Sweden has still not handed over the people Ankara is looking for, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.
Sweden still has not extradited people accused of terrorism-related crimes by Turkey despite promising to do so last month in a deal that prompted Ankara to lift its veto of Stockholm’s NATO application, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.
“The people we requested to be extradited have not been sent to Turkey yet,” Cavusoglu said in an interview with Turkey’s TV100 network, adding that both Sweden and Finland, another Nato hope that was party to the agreement, must fulfill their commitments.
Spurred on by Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, both Finland and Sweden decided to join NATO after decades of neutrality, officially applying for membership in the alliance back in May. However, for a candidate nation to be accepted into the military alliance, unanimous consent is required from all current members.
Turkey initially opposed the two countries’ bids, citing several conditions they would have to meet in order for Ankara to change its mind. Last month in Madrid, the three parties signed a memorandum in which Sweden and Finland pledged to end their embargo on arms sales to Turkey and crack down on individuals and Kurdish groups that Ankara has labeled terrorists. Among them are activists for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who sought asylum in Sweden and Finland, and supporters of the exiled priest Fetullah Gulen.
“So while we appreciate the statements made by the Swedish government and the country’s foreign ministry, we will need to see them actually fulfill the obligations under the memorandum.” said the official.
Cavusoglu’s words followed a stern warning from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said last week that Ankara could still veto Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership bids if they do not live up to their obligations under the deal.
Later this week, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry is said to have called Sweden’s top diplomat in the country to express the government’s opinion “strong reaction” to a protest organized by a Kurdish group in Gothenburg.