State media claimed on Saturday that Sweden had extradited a convicted member of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to Turkey in response to Ankara’s demands for further action from Stockholm in exchange for accepting Turkey’s membership in NATO.
In 2015, Mahmut Tat fled to Sweden after being given a six-year and ten-month prison sentence in Turkiye for his PKK membership. However, his asylum application was denied.
Tat arrived in Istanbul on Friday night after being arrested by Swedish authorities, according to the Anadolu news agency.
He was arrested by Turkish police not long after landing at the Istanbul airport, according to a report from the exclusive NTV channel.
Turkiye has resisted ratifying Finland and Sweden’s NATO applications despite a June agreement in Madrid, accusing them in particular of providing a refuge for proscribed Kurdish groups it considers “terrorists.”
After Russia invaded Ukraine in May, Finland and Sweden ended their long-standing military non-alignment and made an application to join NATO.
Only Turkiye and Hungary have not yet ratified their membership in the US-led defense alliance, which is necessary for the decision to be made.
On the sidelines of a NATO meeting this week in Bucharest, Mevlut Cavusoglu’s counterparts from Sweden and Finland held trilateral discussions.
“The statements (coming out of Sweden) are good, the determination is good but we need to see concrete steps,” Cavusoglu said.
According to Ankara, Stockholm should act on issues like the extradition of criminals and the freezing of terrorist assets.