Kurdish asylum seeker Mahmut Tat, who migrated to Sweden in 2015, has been extradited to Turkey by Swedish authorities, Mezopotamya News Agency reports.
Tat, who was an active member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was tried for and sentenced to six years and 10 months in prison in Turkey seven years ago.
After his objections regarding his case, Tat migrated to Sweden and requested asylum in 2015, reported Duvar News.
However, in 2020 the Swedish Migration Agency and Intelligence Service did not approve his request.
“Terrorism is mentioned many times throughout your file. The PKK [Kurdistan Worker’s Party] is also a terrorist organisation for us. The Republic of Turkey has judged you fairly. You are a threat to our country and you cannot stay here,” the Swedish institutions told Mahmut Tat.
On 22 November, Swedish authorities detained political refugee Mahmut Tat and then took him to the detention centre in Märsta, Sweden on 1 December.
During that time, his relatives and lawyer could not get any information on his detention. The same day, Mahmut Tat called his brother in Turkey and told him that he is at Istanbul Airport and that the Swedish authorities have extradited him to Turkey.
Abdullah Deveci, Mahmut Tat’s lawyer, said that he talked to several lawyers in Sweden but that none of the lawyers were willing to look at Tat’s file, reported Duvar.
“If Sweden has come to this position in six months, it’s a terrible thing for the Swedish people and democracy,” said the lawyer.
The extradition of Tat to Turkey took place amid the trilateral NATO negotiations between Turkey, Sweden and Finland.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the two Scandinavian countries applied for NATO membership.
However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said that he would freeze the accession process if the two Nordic countries did not take steps to fulfil Turkey’s conditions. “Sweden and Finland must stop supporting PKK if they are to be accepted into NATO,” said the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
The three countries then signed a trilateral memorandum at NATO’s Madrid summit to negotiate the bids. The two Nordic states accepted a number of demands from Turkey.
Al-Monitor reported that Ankara demands “concrete steps” from the Nordic countries before giving the nod to NATO’s Nordic enlargement, including an “asset freeze,” a demand that hasn’t been expressed publicly before.
Sweden’s new Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, who recently visited Ankara, promised to live up to all the obligations it made to Turkey, which include extraditing dissidents, in exchange for the approval of his country’s NATO membership bid.
Sweden’s parliament also announced a 16 November vote on constitutional amendments that could lead to tightening anti-terror laws, another step toward meeting Turkey’s requirements.
Sweden hosts a sizable Kurdish diaspora, with estimates varying between 85,000 and 100,000, one percent of the total Swedish population, reported Al-Monitor.