“The minibus driver who opened the doors to NATO”
A Turkish citizen extradited from Sweden allegedly to have terror links was “a minibus driver who played cards in a cafe half of the day, and had nothing to do with terror,” Cumhuriyet newspaper columnist Baris Terkoglu wrote on Thursday.
Sweden last week deported Mahmut Tat, 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.
In an article titled “Mahmut the driver who opened the doors of NATO,” the columnist said: “If the human kind needs a victory, he creates giants out of dwarfs.”
According to sources who spoke to Terkoglu, “Mahmut Tat worked as a minibus driver in the Ovacik district of Dersim province, and when he was free he played cards in a cafe.”
Terkoglu said he also spoke to Mahmut Tat's first lawyer, Huseyin Aygun, who was also a former deputy from the CHP “Republican People’s Party”
Aygun said Mahmut Tat had a family who was against the PKK.
“His family was against the PKK. The PKK killed Tat's uncle Seyfi. Tat's village was in the forest. At that time, the PKK was running around in the village. The government, too, was turning a blind eye. They even came to weddings. It was impossible for a villager not to do what the PKK said, they were afraid. In any case, the court accused Mahmut Tat of aiding the PKK only once.”
Terkoglu said he also read the file of Mahmut Tat and saw that he was accused of selling two car alarms and fertilizer to the PKK members worth 500 euros, based on a testimony of a Syrian national affiliated with the Kurdish armed group.
For this reason, minibus driver Mahmut Tat was detained and tried for the crime of aiding the PKK. He denied the charges, claiming that the confessor had lied to save himself. In the end, Tat was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison by the Tunceli High Criminal Court on 16 December 2015.
Tat was not behind bars, so it was easy for him to seek asylum in Sweden, Terkoglu said.
“Even though some say they “made Sweden kneel", the Foreign Minister's statement the previous day that "This person was not on our list" seems like a late sign of waking up. While minibus driver Mahmut Tat goes to jail, people like Abdulkadir Aygan, the key figure in the murder of Musa Anter, have been living in Sweden for years.”