News ID: 211145
Published: 0630 GMT March 05, 2018

Turkey asks Germany to detain, extradite Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim

Turkey asks Germany to detain, extradite Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim

Turkey has asked Germany to detain and extradite Salih Muslim, a senior Kurdish figure from Syria whom Ankara blames for two terror attacks in the capital Ankara that killed dozens.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday that Turkish authorities had asked German counterparts on Friday to temporarily detain and hand over Muslim, adding that Berlin had yet to respond to the request.

Bozdag, who is also the main government spokesman, said Ankara had demanded serious action from Germany over the case of the Kurdish leader.

“We will... continue to invite Germany to act honestly and sincerely,” he said, adding, “German authorities had to take measures and comply with the law between two countries, but unfortunately they have not complied.”

A court in the Czech Republic decided to release Muslim last week, days after he was arrested on an Interpol red notice requested by Turkey. Muslim, a former co-leader of major Kurdish group the Democratic Union Party (PYD), was attending a conference in Prague when he was arrested after a Turkish participant took a photo of him.

He has now traveled to Germany, which hosts a large Kurdish diaspora in Europe.

Turkey has hugely angered the Kurdish population in Germany by launching a massive military operation against Kurds in Syria’s northwestern region of Afrin since January 20.

Turkey views the PYD, and its militant wing the People's Protection Units (YPG), as terrorist groups linked to outlawed Kurdish militants fighting for an autonomous region in the southeast of the country.

Ankara has announced that the main objective behind the ongoing military operation in Afrin in Syria’s Aleppo province is to push back Kurds from east of the Euphrates to areas close to the Iraqi border.

Muslim, in a rally in Berlin attended by thousands of Kurds on Saturday, condemned Turkey’s campaign in Afrin and urged an immediate halt.

“The situation is very miserable ... hundreds of civilians being killed,” said Muslim, adding, “Germany should not support them. Turkey is now attacking, mostly using German weapons ... This is support for state terrorism.”

Turkey and Germany, two NATO allies, have seen their ties strained in the wake of a failed coup in Turkey in the summer of 2016. Berlin has fiercely criticized Ankara for its post-coup crackdown, which has expanded to target the Kurds, saying authorities have acted beyond the rule of law.

Last month, a court in Turkey decided to release a German-Turkish journalist pending trial, raising speculations that Ankara was seeking to prevent a further deterioration of relations with Berlin.

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