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Sweden Extradites Turkish Citizen

Turkey is still blocking Sweden’s accession to NATO. One point of contention: Ankara is demanding the extradition of people whom Turkey accuses of criminal offenses. 

Stockholm has long resisted the demand – and is now increasingly giving in. However, only under one condition.

Against the background of Turkey’s ongoing rejection of the country’s planned NATO membership, Sweden has agreed to the extradition of a Turkish citizen demanded by Ankara. The Swedish Ministry of Justice said it had approved the extradition request for 29-year-old Ömer Altun, who had been sentenced to 15 years in Turkey for fraud. However, Stockholm refused to extradite a Swedish citizen whom the Turkish judiciary has accused of membership in a “terrorist organization”.

The extradition of people wanted by the Turkish judiciary is one of the issues on which Turkey has so far refused to agree to Sweden’s bid to join NATO. In general, Ankara is demanding tougher action from the government in Stockholm against Kurdish activists in the country, whom it describes as “terrorists”. Altun’s extradition, which has now been granted, is conditional on his case being heard again in court in Turkey.

The Swedish Ministry of Justice only agreed after the Supreme Court gave the green light for extradition. From the government’s point of view, “nothing stands in the way of this anymore,” according to the written decision made on March 30, which is available to the AFP news agency. However, the Swedish government rejected the extradition request for 51-year-old Swede Mehmet Zakir Karayel, whom the Turkish judiciary accuses of membership in an “armed terrorist organization”. “A Swedish citizen must not be extradited,” wrote the Ministry of Justice as a reason.

Delivery rejected by Turkish editor

Sweden had agreed to at least two Turkish extradition requests since filing with Finland for NATO membership. However, Stockholm has refused to extradite several people wanted by the Turkish judiciary. One of them is the former editor-in-chief of the Turkish newspaper Zaman, whom Ankara accuses of involvement in the 2016 coup attempt.

In May 2022, at the same time as Finland after Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Sweden gave up its decades-long policy of military non-alignment and applied for NATO membership. The Turkish parliament finally approved Finland’s admission at the end of March, and the country has officially been part of the military alliance since this week. In addition to Turkey, Hungary has so far blocked Swedish NATO membership.

Source : NTV