Turkish government has demanded that Germany arrest and extradite Salih Muslim, the former co-chairperson of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Monday.
Muslim was detained in Prague on Feb. 25 based on an Interpol Red Notice issued at Turkey’s request for his arrest but was released on Feb. 27 by a Czech court despite Ankara’s request to extradite.
According to Anadolu, Muslim faces an Ankara high court verdict for his role in a 2016 terrorist attack that killed 37 people in the capital in addition to charges of damaging national unity and integrity, premeditated murder, damaging public property and transporting hazardous materials.
The court had also issued an arrest warrant for Muslim and asked that an Interpol Red Notice be put out for him. Turkey sent the court documents to Germany on Friday.
Muslim took part in a pro-Kurdish demonstration in Berlin on Saturday to protest against the Turkish military offensive in Afrin, a Kurdish enclave in north-west Syria.
The Turkish Interior Ministry recently put Muslim’s name on the list of “most wanted terrorists” and offered a bounty of nearly $1 million. The PYD is considered by Turkey to be the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.
A spokesman for Germany’s interior ministry declined to comment on the case of Muslim, citing privacy rules. “In general terms, should we receive such a tracing request, either bilaterally or via Interpol, then there always needs to be a very, very diligent examination procedure,” Johannes Dimroth told reporters in Berlin. He added that the German government would take into account “all aspects that need to be considered in such situations” before making a decision.
Relations between Turkey and Germany have deteriorated since the failed coup against Turkish President Erdogan in 2016 and the crackdown that followed. Germany has openly criticized Turkey’s increasingly autocratic government, human rights violations and arrests of journalists in the aftermath of the failed coup. The release of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel last month was seen as potentially leading to a thaw in the icy relations between the two NATO allies.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu is scheduled to arrive in Berlin on Wednesday and meet acting German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. (SCF with turkishminute.com)