The Small Victory Lap
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Turkey is ramping up pressure on Sweden and Finland to extradite those it deems enemies of the Turkish state as part of a deal it made to approve Sweden and Finland joining the NATO military alliance, the Washington Post reported.
Finland and Sweden have been waiting for approval for weeks because of Turkish objections. The Turkish government said that the two Nordic countries support Kurdish fighters and other government opponents, some of whom Ankara has labeled as terrorist groups.
But earlier this week, Turkey, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum where the two Nordic states agreed to withhold support for Kurdish fighters in Syria and followers of the US-based Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016.
The three-page document also calls on Finnish and Swedish authorities to crack down on finance and recruitment networks associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – which is labeled as a terrorist organization in Turkey and the United States.
Neither country said it would automatically extradite anyone to Turkey.
Regardless, Turkey celebrated the deal as a major victory.
Turkish pro-government media hailed the agreement as a historic victory and praised Erdogan for his “decisiveness” and “vision” in bringing Turkish concerns to the world stage.
Even so, analysts say it isn’t clear whether the embattled Turkish leader won major concessions from the West.
They noted that the deal was an opportunity for Erdogan to “prop up his international image” and score political points at home, amid an ailing economy and low approval ratings.
Still, others added that there appeared to be a number of disagreements shortly after the deal was signed, particularly on the issue of extraditing members of the PKK or Gulen movement to Turkey.