“Sweden will not automatically extradite people to Turkey.” The Swedish Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, assured this on public television SVT, in response to Ankara which demanded the extradition of “33 terrorists” of Sweden and Finland as a service rendered for its green light to their entry into NATO.
The heads of Swedish, Finnish and Turkish diplomacy signed on June 28, on the sidelines of the Atlantic Alliance summit in Madrid, an agreement lifting the Turkish veto on the accession of the two Nordic countries to NATO. But, the day after this agreement, Ankara demanded a counterpart through the voice of its Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdag, announcing its intention to “ask Finland to extradite six PKK and as many Fétö members and Sweden to do the same for six PKK and eleven Fétö supporters”. Ankara considers the Kurdistan Workers’ Party a terrorist organization, as does Fétö, an acronym for the movement of preacher Fethulla Gülen, suspected of being the instigator of the July 2016 coup attempt.
For Turkey, the extradition of members of both organizations is explicitly mentioned in the Madrid agreement. “If they fulfill their duty, we will submit (the memorandum) to Parliament” for adoption, President Erdogan said on Thursday evening. “If they don’t, it’s out of the question for us to send it to Parliament…” He announced that Sweden had “promised to extradite 73 terrorists”. Stockholm reacted by recalling that its decisions on extradition were subject to a justice “independent”.
For Magdalena Andersson, who is at “100% behind the Madrid agreement”the Kurds, numerous in the country, “don’t have to be afraid”. “I understand that some people fear that we will start arresting people to extradite them. But it is important to stress that we will always respect Swedish law and international conventions in any decision, and that we will never extradite Swedish citizens. “
The deal drew sharp criticism from the ruling Social Democrats and their allies in parliament, the Left Party and the Greens. “We bow to an authoritarian regime”protested the spokesperson for the Greens, Märta Stenevi. “We gave in too much to Erdogan”, for the former Social Democratic Minister for Development Aid Pierre Schori. Following in his footsteps, Vildan Tanrikulu, former president of the Kurdish National Union and member of the Social Democratic Party, regrets that “Sweden abandons its democratic values”. “What Anderson signed is unacceptable”he believes, joined by Ridvan Altun, a member of the political organization NCDK, one of the largest Kurdish organizations in Sweden. “This agreement sows concern among the Kurds”, he told Eko radio, telling them “worried and disappointed to have once again been victims of the agreement between a dictatorship and a democracy”.
The Scandinavian kingdom is home to around 100,000 people of Kurdish origin, a number of whom were born in Sweden.
The agreement has raised reservations from some experts in Sweden and Finland. According to Martin Scheinin, Finnish professor of international law and former UN special rapporteur on human rights and the fight against terrorism, the document signed in Madrid “must be taken seriously”considering it as “a legally binding state treaty”. He said to himself “particularly critical”in the Swedish daily Today’s Newswith regard to the fifth point of the agreement. “Sweden and Finland confirm that they consider the PKK a terrorist organization, as before”but the fact that the two countries “reject the objectives of these terrorist organizations is disturbing”, he believes. The objective of the PKK being an independent Kurdistan, such a formulation “may also include individuals and organizations who want to achieve this goal by democratic means”.
Ove Bring, emeritus professor of international law at Stockholm University and the Swedish National Defense College, agrees that “the agreement can be interpreted in different ways”. “It’s a political document that won’t affect Swedish law and I don’t think it should be seen as a legally binding agreement.”
Agreement binding or not, “Turkey still has the power to prevent the accession of Sweden and Finland”, according to Inger Österdahl, professor of international law at Uppsala University. In response, the Prime Minister “did not exclude new problems with Turkey during the accession process” to NATO.