attention at the opening of the Madrid summit, when he threatened to veto the accession of the two countries, the Turkish president thus returned to it in closing.
In the corridors of the summit, a European diplomatic source did not hesitate to speak of blackmail about the Turkish head of state who, with authority on Thursday, occupied the stage of the largest room of the summit, taking over from the head of the White House, Joe Biden.
According to the memorandum signed on Tuesday, Turkey lifts its veto on the accession of the two Nordic countries to NATO in exchange for their cooperation with regard to the members of the Kurdish movements concerned.
The next day, Ankara had already claimed its due, demanding from Sweden and Finland the extradition of 33 terrorists.
All are members of the PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Ankara and its Western allies, or of the movement founded by the preacher Fethullah Gülen, which Mr. Erdogan accuses of having fomented the coup attempt of July 2016.
The request had been coldly received in Helsinki and Stockholm.
All these cases have already been resolved in Finland, had commented the Finnish President, Sauli Niinistö.
The Finnish Ministry of Justice, for its part, specified that it had not received any new extradition requests from Turkey in recent years. days.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson for her part promised on Wednesday to cooperate more closely with Turkey regarding the lists of PKK [combatants].
But we will of course continue to respect Swedish law and international law, she added in a dif message rocketed on Instagram.