Sweden: PKK supporters may be extradited to Turkey

Status: 07.06.2023 3:30 p.m

Ahead of new talks over Sweden’s admission to NATO, the Supreme Court in Stockholm has approved the first extradition of a PKK supporter to Turkey. Ankara is demanding numerous extraditions for the ratification of NATO accession.

Sweden’s Supreme Court has approved the extradition of a PKK supporter to Turkey for the first time. This emerges from a decision that the court made available to the dpa news agency.

The relevant Swedish laws did not prevent the man from being extradited to serve out the remainder of his sentence, it said. It is also not incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The government in Stockholm can now decide whether to extradite the 35-year-old.

Sweden has been waiting for Hungary and Turkey to agree to join NATO for more than a year.

Türkiye demands extradition of Kurdish activists

The background: Against the backdrop of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Sweden, like Finland, applied for NATO membership in May 2022. Finland has been a member since the beginning of April, while Sweden still lacks the approval of Turkey and Hungary.

Turkey accuses the Scandinavian country of a lack of action against “terrorist organizations” and has repeatedly demanded the extradition of several dozen Kurdish activists from Stockholm.

conviction because of drug crime

The man in question was arrested in Sweden in the summer of 2022 at the request of the Turkish judiciary. Since then he has been in custody. In 2014, he was sentenced to four years and seven months in prison for drug-related crimes in Adana, Turkey. According to the Swedish court order issued last week, he admitted to the drug crimes and was released early on probation for good behavior. In 2018 he came to Sweden from Turkey.

The man considers the real reason for his requested extradition to be that he is a Kurd and has campaigned for the interests of the Kurds. He is therefore a member of the pro-Kurdish party HDP and supports both the Kurdish militia YPG in Syria and the banned Kurdish workers’ party PKK. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses the HDP of being an extension of the PKK. The HDP rejects this.

In the dispute over Sweden’s NATO membership, Turkey is ready to talk.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom wants to meet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday. A new Swedish-Turkish meeting is planned for next week. Sweden hopes to join the alliance by the NATO summit in Vilnius in July.

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