Turkey praises Sweden’s "sincerity," expects more for NATO bid
Sweden's extradition to Turkey last week of a Kurdish man with alleged terrorism links is a "good start", but Stockholm needs to do more before Ankara can approve its NATO membership, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday.
Sweden on Friday deported Mahmut Tat, a Turkish citizen who had sought asylum in Sweden in 2015 after being sentenced in Turkey to six years and 10 months in jail for "being member of a terrorist organization," essentially over a statement and accusations by a former member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who had turned informer.
Tat says that he didn't have a fair trial in Turkey, that the court ruled against him solely on the basis of allegations by an informer, and that these allegations are groundless. He was arrested and incarcerated upon his arrival in Turkey
"This is a good start from Sweden that shows their sincerity and goodwill. We hope new (extraditions) will follow in line with this sincerity," Bozdag said in a televised interview with Turkey’s state TV TRT Haber.
The extradition took place as Stockholm desperately seeks Ankara's green light for its accession to NATO and as the latter says it will consent only if Swedish authorities crackdown harder on Kurdish political activists, allegedly affiliated with the PKK, and hand them over to Turkey.
Bozdag made clear that Turkey expected further moves from Stockholm before it could ratify Sweden's NATO application.
"In line with the trilateral memorandum with Sweden and Finland, they should lift all (arms) embargoes on Turkey, change their legislation for the fight against terrorism, and extradite all terrorists that Turkey wants. All of these conditions should not be reduced to extraditions," Bozdag said.