Updated: Oct 24
"This is a test for which Sweden we want to live in."
Mehmet Znar Bozkurt, the 26-year-old Kurdish activist, was taken into custody by Swedish authorities on August 19. He could now be deported to Turkey with other Kurdish asylum seekers. This is the result of discussions between Sweden, Finland, and Turkey following the reluctance of the northern countries' request to join NATO due to "security concerns." In order to counteract this, the Swedish and Finnish governments are reportedly being pressured by Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to surrender individuals of interest to their states in exchange for withdrawing his veto.
Znar's extradition and imprisonment in Turkey, with the risk of being tortured as he is a Kurdish LGBT Christian convert participating in the pro-Kurdish opposition party, the HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party in English). Erdogan has previously claimed that HDP is a cover for the illegal Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Sweden has been charged with leaving Kurdish activists and opponents of Erdogan's regime in a petition against Znar's deportation. The author stated that this act violates Sweden's Utlänningslag (Aliens Act 2005:716), so "Swedish democracy, freedom of expression, and the ideals of the rule of law are also sacrificed."
Swedish activists, including Tage Karlsson, Znar's husband, organised a protest at Gustav Adolfs Torg in the heart of Gothenburg. "I refuse to think that Sweden is not a functional state of law where we do not safeguard human rights," said Karlsson. Similarly, protesters, including Finland's Kurdish Democratic Community (NCDK), denounced the deal in front of the Helsinki Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They urged the government to resist Erdogan's demands - a way to escalate anti-Kurdish hostilities while extorting money from the West.
Despite ongoing NATO negotiations and upcoming elections in Sweden, Znar Bozkurt's attorney Abdullah Deveci has petitioned the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Torture Committee for a judicial ruling.
* (Mehmet is Znar's legal name, but he wants to be addressed as Znar)
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