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Sweden’s Nato accession up in the air after fresh demands Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan


Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week. Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week. Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week. Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman

Sweden yesterday warned it would not entertain further concessions to secure Nato membership after Turkey threatened to derail Stockholm’s accession hopes.

It came after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sweden must extradite 73 alleged terrorists to secure Turkey’s permission to join the Western military alliance.

Amid fears that the fresh demand could scupper Stockholm’s membership bid, Sweden’s justice minister said extraditions are made by independent courts and not her country’s politicians.

“In Sweden, Swedish law is applied by independent courts,” Morgan Johansson said. “Non-Swedish citizens can be extradited at the request of other countries, but only if it is compatible with Swedish law and the European Convention. It is the Supreme Court that makes that determination and has the right of veto. That order is fixed.”

Ankara dropped its month-long opposition to Sweden and Finland joining Nato after a last-minute compromise was hammered out earlier this week on the eve of a leadership summit in Madrid.

Under the agreement, Stockholm and Helsinki vowed to “address” Turkey’s pending deportation requests, as well as crackdowns on Kurdish groups accused of terror by Ankara. However, in the final press conference of the Nato summit, Mr Erdogan said: “Sweden has given us the promise that 73 terrorists will be extradited and deported to Turkey... We will see whether they will give them or not.”

The strongman leader insisted Sweden and Finland’s accession into Nato “would not happen” without the decision being ratified by his national parliament. “Sweden and Finland must keep their word if they don’t, this will not come before parliament,” he added.

His threat left sour notes lingering over a summit where Nato leaders had stressed the need for unity in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It is understood Magdalena Andersson, Sweden’s premier, did not learn of her Turkish counterpart’s threats until she landed back in her country upon returning from Madrid.

Mr Erdogan’s demand was said to be a significant increase on the number of people Ankara had requested to be extradited in earlier stages of the negotiations over Sweden and Finland’s membership, according to multiple sources. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)

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Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

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