Czech Republic rejects Turkish government’s terrorism accusations following Muslim’s release

The Czech Republic has rejected accusations made by the Turkish government that it supports terrorism after the release on bail of Salih Muslim, the former co-chairperson of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Muslim was detained at the request of Turkey on Sunday based on an Interpol Red Notice and held in custody for two days in the Czech capital of Prague.

Irena Valentova, a spokesperson for the Czech Foreign Ministry, reportedly denied the Turkish government’s allegations, stating that Muslim’s detention and release were “handled in line with international law.” 

“The Czech Republic strongly rejects any accusations of support of international terrorism,” she said in a statement released by the ministry.

“Through the decision of the city court in Prague, the Czech Republic has not breached any of its obligations under international law, including those of the European Convention on Extradition,” Valentova added. She also noted that Ankara had 40 days to provide all the relevant documents for an extradition request that would be reviewed by a Czech court before the justice minister makes a final decision.

However, it has been reported that if Muslim “decides to leave the territory of the Czech Republic, the extradition procedure will be terminated without any decision to be taken.”

After Muslim’s release, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ told reporters that the Czech Republic’s decision was one that “supported terrorism.”

Meanwhile, Swedish Left Party deputy Amineh Kakabawe took the detention of Muslim to the Swedish Parliament in a written inquiry and demanded that the Turkish government’s abuse of Interpol be prevented.

Kakabawe pointed out that the Turkish government is using Interpol in Europe and many other places throughout the world to silence and pressure opponents of the Erdoğan regime and said that “the duty of Interpol has never been to pressure opponents of regimes in other countries, and it shouldn’t be.”

Kakabawe asked Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström what they plan to do in the face of the Turkish government using Interpol as a tool to pressure opponents.

Meanwhile, writer Hamza Yalçın, who was detained in Spain at Turkey’s request in mid-2017 and was released only after spending three months in jail, has reportedly been removed from Interpol’s wanted list.

According to a report by Swedish news agency TT, Yalçın’s lawyer, Baltasar Garson, said their legal appeals to Interpol had been successful and that Yalçın was removed from the Interpol wanted list. Yalçın told TT that he would be pressing charges against and demanding compensation from the Turkish government and Interpol for unjustly spending three months in prison.

Yalçın’s detention in Barcelona in June of last year had created great outrage. Journalists, writers and NGOs in Sweden had organized campaigns and protests for his release. The issue was brought to the agenda of the European Union by a European deputy who demanded that the EU take action to prevent the Turkish government’s abuse of Interpol.

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