Turkey slams Sweden for calling Gülen 'opposition leader,' granting asylum to putschists

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
Published 05.08.2016 00:00
Updated 05.08.2016 01:22

After the Swedish Migration Agency Migrations Verket referred to Gülenists as "the supporters of opposition leader Fethullah Gülen," the former preacher who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. and whom Ankara accuses of being the mastermind behind Turkey's July 15 coup attempt, the Turkish Embassy in Sweden sent an official letter to Swedish Migration Board Director General Anders Danielsson expressing Ankara's concerns and urging its immediate revision of the description of Gülen. Swedish authorities said Wednesday that they will not extradite asylum seekers to Turkey despite their "reliable connections" to the attempted military coup.

The Swedish Migration Agency's decision came just three days after the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) coup attempt. MigrationsVerket said asylum seekers with "credible activity in political opposition" also included among the "risk groups."

MigrationsVerket spokeswoman Guna Graufelds said on Wednesday that Sweden does not rank countries as safe or unsafe when it comes to repatriating asylum seekers but instead makes decisions on a case-by-case basis. The Swedish Migration Agency declined to comment to Daily Sabah on the reasons behind the decision. With an understanding that Sweden is turning into a safe haven for coup plotters, the Turkish ambassador in Stockholm, Kaya Türkmen, sent an official letter in which he stated that the decision has caused great concern and reasserted that U.S.-based FETÖ leader Gülen was behind the failed coup attempt. Türkmen's letter said, "The coup attempt aimed to eliminate judicial order in Turkey and the democratically elected government," and that the attempt resulted in the deaths of more than 200 innocent civilians and 2,000 others being injured. Turkish authorities stressed that the remarks by the Swedish Migration Agency are unacceptable and urged Swedish authorities to immediately revise their remarks. 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, criticizing the EU for not having a firm stance against the coup attempt.

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