Turkey is urging Sweden to take concrete actions in its counterterrorism efforts and approve Ankara’s extradition requests as part of their ongoing discussions regarding Sweden’s bid to join NATO. Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc emphasized this point, stating that Sweden needs to be more sensitive to attacks on the Holy Quran and to show a more positive attitude towards extradition requests from Turkey.
Tunc also mentioned that the Turkish parliament will assess Sweden’s commitment to combating terrorism when it returns from recess in the autumn. He revealed that most of the extradition requests made by Ankara to Stockholm have been dismissed, with 22 out of 28 requests being rejected. These requests involve suspects, including nine believed to belong to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and eight from the Gulenist Terror Group (FETO), which attempted to overthrow the Turkish government in 2016.
It is interesting to note that despite Sweden amending its counter-terrorism laws and banning affiliation with and support of organizations like the PKK, Swedish courts have still rejected extradition requests from Turkey. This raises questions about the effectiveness of Sweden’s counterterrorism measures and its commitment to combating terrorism.
The discussion surrounding Sweden’s bid to join NATO is further complicated by recent incidents of Quran burnings within the country. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed his concern over these incidents and stated that he would not sign off on Sweden’s accession as long as Quran burnings continue to occur. This raises concerns about religious tolerance and the respect for religious symbols in Sweden, which may impact its prospects of joining the US-led military bloc.
Furthermore, Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party has also posed a hurdle for Sweden’s NATO bid. The party boycotted a recent parliament session dedicated to voting on ratifying Sweden’s bid, and Prime Minister Viktor Orban has announced that the vote will be delayed until September. This delay adds another layer of complexity to Sweden’s aspirations to join NATO.
In conclusion, Turkey is still awaiting concrete actions from Sweden in its efforts to combat terrorism and approve extradition requests. The rejection of most extradition requests by Swedish courts, incidents of Quran burnings, and Hungary’s boycott of the voting session all contribute to the challenges faced by Sweden in its bid to join NATO. The autumn session of the Turkish Parliament will assess Sweden’s commitment to combating terrorism, shedding light on the progress made in these discussions.