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Turkiye: minister says extradition of outlawed PKK member only 'the beginning' 

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag speaks during an exclusive interview in Ankara, Turkiye on November 8, 2022 [Arda Küçükkaya/Anadolu Agency]
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag speaks during an exclusive interview in Ankara, Turkiye on November 8, 2022 [Arda Küçükkaya/Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye's Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag said on Monday that Sweden's extradition of a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) at the end of last week is only the "beginning" for his country, Anadolu has reported.

"The extradition of a terrorist belonging to the PKK is a beginning that shows [Sweden's] sincerity," said Bozdag in an interview with TRT. "We hope others will follow."

Deportee Mahmut Tat appeared before a court upon his arrival on Saturday and was imprisoned in Istanbul. Tat, who was sentenced to six years and ten months in jail for PKK membership in Turkiye, fled to Sweden in 2015 but his asylum request was rejected. The PKK is classified as a "terrorist" group by Turkiye, the European Union and other countries.

Since May, Turkiye has blocked the NATO membership applications of Sweden and Finland and demanded that the Nordic countries must first extradite supporters of Kurdish "terrorist" movements or affiliates of the Gulen movement. The latter is accused of masterminding the 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkiye. As a member of NATO, Turkiye has the right to veto applications for membership of the organisation.

The intensity of talks over Stockholm's NATO membership has eased with the recent formation of a new government in Sweden. At the end of November, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the two Nordic countries had taken "positive steps," but added that Ankara "needs to see concrete steps."

READ: Sweden extradites PKK member to Turkiye, as it continues to seek NATO membership 

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