Sweden and Finland turned back most of Turkey's requests for terrorist extraditions over the last five years, according to Turkish sources, a matter that takes on more importance as the two nations seek to join the NATO military alliance alongside Turkey.
The Turkish Justice Ministry, in line with court verdicts, requested from Finland the extradition of 12 terrorists – half affiliated with the PKK terror group, and half with the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the defeated coup of 2016, the sources said.
Likewise, during the same period, Sweden was asked to extradite 21 terrorists, 10 FETO members, and 11 PKK members.
However, Sweden and Finland, which have stated their intention to seek NATO membership, have not responded positively to requests from Turkey– a NATO member for over 70 years – for the extradition of a total of 33 terrorists.
Out of 33 requests over the last five years, 19 were rejected while no response was provided for five others.
Meanwhile, the legal process on the extradition requests by Turkey for nine other terrorists – two from Finland and seven from Sweden – is still underway.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.
The Turkish government accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
For decades, Sweden and Finland took a neutral foreign policy posture in the region, but the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war that started on Feb. 24 triggered a shift in their approach, with both the public and most politicians favoring joining the NATO alliance.