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Sweden’s Prime Minister: “We will never extradite someone who is a Swedish citizen to Turkey if they are not involved in terrorist activities”
Magdalena Andersson, Prime Minister of Sweden, gave an interview to TVE on Wednesday from the headquarters of the NATO summit in Madrid, which officially began this morning: “It is a historic day for Sweden and also for NATO” says Andersson after Turkey last night lifted its veto on the candidature of Sweden and Finland to join the Atlantic Alliance. “Yes, I am very happy that yesterday we were able to reach that agreement, that Sweden joins NATO, which of course is good for Sweden and for the Swedish people, but we want to offer security to NATO, increase security for all the Alliance and for all member countries”. Asked if the negotiations with Turkey have been difficult, Andersson replied: “Yes, they have been difficult, but we were able to reach an agreement in the end, and that is good. We come from different backgrounds and time was needed”, adds Andersson.
“There is a trilateral agreement between Turkey, Sweden and Finland to fight against terrorism. The PKK is an organization considered terrorist by the European Union and we follow that list,” he says about the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, an organization considered terrorist by the EU and banned in Turkey. It is a Kurdish armed group that since 1984 has maintained the armed struggle against the Turkish state in demand of more rights and autonomy for the Kurdish population of Turkey. More than 45,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died in the conflict.
“We will continue to abide by Swedish law and international law. If Turkey comes with an extradition request, of course we will observe that request, but we will always comply with Swedish law and the European convention at the extradition level, it is very important to highlight that. We will never extradite someone who is a Swedish citizen if they are not involved in terrorist activities, you don’t have to worry”, says Andersson after Turkey announced today that it has already prepared 33 extradition requests to Sweden and Finland of people it considers terrorists.
Specifically, the Turkish Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdag, has indicated that there are six open files on people in Finland that Turkey considers members of the PKK Kurdish guerrilla and on another six of the organization described as FETÖ in Turkey, the political entity- religion of the Islamist preacher Fethullah Gülen, Erdogan’s former ally turned adversary. Ankara holds Gülen and his organization responsible for the failed coup of 2016. In the case of Sweden, the minister has referred to 10 alleged members of FETÖ and 11 of the Kurdish-Syrian guerrilla.
Asked what he thinks the Russian response to the entry of Sweden and Finland into the Alliance will be, Andersson replied: “Sweden has been a NATO partner for many years,” he begins, and recalls that Sweden had already collaborated before in maneuvers with the Atlantic Alliance: “And perhaps Russia does not see this as such a big step.”
Just before Andersson’s interview, Russia has stated that it views the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO with a bad eye, since it considers the expansion of the Atlantic Alliance as a “particularly destabilizing” factor, according to the deputy foreign minister. of Russia, Sergei Ryabkov. (THE COUNTRY)