Turkey has been blocking Sweden’s accession to NATO for 13 months, under the pretext of being lenient with the Kurdish activists it hosts on its soil.
A Swedish newspaper reported on Tuesday that the Scandinavian country’s supreme court had agreed to extradite a PKK supporter to Turkey, a decision that satisfies a key condition set by Ankara for Stockholm’s admission to NATO.
Aftonbladet newspaper said that with the highest judicial body in the country giving this green light, the deportation of this activist to his country has become a matter confined to the government, which is now up to it to decide whether to extradite him to Ankara or not.
If the government decides to extradite him, this man will become the first PKK supporter to be handed over to Ankara by Stockholm.
According to the newspaper, this 35-year-old man was sentenced in Turkey in 2014 to more than four years in prison on charges of drug smuggling.
After he was granted conditional release, he moved to Sweden, but the authorities in Stockholm arrested him last August at the request of the Turkish Public Prosecution Office, which wanted to force him to serve the remainder of his sentence behind bars.
But the man says he is being targeted by the Turkish authorities because of his support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
And Sunday, hundreds demonstrated in central Stockholm to protest Sweden’s quest to join NATO and its adoption of a new anti-terrorism law that they say is the result of Turkish pressure.
The new law, which entered into force on June 1, criminalizes “involvement in a terrorist organization” and is part of Sweden’s efforts to strengthen counter-terrorism legislation, a major Turkish requirement for Stockholm’s approval of NATO membership.
On Sunday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Turkey to lift its objection to Sweden, which “fulfilled its obligations” and to complete the Scandinavian country’s accession to the alliance “as soon as possible.”
Turkey has been blocking Sweden’s accession to NATO for 13 months, under the pretext of Stockholm’s leniency with Kurdish activists it hosts on its soil.