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Turkey asks Finland to review six extradition requests

Turkey has submitted 11 extradition requests to Finland since 2019.

The foreign ministers of Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed an official "memorandum of understanding" on the sidelines of the Nato summit in Madrid in June. Image: Dursun Aydemir / AOP

Turkey has asked Finland to re-examine six extradition requests that it rejected earlier this summer, according to Finland's Ministry of Justice.

In addition, Turkey has submitted one new extradition request to Finland in August.

The previously rejected requests and the new one are being examined by the ministry. Sonja Varpasuo, a senior specialist at the Justice Ministry, declined to comment on which of Finland's previously made extradition decisions Turkey has asked them to reconsider.

In addition to the review requests, Finland currently has two unresolved extradition requests from Turkey. The Ministry did not comment on the pending requests.

Turkey has submitted 11 extradition requests to Finland since 2019, including the August request. Turkey has withdrawn one of its previous requests.

In July, the Justice Ministry reported no new extradition requests by Turkey.

Two requests granted

According to Finnish officials, extradition requests submitted by Turkey will be assessed in accordance with international law and Finnish legislation.

The Islamist Gülen movement and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have been mentioned in some of the requests. In 2019–2022, Finland granted two Turkish requests. However, neither of them were related terrorism, but instead to sexual offences.

An extradition request may be granted if both Finland and the requesting state consider the suspected act to be a criminal offence. Furthermore, the act must be punishable by at least one year in prison under Finnish criminal law. Additionally, Finland does not, in principle, extradite its nationals unless the host state guarantees the national's human rights or legal protection. Finland does not generally extradite suspects if they might face the death penalty, which Turkey abolished in 2004.

Trilateral memorandum

Ankara has linked such extraditions to its support for Finland's Nato membership bid, which requires unanimous approval by member states. So far 24 of the 30 member states have approved the application.

In June, the foreign ministers of Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed an official "memorandum of understanding" on the sidelines of the Nato summit in Madrid, confirming Turkey's support for welcoming the two Nordic countries to the alliance. The agreement was reached after four hours of negotiations.

The memorandum committed Sweden and Finland not to support certain entities that Turkey considers terrorist groups and to label the Kurdistan Workers' Party as a terrorist organisation. Both Finland and Sweden also agreed to lift their arms embargoes against Turkey.

Later that month, Finland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs published the trilateral memorandum (siirryt toiseen palveluun) in its entirety.

In June, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan demanded changes to the terrorism legislation of both Nordic nations, as well as the extradition to Turkey of about 33 terrorism suspects, and referred to the trilateral agreement that was signed between the three countries, as well as the talks that took place during the negotiations.

However, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) told Yle in July that no changes to Finnish legislation were agreed upon in any shape or form in the signing of the memorandum. While accepting that different views could be expressed, Haavisto emphasised that only the text of the document had been agreed upon.

"Everything that was agreed upon was put on paper," Haavisto told Yle at the time.

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