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NATO: Helsinki rejects reconsideration of six extradition requests made by Ankara

Helsinki will not grant Ankara’s request to reconsider six extradition requests. “The cases have been settled and the decision is final,” Sonja Varpasuo, an adviser to the Finnish Ministry of Justice, told AFP on September 9. “It is not possible to appeal a decision of the Ministry of Justice taken on the basis of the extradition law,” she added.

“Reopening a final decision may be an option if a completely new report may have materially affected the decision,” she argued. However, according to Helsinki, no report of this nature was submitted by the Turkish authorities as part of their requests.

The latter constitute a requirement of Ankara, at the lifting of its veto on the country’s entry into NATO. A veto that can derail the membership procedure, the unanimity of member states being required to integrate a new country into the Alliance.

Lifting of the veto against stopping support for the Kurds

At the end of June, the Turkish, Swedish and Finnish Foreign Ministers had however signed a memorandum opening the access of the two Nordic nations to NATO.

Turkey had, the day after the signing, made extradition requests to the two countries for 33 people, most of whom were considered “terrorists” by Ankara, before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately mentioned a ” promise made by Sweden” concerning the extradition of “73 terrorists”. The memorandum signed at the end of June only indicates that “Finland and Sweden will respond to extradition requests” made by Ankara, without mentioning any figures, notes AFP.

These are Kurds linked to the PKK workers’ party as well as Syrian YPG fighters who have taken refuge in Finland and Sweden. Turkey is also calling for the return of supporters of preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt.

This subject is sensitive in the two northern European countries. At the beginning of July, when NATO was launching the Helsinki and Stockholm accession process with great fanfare, the head of the Swedish government had refused to confirm the existence of any agreement with Turkey relating to the extradition of Political refugees.


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