Sweden insists on judicial independence in Turkey extradition decisions

Sweden insisted Thursday that any decisions regarding the possible extradition of alleged Kurdish militants and coup plot suspects to Turkey would be made by “independent courts,” Agence France-Presse reported.

“In Sweden, Swedish law is applied by independent courts. Swedish citizens are not extradited. Non-Swedish citizens can be extradited at the request of other countries, but only if it is compatible with Swedish law and the European Convention,” Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said in a written statement to AFP.

On Wednesday, Turkey had said it would seek the extradition of alleged Kurdish militants and coup plot suspects from Sweden and Finland under a deal to secure Ankara’s support for the Nordic countries’ NATO membership bids.

And on Thursday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told both Sweden and Finland that he could still block their drives to join NATO if they fail to implement the deal.

In his statement, Johansson insisted it was Sweden’s Supreme Court “that makes that examination and has a veto. That system is still valid. It is clearly stated in the agreement that we comply with the European Convention on Extradition, which Sweden, Finland and Turkey have signed.”

Erdoğan issued his blunt warning at the end of a NATO summit at which the US-led alliance formally invited the Nordic countries to join the 30-nation bloc.

The two nations dropped their history of military non-alignment and announced plans to join NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Their bids were headed for swift approval until Erdoğan voiced concerns in May.

He accused the two of providing a haven for outlawed Kurdish militants and promoting “terrorism.”

Erdoğan also demanded they lift arms embargoes imposed in response to Turkey’s 2019 military incursion into Syria.

A 10-point memorandum signed by the three sides on the sidelines of the NATO summit on Tuesday appeared to address many of Erdoğan’s concerns.

Erdoğan lifted his objections and then held a warm meeting with US President Joe Biden that was followed by a promise of new warplane sales to Turkey.

Yet Erdoğan told reporters at an impromptu press conference held as the summit ended that the memorandum did not mean Turkey would automatically approve the two countries’ membership.

New countries’ applications must be approved by all members and ratified by their respective parliaments.

Erdoğan warned that Sweden and Finland’s future behavior would decide whether he forwarded their application to the Turkish parliament for ratification.

“If they fulfil their duties, we will send it to the parliament. If they are not fulfilled, it is out of the question,” he said.

One Western diplomatic source in the hallways of the NATO summit accused Erdoğan of engaging in “blackmail.”

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