Syrian Kurdish leader arrested in Prague at Turkey’s request

The main Syrian Kurdish political party said on Sunday that one of its leaders had been arrested in Prague at the behest of Turkey, where a court has charged him with sedition, Reuters reports.

Saleh Muslim, a top Kurdish politician, has “full citizenship rights” as a Syrian national and was visiting Europe in an official capacity, the PYD party said.

The PYD is the political wing of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers to be a “terrorist group” with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting a three decade insurgency against the Turkish state.  The YPG is the main force in the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting against the “Islamic State.”

Turkey views him as a terrorist and had offered $1 million for his arrest. He has been indicted over a February 2016 bombing in Ankara that targeted a convoy of busses at the military headquarters during the evening rush hour, killing 37 people.

“Upon finding the person in question was in the Czech Republic… it was demanded that he be captured and arrested to be extradited,” the Turkish ministry of justice said in a statement.

“At the moment this issue is being handled by the police, as well as by the Justice Ministry, since an international arrest warrant was issued for the detainee. Perhaps, talks [about the extradition] will also take place at the level of diplomatic missions. It is logical that the Turkish minister would like to talk about this with our minister,” Czech Foreign Minister Lagronova told reporters on Sunday, adding that phone talks between the two foreign ministers had not been scheduled so far.