Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has said a delegation from the Swedish justice ministry will travel to Turkey next week to discuss Turkey’s extradition requests for people Turkey alleges to be “terrorists,” the Gazete Duvar news website reported.
“A delegation from the Swedish justice ministry will visit Turkey Oct. 5-6 to discuss the extradition of people on [Turkey’s] terror list,” Bozdağ said following a Cabinet meeting at the presidential palace in Ankara on Monday evening.
The minister said members of the Swedish delegation will have technical talks with bureaucrats from his ministry, while a delegation from the Turkish Foreign Ministry will travel to Finland for talks on Turkey’s extradition requests with Finnish officials.
NATO member Turkey is threatening to freeze Sweden and Finland’s attempts to join the Western defense alliance unless it extradites dozens of people Ankara accuses of “terrorism.”
A non-binding deal Sweden and fellow NATO aspirant Finland signed with Turkey in June commits them to “expeditiously and thoroughly” examine Ankara’s requests for suspects linked to a 2016 coup attempt and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.
Bozdağ said the people whose extradition Turkey demands from Sweden and Finland are linked to the PKK, to “Fetö,” a term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement as a terrorist organization, and to the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C).
Turkey demands the extradition of people including political dissidents such as journalists and writers who have taken refuge in these countries.
The Turkish government labels the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization and accuses it masterminding a failed coup in July 2016. The movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
“The people whose extradition we demand are those facing an investigation [in Turkey,” said Bozdağ, adding that Sweden and Finland have provided no information about whether the people on Turkey’s extradition list have left these countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned that he will not submit the two countries’ applications for ratification in parliament unless they comply with his extradition demands in full.
Erdoğan said in July that Sweden had made a “promise” to extradite “73 terrorists.”
The Turkish justice ministry in June formally requested the extradition of 21 suspects from Sweden and 12 from Finland.
Sweden and Finland ended decades of military neutrality and decided to try and join NATO in response to Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine.
Their bids have already been ratified by the United States and more than half of the 30 members of NATO. Each application must win unanimous consent from member states.