Turkey Expects More Extraditions From Sweden for NATO Membership

Sweden extradited a suspected PKK member to Turkey last week

Sweden last week extradited a suspected member of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) to Turkey, a move Turkish officials have welcomed, but Ankara wants to see more extraditions before approving Stockholm’s NATO membership.

“This is a good start from Sweden that shows their sincerity and goodwill. We hope new [extraditions] will follow in line with this sincerity,” Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday, according to Reuters.

Sweden on Friday extradited Mahmut Tat, a man who sought asylum in Sweden in 2015 after being convicted in Turkey for alleged ties to the PKK, a Kurdish militant group Turkey, the EU, and the US consider a terrorist organization.

Besides expecting more extraditions, Bozdag said Turkey wants Sweden and Finland to take other steps agreed to under a deal signed in June. “In line with the trilateral memorandum with Sweden and Finland, they should lift all embargoes on Turkey, change their legislation for the fight against terrorism, and extradite all terrorists that Turkey wants,” he said.

Sweden and Finland placed an arms embargo on Turkey by imposing export controls in response to Ankara’s 2019 incursion into Syria. Sweden already announced in September that it will resume all arms exports to Turkey.

Turkey’s recent operations against Kurdish groups in northeast Syria could complicate Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids even more. Turkey launched massive airstrikes in the region after blaming PKK affiliates in Syria for a bombing in Istanbul, and Turkish officials have said Western countries are responsible for the violence due to their backing of the Kurds.

So far, 28 out of 30 NATO members have approved Sweden and Finland joining the alliance, only Turkey and Hungary’s parliaments have not yet signed off. Hungary’s parliament is expected to vote on the issue in early 2023.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.