Nato accession: Turkey seeks 33 extraditions

Turkey is demanding a high price for agreeing to Nato membership for Sweden and Finland: a day after signing a vaguely worded trilateral memorandum it demanded that the two countries extradite 33 people it considers "terrorist suspects", and who are said to belong to the PKK or the Gülen movement. Commentators are fiercely critical.

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Il Manifesto (IT) /

Double standards

The West has an extremely short and selective memory, Il Manifesto fumes:

“Only a few years ago, the Kurds were our heroic defenders against the evil of the IS terrorist militia. Today the evil is represented by someone else, and the defenders are no longer needed. They fled in large numbers to Finland and Sweden, just like the Turks whom Erdoğan accused of being involved in the 2016 coup attempt against him. ... At the time, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg strongly condemned the attempted coup in Turkey - yet he did not condemn Erdoğan's dreadful purges, which continue to this day. But double standards are the stylistic trademark of the entire Alliance.”

Zeit Online (DE) /

Prioritising national security over women's rights

The extradition of Kurds has nothing whatsoever to do with the "feminist foreign policy" which Sweden officially pursues, Zeit Online rails:

“Criminalising the very groups that have fought for years on the front lines against the IS and thus also protected and defended women's rights in doing so? Persecuting Kurds when Rojava (West Kurdistan) is one of the only regions in the world that has consistently focused on building a society in which women's liberation has top priority? ... The Nordic countries' accession to Nato makes it clear that national security interests once again take precedence over feminist principles.”

Keskisuomalainen (FI) /

An unsavoury aftertaste

Finland and Sweden have received a lesson in Nato decision-making processes, Keskisuomalainen summarises:

“In Madrid, Finland and Sweden experienced how rigidly a single member state can block Nato decision-making, even though this was not even a knotty issue of military support. It left an unsavoury aftertaste. Turkey is not even trying to find a negotiated solution regarding the Kurds, but rather relying on brute force.”

Expressen (SE) /

Take Ankara to task

Expressen sees good opportunities to use cunning strategies vis-à-vis Ankara:

“Sure, we've promised a quick extradition; but the agreement also says that this must not be done against the provisions of the European Convention. ... Moreover, we can use this opportunity to address our own problems with Turkey. Several Turkish dissidents have been mistreated in Sweden under suspicious circumstances - that is absolutely unacceptable. Once Sweden is in Nato we can - in the context of close dialogue with the Turkish secret police - put everything on the table that our secret police know about their actions in Sweden and demand that they put a stop to this immediately.”

Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

The end of naive hopes

Sweden had to set priorities, writes Göteborgs-Posten:

“We are still a state governed by the rule of law. ... The Supreme Court has rejected Turkish extradition requests on previous occasions. ... Of course it would have been better if Erdoğan had made no demands at all and we had been spared all this backing and forthing. But that's not how things turned out. And one thing Sweden's Nato application and the negotiations with Turkey have certainly achieved is to put an end to all naive hopes that foreign and security policy could be conducted on an idealistic basis. When push comes to shove, Sweden's security takes priority for Swedish politicians.”

Gazete Duvar (TR) /

Sweden now has a problem

Gazete Duvar, which is critical of the government, reminds readers that so far the Swedish government has only had a parliamentary majority thanks to the independent Kurdish MP Amineh Kakabaveh:

“The first vote could now topple the government. This country has a Turkey problem. Is its foreign policy now in Erdoğan's hands? The veto on Nato accession was overcome, but what will happen if the veto card is brought out at every step? Which opposition figures will be deported? Will Erdoğan be given weapons for his military operations in Syria? What has become of the country's values? These are questions that can influence politics. And ultimately they will also play a role at the ballot box.”

Die Presse (AT) /

The snags in the Nato Deal

The Kurdish fighters in northern Syria must not be abandoned, Die Presse warns:

“The PKK has been fighting an underground war in Turkey for decades. Officially, it's on the terror list of the EU and the US. At the same time, however, it helped to build up the People's Defence Units (YPG) in Syria, which are ideologically close to them. And alongside the US military they crushed the 'caliphate' of the Islamic State. As a central part of the armed forces of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, the YPG are still conducting operations against IS with US units. The fact that Finland and Sweden had to promise in writing not to support them seems bizarre.”

Dionellis (GR) /

Humanism à la carte

Columnist Marios Dionellis criticises Europe's attitude in his blog:

“Europe cannot bear to see Ukrainian blood, but it is giving the Kurds to be slaughtered by Erdoğan. And in order to expand Nato we've done him the favour of labelling those who fight for their freedom as terrorists. Our humanism is a little 'à la carte', but what can we do? ... To expand Nato, Biden met with Erdoğan and promised him F-16 fighter jets. This means we Greeks will buy F-35 fighter jets, again from Biden, who as a good salesman is selling in large quantities to both groups of fools.”