Sweden’s blocking of Turkish man’s extradition “very negative”, Ankara says
(Corrects to Swedish Foreign Ministry, not Turkish, in fifth paragraph of Dec 20 article)
ANKARA (Reuters) -Sweden’s Supreme Court decision to block the extradition of Turkish journalist Bulent Kenes is a “very negative” development, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Tuesday, as Stockholm seeks Ankara’s approval for it to join NATO.
Mevlut Cavusoglu was speaking at a news conference in Ankara. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan last month singled out Kenes as a person Ankara wants extradited from Sweden as a condition for Ankara’s approval for Stockholm to join NATO.
Ankara says Kenes is a member of an organisation that it accuses of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.
Sweden’s Foreign Ministry said it was bound to act in accordance with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“We cannot speculate on what possible impact this will have on the NATO accession,” the Swedish Foreign Ministry said in an emailed comment. “Sweden’s government has to follow Swedish and international law when it comes to questions of extradition, which is also made clear in the trilateral agreement.”
Finland and Sweden both asked to join NATO in May in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but their bids require the approval of all 30 NATO member states, including Turkey.
In June, Sweden and Finland agreed to take a number of steps to overcome Turkey’s objections, signing a three-way agreement.
One of Turkey’s demands was that Sweden and Finland extradite suspects Turkey seeks over terrorism-related charges, although the two Nordic countries have said they have not agreed to specific extraditions and that all requests will be dealt with according to domestic and international law.
(Reporting by Huseyin Hayatsever in Ankara, Simon Johnson in Stockholm; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Ece Toksabay and Nick Macfie)