NATO member Turkey accused Sweden and Finland of failing to extradite dozens of suspected “terrorists”, state media reported Monday, after the Nordic countries said they would seek membership of the military alliance.
The two countries have officially announced their intention to apply after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but Ankara has threatened to block expansion.
Any membership bid must be unanimously approved by NATO’s 30 members.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed opposition Friday to their membership in what analysts said appeared to be a tactic by Ankara to extract concessions from NATO states.
Neither Sweden nor Finland have responded positively to Turkey’s 33 extradition requests over the past five years, justice ministry sources told Turkish state news agency Anadolu.
The agency reported Turkey wanted individuals that were either accused of having links to Kurdish militants or belonging to a movement blamed for the 2016 attempted overthrow of Erdogan.
The Turkish president said last Friday the two Nordic countries were “like a guesthouse for terror organisations”.
Turkey has rebuked Sweden and Finland, especially Stockholm, for showing what it describes as leniency towards the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is on the European Union’s list of terrorist organisations.
The PKK has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu praised Finland’s conciliatory approach Sunday but criticised Sweden for “provocative” statements during talks in Berlin on the two countries joining NATO.
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said Monday Sweden was sending a delegation to Turkey for talks with officials.