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Finland denies Turkish demands to extradite alleged terrorists

Finnish officials have declined to hand over individuals that Turkey claims are linked to the PKK or the Gülen movement.

A police car outside the Turkish Embassy in Helsinki in October 2019. Image: Tero Valtanen / Yle

The Finnish news agency STT asked the Ministry of Justice for records of extradition requests submitted by Turkey to Finland in 2019–2022.

As of the beginning of June, Finland had received 10 extradition requests from Turkey for people it claimed were linked to the Islamist Gülen movement or the Kurdish militant group PKK, which the EU has designated as a terror group.

Finnish officials have so far resolved seven of these of cases. Two of the individuals have been handed over to Turkish authorities, but according to the documents, the extraditions do not appear to have been linked to any indications of terrorism.

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The Ministry of Justice (file photo) Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

Among others, Turkey has demanded that Finland extradite one of the men convicted of a firebomb attack on its embassy in Helsinki.

In October 2008, five young men threw Molotov cocktails at the entrance of the Turkish embassy to protest the treatment of Kurds in Turkey. The ensuing fire damaged the embassy doors and windows. One person who was in the embassy was treated for smoke inhalation.

Four of the perpetrators received 14-months suspended prison terms and were ordered to carry out community service. The youngest attacker, who was 16 at the time, was given a suspended 11-month prison sentence. The men were also ordered to pay damages.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to block Nato membership for Finland and Sweden, accusing the Nordic countries of harbouring terrorists. Last week he also demanded that the countries prevent public broadcasters, including Yle, from airing interviews with alleged "terrorist leaders".