Sweden deports Kurdish man to Turkey

Mahmut Tat sought asylum in the Nordic country in 2015 after being given a jail sentence by a Turkish court for PKK links

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Ankara earlier this year. Turkey has kept up pressure on Sweden and Finland to move against Kurdish militant networks in return for Nato membership. AFP
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Sweden has deported a man convicted in Turkey of having links to a Kurdish militant group as Ankara keeps up pressure on the country to meet its demands in return for Nato membership.

Mahmut Tat sought asylum in Sweden in 2015 after being sentenced in Turkey to nearly seven years in jail for having links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

His final asylum application was denied last year by the Swedish Migration Agency.

Swedish Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard did not reply to requests for comment but told Sveriges Television that the government had played no part in Friday's decision.

"It is about a deportation case where an individual has had his asylum application rejected," she told SVT. "The government has no role in ruling on asylum applications."

Turkish state broadcaster TRT said Tat was sent to an Istanbul prison on Saturday. The Swedish authorities were not immediately available for comment.

Sweden and Finland applied in May to join Nato in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but ran into objections from Turkey, which accused the two countries of harbouring militants from the PKK and other groups.

Turkey said on Wednesday that Sweden and Finland had made progress towards Nato membership but that they still needed to do more to satisfy Ankara's demands on tackling militant groups.

Others wanted by Ankara are people with alleged links to Fethullah Gulen — a Turkish cleric who lives in the US and is accused of orchestrating 2016's failed coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Stockholm and Helsinki deny harbouring militants but have pledged to co-operate with Ankara to fully address its security concerns and also to lift arms embargoes.

Nato makes its decisions by consensus, meaning that both countries require the approval of all 30 countries. Only Turkey still stands opposed to the two Nordic countries' membership.

Updated: December 04, 2022, 4:44 AM