Sweden's blocking of Turkish journo's extradition 'very negative,' FM says

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that Sweden's Supreme Court decision to block the extradition of Turkish journalist Bülent Keneş is a "very negative" development.

Reuters - Duvar English

Sweden's Supreme Court decision to block the extradition of Turkish journalist Bülent Keneş is a "very negative" development, Turkey's foreign minister said on Dec. 20, as Stockholm seeks Ankara's approval for it to join NATO.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was speaking at a news conference in Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last month singled out Keneş as a person Ankara wants extradited from Sweden as a condition for Ankara's approval for Stockholm to join NATO.

Ankara says Keneş is a member of an organisation that it accuses of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.

Sweden's Foreign Ministry said it was bound to act in accordance with the Supreme Court's ruling.

"We cannot speculate on what possible impact this will have on the NATO accession," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in an emailed comment. "Sweden's government has to follow Swedish and international law when it comes to questions of extradition, which is also made clear in the trilateral agreement."

"We no longer want to hear words and promises from Sweden and Finland. We want to see concrete steps," Çavuşoğlu added.

"Not only PKK (and its affiliations) but also FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] was mentioned (on the memorandum)," he further said.

The Gülen movement, which is officially called the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), is an ally-turned-foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and is widely believed to orchestrate the failed coup attempt of July 2016.

Finland and Sweden both asked to join NATO in May in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but their bids require the approval of all 30 NATO member states, including Turkey.

In June, Sweden and Finland agreed to take a number of steps to overcome Turkey's objections, signing a three-way agreement.

One of Turkey's demands was that Sweden and Finland extradite suspects Turkey seeks over terrorism-related charges, although the two Nordic countries have said they have not agreed to specific extraditions and that all requests will be dealt with according to domestic and international law.