Turkey said Wednesday it would seek to extradite 33 suspected “terrorists” from Sweden and Finland after reaching a deal with the two Nordic countries over their NATO membership bids.
Ankara had opposed the bids, accusing Helsinki and Stockholm of supporting Kurdish militants and other individuals it views as terror suspects. But it agreed to withdraw its opposition in return for written security guarantees.
In a three-way memorandum signed Tuesday, Sweden and Finland pledged not to support the militant Kurdish Workers’ Party, or PKK, and its Syrian arm, the YPG, or the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkey blames Gulen for a failed coup in 2016.
The two countries also agreed to “address Turkey’s pending deportation or extradition requests.”
Ankara wasted no time in acting on the deal.
“We will seek the extradition of terrorists from the relevant countries within the framework of the new agreement,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag was quoted as saying by NTV television.
Bozdag said Turkey was seeking to extradite 12 suspects from Finland and 21 from Sweden. Ankara alleges they are either alleged members of the PKK or the Gulen movement.
The outlawed PKK, which has been waging an insurgency in Turkey for almost four decades, is also considered a terrorist organization by the EU and the US.
Tuesday’s agreement said the three parties would form a joint mechanism to boost cooperation on terrorism.
As part of the deal, Sweden and Finland also agreed to lift an arms embargo imposed over Turkey’s military actions in Syria in 2019 and take ”concrete steps on the extradition of terrorist criminals.” However, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto noted the memorandum did not list individuals for extradition.
Erdogan’s office described the agreement as a triumph, saying Ankara had “got what it wanted.”