It has come out to light that Turkey has seized the retirement salary of prominent publisher, writer and free speech activist Ragıp Zarakolu, whom it has been seeking the extradition of from Sweden.
The information was revealed by Dr. Baskın Oran, emeritus professor at Ankara University, on his column on the online news outlet Artı Gerçek. Oran cited the December 2019 decision of an Istanbul court in his column.
“The 23.12.2019-dated decision of the Istanbul 3rd Heavy Penal Court reads as follows: 'To make the fugitive defendant named Zarakolu come to the hearings, it has been partially decided that all of his properties, rights and receivables be seized and decided that the payments to be made to Zarakolu by the Social Security Administration (SGK) be seized,” Oran wrote.
“Zarakolu is not a fugitive. He went abroad with his passport and his address is known there....Even if he was a fugitive, his retirement salary cannot be seized. There is a decision of the Court of Cassation Assembly of Civil Chambers saying that retirement salaries cannot be seized," Oran wrote.
Oran further recalled that Sweden's High Court on Dec. 18, 2019 turned down Turkey's request for Zarakolu's extradition in a “final decision.”
Oran's comments came amid recent reports that the Turkish government submitted a list of individuals to Sweden with a demand that they be extradited to Turkey in exchange for its support for the Nordic country's NATO bid. Zarakolu's name is said to be mentioned in the list.
In a speech in parliament last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey had asked Sweden to “extradite 30 terrorists but they refused to do so.”
Zarakolu has been living in Sweden since 2013. Turkish prosecutors previously charged him with “aiding and abetting terrorism” over a 2011 speech he made at the Politics Academy of the now-defunct pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
In 2018, Turkey sought an INTERPOL red notice for him, but the demand was rejected by the international police organization.