(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Reuters
Ankara: Turkey will renew a request for Sweden and Finland to extradite individuals it considers terrorists after the countries reached a deal over the Nordic nations' NATO membership bids, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Wednesday.
Turkey had opposed their bids over what it called support for Kurdish militants and others it views as terrorists, as well as over arms embargoes and unfulfilled extradition requests. It demanded binding promises and concrete steps to lift its veto.
After hours-long negotiations between their leaders and NATO in Madrid, the three nations signed a deal for Ankara to remove its block, while the candidates pledged not to support the Kurdish militant PKK and YPG groups.
They also said they would not back the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, which Ankara says staged a 2016 coup attempt and which it labels a terrorist organization with the acronym FETO.
'The dossiers of six PKK members, six FETO members await in Finland, while those of 10 FETO members and 11 PKK members await in Sweden. We will write about their extradition again after the agreement and remind them,' Bozdag was cited as saying by state-owned Anadolu news agency.
Turkey had accused Finland and Sweden of supporting the YPG, which it views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which is also deemed a terrorist group by the United States and European Union. It also complained of what it said was the Nordic nations' lack of action on extradition requests.
Tuesday's accord said the three parties would form a joint mechanism to enhance cooperation against terrorism, adding Finland and Sweden would 'take all required steps to tighten further domestic legislation' on this.
The candidates would 'address Turkey's pending deportation or extradition requests... expeditiously and thoroughly,' the deal said, adding they will also 'establish necessary bilateral legal frameworks' to facilitate extraditions and improve cooperation.
Turkey, a NATO member of more than 70 years standing with the alliance's second-largest army, has long demanded that allies halt support for the YPG, a key US ally in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria. It has repeatedly traded barbs with the United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands and others over the matter.
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