Turkey calls for more action from Sweden on extradition for NATO backing
ANKARA (Reuters) -Turkey’s foreign minister said on Thursday that Sweden has not yet acted to extradite or freeze the assets of people that his country believes are linked to terrorism, even as Stockholm tries to convince Ankara to approve its bid to join NATO.
Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was speaking at a news conference in Ankara alongside his Swedish counterpart Tobias Billstrom, who said Stockholm had taken concrete steps on all elements of a trilateral agreement signed in June between the two countries and Finland.
“We have initiated steps on every paragraph and we will continue to implement it. We have increased our legal cooperation with Turkey concerning suspected terrorists,” said Billstrom.
Cavusoglu said Turkey appreciated Sweden’s steps so far. “However, there is no concrete development regarding the extradition of terrorism-related criminals and the freezing of their assets,” he said.
Earlier this week, Sweden’s top court denied a request from Ankara to extradite Bulent Kenes, a Turkish man who was chief editor of Today’s Zaman, a newspaper with links to the network of Islamic scholar Fetullah Gulen.
Ankara blames Gulen’s network for a failed coup in 2016.
“If Sweden wants to be a NATO ally, we have to see concrete cooperation. The negotiations are carried out in a positive atmosphere, but the denial of extradition of Kenes has intoxicated this atmosphere,” Cavusoglu said at the press meet.
Billstrom said the Swedish judiciary was independent.
“We shouldn’t just look at individual cases, we should look at the overall picture,” Billstrom said, referring to the tougher anti-terrorism laws that will come into force on Jan. 1 in Sweden.
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Huseyin Hayatsever in Ankara, Simon Johnson and Johan Ahlander in Stockholm; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Alison Williams and Arun Koyyur)