Sweden refuses to deport Gülenists involved in coup attempt

DAILY SABAH WITH AP
ISTANBUL
Published 03.08.2016 16:51
Updated 03.08.2016 16:52

Sweden won't send back Gülenist asylum-seekers from Turkey with "reliable connections" to the attempted coup, even if their applications are turned down, authorities said Wednesday.

Swedish migration agency Migrationsverket referred to Gülenists as "the supporters of opposition leader Fethullah Gülen," who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. and is accused by Turkey of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt.

Asylum-seekers with "credible political opposition activities" also are included in "the risk groups," Migrationsverket said. It didn't put any figures on how many people who may fall into those categories.

Sweden doesn't rank countries as safe or unsafe when it comes to repatriating asylum-seekers, but instead decides cases on an individual basis, Migrationsverket spokeswoman Guna Graufelds said.

The Scandinavian country has received 172 asylum-seekers from Turkey this year. Last year, the figure was 253. Graufelds said the agency couldn't provide a breakdown on asylum-seekers' political affiliations.

The agency says it needs "further information on the current situation" in Turkey. The decision was made three days after the coup attempt and made public Wednesday.

Since the failed coup, the Turkish government has launched a sweeping operation on agents of the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) in state institutions and the military.

There was no immediate Turkish reaction to the decision by the Swedish migration agency.

Meanwhile, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt said in an opinion piece on Tuesday that the European Union should support President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkey's democratically elected government and criticized the EU for not having a firm stance against the coup attempt.

On July 15, Turkey successfully thwarted a coup attempt, launched by a small military junta linked to the FETÖ terrorist organization.

Turkey's government has repeatedly said the deadly coup attempt, which killed more than 230 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, was organized by U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gülen's followers.

Gülen is also accused of running a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.

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