Turkish flag next to the NATO logo at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on 26 November 2019. (Photo credit: Reuters)
Turkiye reportedly arrested a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) member on 3 December, one day after his extradition from Sweden.
Mahmut Tat was detained shortly after his arrival and was brought before a judge on Saturday, Anadolu Agency reported.
The agency noted that Tat had been sentenced to six years and ten months in prison for his association with the PKK, which is banned in Turkiye and considered a terrorist organization.
Tat fled to Sweden in 2015, but his asylum application was rejected. Following his detention, the suspect was transferred to a detention center in Mölndal and flown back to Turkey, according to Anadolu Agency.
The Turkish government has been blocking Sweden’s and Finland’s membership requests to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) while signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with both countries that list a series of demands, including the extradition of people associated with Kurdish separatist groups such as the PKK and YPG. The Turkish demands are a requirement for the country to change its position regarding membership applications.
“The [Swedish] statements are good, the determination is good, but we need to see concrete steps,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Bucharest this week, Al-Arabiya reported.
On 18 May, Sweden and Finland submitted their requests to join NATO following Russia’s launch of its operation in Ukraine, ending decades of non-alignment.
Since then, the two Scandinavian countries have been involved in talks with Ankara for approval of their membership. The discussions focused mainly on Turkiye’s concern that Sweden and Finland actively support the PKK and harbor group members.
According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Swedish authorities provided guarantees that they would extradite 73 members of the PKK currently living in the country. Turkiye alleges that members of the group are also residing in Finland.