Kurdish refugee in Sweden at risk of deportation to Turkey

August 22, 2022
Zinar Bozkurt
Bozkurt was questioned by the Swedish Security Service in 2018 for attending anti-Turkey demonstrations in Sweden. Photo: ANF English

Sweden has detained a 26-year-old Kurdish refugee to be deported to Turkey as part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) deal agreed between Ankara, Stockholm and Helsinki in June, Swedish media reported on August 19.

The trilateral memorandum signed in June clears the path for Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO in return for the two Nordic countries tightening anti-terrorism legislation and lifting arms embargoes on Turkey.

The deal was agreed after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to block the two countries’ bids over Ankara’s accusations that they supported the People’s Defence Units in northern Syria, which it views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is also deemed a terrorist group by the United States and European Union.

As a part of the non-binding agreement signed in Madrid, Stockholm and Helsinki agreed to examine Ankara’s extradition requests over alleged terrorist links “expeditiously and thoroughly”.

Zınar Bozkurt, a 26-year-old Kurdish refugee who was detained by Swedish authorities days before a scheduled meeting between three countries on August 26, might be facing the risk of being extradited to Turkey as a result of this memorandum, Yeni Özgür Politika reported.

Bozkurt, who applied for political asylum in Sweden in 2016, was not included in a list of more than 30 individuals submitted by Turkey to the two Nordic countries for extradition. However, whether he is added to a larger updated list submitted later by Ankara remains unknown.

Bozkurt was questioned by the Swedish Security Service in 2018 for attending anti-Turkey demonstrations in Sweden. Two years later the Swedish authorities denied his asylum request on the grounds that the Kurdish man posed a “security threat” to the Nordic country.

Bozkurt, who was detained on August 18, told Dagens ETC that he was expecting to be deported to Turkey. His lawyer said that they applied to European Union authorities to prevent Bozkurt’s deportation.

Many users on Twitter demanded Sweden stop the deportation using the hashtags “#StopDeportingZinarBozkurt” and “#FreedomForZinarMehmetBozkurt” and tagging Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and foreign minister Ann Linde.

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