The Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened again on Thursday to block Sweden and Finland from joining NATO within 48 hours of the agreement between the three countries. Addressing the press at the close of the Atlantic alliance summit in Madrid, he demanded that the two Nordic countries “play their part” in the fight against “terrorism”, otherwise he would bury the agreement signed on Tuesday night .
From mid-May, Ankara is blocking the NATO enlargement process, the inclusion of the two northern European states in the military alliance, accusing them of protecting Kurdish fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it describes as “terrorists”.
Tuesday night though the three governments signed an agreement that theoretically paves the way for Sweden and Finland to join NATOwhich they decided to demand after Russia invaded Ukraine, abandoning the neutrality regime they had been applying for decades.
Yesterday, the Turkish president spoke for the first time after the signing of the tripartite agreement and referred in particular to its terms, as reported by the AFP and relayed by the Athens News Agency.
“If they do their duty, we will submit (the deal) to the parliament” of Turkey for approval. “If they don’t, there is no question for us to submit it to the Parliament…”, he explained.
A senior Turkish diplomat in Washington said the adoption process could begin as early as September and could last until 2023. The Turkish parliament begins its summer recess today.
Mr Erdogan referred to the “promise made by Sweden” to extradite “73 terrorists”. “They will send them, they promised. It is mentioned in the documents. They will keep their promise,” he added without elaborating.
Stockholm reacted last night by recalling that extradition issues are decided by the judiciary, which is “independent”.
“In Sweden, the law is enforced by independent courts,” Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said in a written statement to AFP.
“Persons who do not have Swedish citizenship may be extradited at the request of other countries, but only if this complies with Swedish law and the European Convention on Extradition,” he insisted.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not provide details yesterday about the 73 persons targeted. Ankara has been demanding for several years the extradition of Kurds, members of armed organizations or people associated with the Fethullah Gülen movement exiled in Sweden.
The Turkish head of state also called on Helsinki and Stockholm to “complete their laws” regarding the presence on their territory of members of the PKK and YPG, organizations that operate on Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Syria.
“What matters is that the promises made to Turkey are kept,” he insisted.
At the center of attention at the start of the Madrid summit, when he threatened to veto the two countries’ NATO membership, the Turkish president returned to it forcefully at its close.
In the corridors of the summit, a European diplomatic img spoke bluntly of “blackmail” by the Turkish president.
The agreement signed on Tuesday stipulates that Turkey lifts its veto on the two Nordic states’ admission to NATO in exchange for their cooperation in targeting members of Kurdish organizations.
Already the next day, Ankara demanded what it considers due, Sweden and Finland to proceed with the extradition of 33 “terrorists”.
They are members of either the PKK, an organization labeled “terrorist” by Ankara and its Western allies, or the movement of preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Mr Erdogan accuses of masterminding the attempted military coup in Turkey in July. of 2016.
The demand was received coldly in both Helsinki and Stockholm. “For all these cases there have already been decisions in Finland,” commented Finnish President Sauli Niiniste.
Finland’s Ministry of Justice clarified for its part that “it has not received any new extradition requests from Turkey in recent days.”
For her part, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson promised “closer cooperation with Turkey regarding the PKK (fighter) lists.” “But we will continue to abide by Swedish law and international law,” Ms Andersson added in a post on the Instagram platform.
Source: News Beast