Sweden, Turkey discuss extraditions demanded by Ankara

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A delegation from aspirant NATO member Sweden met with Turkish officials on Wednesday to discuss Ankara’s demands for the extradition of people it considers to be terrorists, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported.

Turkey had threatened to block Sweden and Finland’s bids to join the 30-member military alliance. It accused the two Nordic countries of ignoring Turkish security concerns, and insisted that they change their stance on Kurdish rebels and other groups that Turkey considers as terrorists. Ankara had also demanded that an arms embargo on Turkey be lifted.

NATO operates by consensus and the Nordic countries’ membership needs Turkey’s approval to go ahead.

Officials from Sweden and Turkey’s justice ministries began two days of talks to discuss the possible extradition of people with links to outlawed Kurdish groups or the network of an exiled cleric whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016, the Anadolu Agency reported.

Last week, Sweden announced that it would lift an arms embargo it imposed on Ankara in 2019, following Turkey’s military operation against the Kurdish militia known as the YPG in Syria. The move was widely seen as a step aimed at securing Ankara’s approval.

Turkey’s parliament has yet to ratify Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership.

Once-neutral Finland and Sweden are abandoning what in Sweden’s case has been 200 years of military nonalignment, driven to join NATO’s mutual defense pact in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its continuing war there.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned Sweden’s ambassador to protest content on Swedish public television that allegedly insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The ambassador was told that “excessive and ugly comments and images” against Erdogan and Turkey “were unacceptable,” Anadolu said in a separate report.

It provided no detail on the content.

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