Türkiye not to ratify Sweden and Finland joining NATO until 130 alleged Kurdish terrorists extradited News
Wikimedia (U.S. Department of State)
Türkiye not to ratify Sweden and Finland joining NATO until 130 alleged Kurdish terrorists extradited

Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Sunday stated Sweden and Finland must extradite 130 alleged Kurdish terrorists in order for the Turkish parliament to ratify their accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Türkiye’s state-run news agency Anadolu Agency reported.

In a youth meeting, Erdoğan stated his government had told Sweden, “Look, if you don’t extradite the terrorists you have then we can’t ratify [NATO membership] in our parliament.” Türkiye first claimed that Sweden and Finland were harboring the alleged terrorists, part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in May 2022, when Sweden applied to join NATO along with Finland. In order to have their NATO application successfully ratified, Sweden and Finland must have their accession protocols ratified by all NATO member states, including Türkiye. The accession protocols were signed on July 5, 2022and ratified by Canada, Denmark, Iceland and Norway the same day.

Sweden and Finland had agreed to Turkish demands for stronger stances against terror organizations in June 2022. In September 2022, Sweden passed an anti-terror constitutional amendment to ease the prosecution of the PKK. However, in December 2022, the Swedish Supreme Court ruled that the extradition of journalist Bulent Kenes, accused by Türkiye of participating in the 2016 attempted coup to overthrow Erdoğan, would violate Swedish law. Last week, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson claimed he was confident Türkiye would ratify its accession but expressed concern about not being able to accept certain demands made by Türkiye.

Sweden and Finland joining NATO is seen as important to strengthen security in the Nordic region. Türkiye and Hungry are the only NATO members yet to ratify the accession of Sweden and Finland. Upon ratification, Sweden and Finland will become full members of NATO and NATO Parliamentary Assembly.