Finnish delegation in Ankara for NATO talks

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Finnish officials arrived in Turkey on Tuesday to hold technical talks with their Turkish counterparts over Ankara’s extradition requests for terrorists wanted under a recently reached deal on the Nordic country’s NATO membership. .

Officials from the Finnish Ministry of Justice met in the capital Ankara with a delegation led by Kasım Çiçek, Director General for External Relations and the European Union at the Turkish Ministry of Justice.

During the meeting, Turkish officials are expected to reiterate their request to the Finnish delegation to extradite members of two terrorist groups, the PKK and the Gülenist terrorist group (FETÖ), the latter being behind the coup. defeated in Turkey in 2016. Evidence of the crimes of the accused terrorists will also be presented in documents.

Finland and its neighbor Sweden applied to become members of the defense alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, abandoning longstanding policies of military non-alignment. Becoming a member of NATO requires the unanimous support of all current members, including Turkey.

However, Türkiye, a NATO member for more than 70 years, has voiced objections to the membership offers, criticizing both countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

The three countries signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding at the NATO summit in Madrid in June, which stipulates that Finland and Sweden will not provide support to the Syrian offshoots of the terrorist group PKK (the YPG/PYD) or at FETÖ.

Only the parliaments of Turkey and Hungary have yet to ratify the accession of Finland and Sweden.

A day earlier, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop met with Swedish Parliament Speaker Andreas Norlen and Finnish Parliament Deputy Speaker Antti Rinne in Zagreb ahead of the Crimea Platform Summit.

Welcoming recent constructive statements by Sweden’s new Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Şentop said the fact that Kristersson aims to visit Turkey as one of his first foreign visits since his election shows the country’s resolve on the issue. .

“During the approval process, our assembly will act by assessing whether the commitments of the Tripartite Memorandum are fully respected. Our public and our parliamentarians are closely monitoring the respect of the commitments of the Tripartite Memorandum,” he said, indicating that Türkiye believes that these commitments have not yet been fulfilled.

“We observe that the PKK, PYD/YPG and FETÖ continue their anti-Türkiye activities as before. In the current context, it is not possible for us to convince the public that the articles of the memorandum are implemented. We expect both countries to put an end to the activities of terrorist organizations and their extensions.”

Furthermore, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said Finland and Sweden must keep their promises to extradite terrorists if they want to join NATO.

“If they want to join NATO now, they have to keep their word. Our statements are very clear: ‘Keep your promises, and we will complete your NATO membership process,’ Bozdağ told reporters on Monday after a meeting of the Cabinet in the capital Ankara.

Regarding the Turkish Parliament’s ratification of the country’s NATO membership, Bozdağ said: “The process has been started but is not completed. The completion will be with the approval of the Parliament…The Parliament will make the final decision.”

Meanwhile, Sweden’s centre-right government will fulfill all demands, the country’s top diplomat said on Monday.

Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said the new government shared Ankara’s concerns about the PKK.

“There will be no nonsense from the Swedish government when it comes to the PKK,” Billström told The Associated Press (AP) in an interview. “We fully support a policy which means that terrorist organizations are not allowed to operate on Swedish territory.”

“Everything that is written in the trilateral memorandum, and that has been agreed by all three parties, must be fulfilled, must be fulfilled by all three parties,” Billström said, adding that “everything must also be done in a legally binding manner. safe.

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