Turkey sees the conditions for Sweden’s planned entry into NATO as not being met. Foreign Minister Cavusoglu accused the country of not extraditing terrorists and not freezing their assets.
With a view to Sweden’s aspirations to join NATO, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has demanded that Stockholm further respond to Ankara’s demands. “We are not ignoring the positive steps that have already been taken,” Cavusoglu said during a visit to his Swedish colleague Tobias Billstrom in Ankara. The steps you want have not yet been taken.
At the beginning of December, Sweden extradited Mahmut Tat, a member of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who had been convicted in Turkey, to Ankara. In addition, Sweden approved arms exports to Turkey for the first time since Ankara’s military offensive in Kurdish-controlled northeastern Syria in 2019.
Court stops extradition to Turkey
On Monday, however, the Supreme Court in Sweden rejected Turkey’s demand for the extradition of journalist Bülent Kenes, who Turkish authorities accuse Turkish authorities of being a member of the Gülen movement and having been involved in the failed coup attempt in 2016.
Unfortunately, the court decision had “poisoned the positive atmosphere,” Cavusoglu explained during his visit to Stockholm. Billstrom referred to the “independent judiciary” in Sweden – but also to a constitutional amendment aimed at the PKK and intended to make it easier to prosecute “terrorist” activities from January. The country wants to fulfill its commitments to Turkey.
Consent must be unanimous
Turkey is – along with Hungary – the only NATO member state whose parliament has not yet ratified the accession to the defense alliance requested by Sweden and Finland in May. Such a vote in all NATO member states is necessary for accession. Sweden and Finland had applied to join as a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine – and in doing so broke with a long tradition of extensive military neutrality.