Sweden's first extradition falls short of Ankara’s demands

Sweden’s decision to extradite a Turkish convict has fallen far short of its commitment to Ankara paving the way for Stockholm’s NATO membership bid, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Thursday.

Turkey in May objected to Sweden joining the NATO alliance, warning that it would block the process if it fails to extradite suspects with links to outlawed Kurdish groups or the network of an exiled cleric accused of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016. Ankara lifted the objections in June, following an agreement with Stockholm, but has placed the extradition of terror suspects wanted by Turkey as a pre-condition for its approval of the Nordic country’s NATO bid.

"If they think that by extraditing ordinary criminals to Turkey they will make us believe that they have fulfilled their promises, they are wrong," Milliyet newspaper cited Bozdağ as saying on Thursday.

"Nobody should test Turkey," Bozdağ said.

Earlier this month, Sweden agreed to extradite a man found guilty in Turkey of fraud.Okan Kale, who was convicted of bank and credit card fraud in 2013 and 2016 and sentenced to 14 years in jail, is on a list of 73 people Turkey wants expelled from the Nordic country, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkey last Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned that it can still “freeze” Sweden and Finland’s membership in NATO unless the two countries take steps that meet Ankara’s security demands.

“I would like to remind once again that if these countries do not take the necessary steps to fulfill our conditions, we will freeze the (accession) process,” BBC Turkish cited Erdoğan as saying a televised addressed following a Cabinet meeting. “Our stance on this issue is very clear. The rest is up to them.”

Sweden’s NATO accession needs to be approved by the parliaments of all 30 NATO members.

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