The Swedish authorities have not yet fulfilled their obligation to extradite the terrorists. This was announced on Thursday, February 2, by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.
He stressed that assistance in the fight against terrorism is one of the key points of the Memorandum of Understanding, which outlines the conditions for the Turkish side to approve the applications of Sweden and Finland to join NATO.
“Unfortunately, not enough concrete steps have been taken on these issues so far, especially by Sweden,” Akar concluded.
According to the head of the defense department, Ankara has always supported the policy of “open doors” in the context of the expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance, but cannot neglect its own interests for this.
The day before, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he does not approve of the prospect of Sweden joining NATO, but is ready to meet Finland halfway if a number of conditions are met. The head of state stressed that Stockholm could not count on mutual understanding with Turkey as long as public burning of the Koran is allowed, and law enforcement agencies do not prevent such acts of vandalism.
Prior to this, on January 30, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu admitted that Ankara would go for separate consideration of applications from Finland and Sweden. At the same time, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto stressed that Helsinki still counts on joining NATO together with Stockholm.
Relations between Turkey and Sweden deteriorated sharply after the action of the Danish politician and lawyer Rasmus Paludan, who on January 21, with the approval of the local authorities, burned a copy of the Koran in front of the Turkish embassy. Then the press secretary of the Turkish President, Ibrahim Kalin, said that the burning of the holy book is a clear hate crime.
In June, Ankara presented 10 conditions for lifting the veto on NATO membership of Sweden and Finland. One of the points was an offer to support Turkey in its fight against recognized terrorist organizations, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.