Turkey formally requests Syrian Kurdish leader's extradition - InfoNews

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Turkey formally requests Syrian Kurdish leader's extradition

FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2016 file photo, then co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim addresses journalists at the European Parliament in Brussels. Turkey's official news agency, Anadolu, and a Syrian Kurdish official said Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018, that Czech authorities have detained Muslim under an Interpol red notice based on Ankara's request for his arrest. Muslim was put on Turkey's most-wanted list earlier in February with a reward for $1 million. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, File)
February 26, 2018 - 10:00 AM

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey has submitted documents to the Czech authorities formally requesting the extradition of the former leader of a Syrian Kurdish party, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Monday.

Salih Muslim, former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, was detained in the Czech capital of Prague on Saturday based on a Turkish request for his arrest.

Turkey considers the PYD a "terrorist group" linked to outlawed Kurdish insurgents fighting within Turkey's own borders.

Czech authorities said Muslim was arrested based on a request from Turkey's Interpol office. However an official at Interpol's headquarters in Lyon, France, said Monday that the police agency has not issued a worldwide red notice for his arrest.

National Interpol offices can seek a red notice, but it must be approved by a special Interpol procedure meant to ensure that the request is not politically motivated. Interpol would not comment Monday on whether Turkey had sought such a notice and was denied.

Muslim was put on Turkey's most-wanted list earlier in February with a $1 million reward.

On Monday, Turkish prosecutors issued a new warrant for his detention, accusing Muslim and about 30 other people of being behind a bomb attack on a tax office in Ankara earlier this month.

Nine people — suspected Kurdish militants — were detained in connection with the attack, which caused damage to the tax office but no casualties.

Bozdag said during a live television interview Monday that Turkey's Justice Ministry had sent a "file" formally requesting his extradition.

Muslim was expected to appear before a Prague court on Tuesday, which would then decide if he will remain in detention, Turkish Ambassador in Prague Ahmet Necati Bigali told Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency.

The PYD is the leading political Kurdish force in northern Syria, and Muslim remains highly influential in the party, even after stepping down as co-chair last year.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched an incursion into northern Syria, seeking to rout the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the People's Protection Units or YPG, from the enclave of Afrin. The YPG is the armed wing of the PYD.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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