Foreign Office confirms: Swedish citizen held in Turkey

Foreign Office confirms: Swedish citizen held in Turkey
File photo of a demonstration in Gothenburg in support of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. Photo: Erik Abel/TT
The Swedish Foreign Ministry has confirmed that a Swedish citizen in his mid-40s is being held in Turkey, whose state-run news agency reported he is suspected of links to Kurdish militants.

The man from the Västra Götaland region in Sweden, was arrested in Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey, said the Swedish Foreign Ministry. A A spokesperson said its general consulate in Turkey was trying to obtain more information from Turkish authorities, including the specific allegations against the man.

Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu said on Tuesday that the 46-year-old man is accused of being a regional leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Sweden.

It said the man, identified only by the initials H.B., had also taken a photograph in front of an image of PKK's jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence on an island off Istanbul.

Turkey claims the man came to the country for secret meetings with PKK-linked individuals.

The PKK has been waging an insurgency in Turkey since 1984. Fighting intensified in 2015 after the collapse of a two-year ceasefire. Ankara has blacklisted it as a terrorist organization.

Swedish-Kurdish writer Kurdo Baksi told Swedish media the man is a businessman and the Sweden representative of pro-Kurdish opposition party the Peoples' Democratic Party.

“This is the most serious case I have encountered in a long time. It is unexpected and strange that he is arrested. His family lives there, he is often there,” he told Swedish news agency TT on Wednesday.


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