A potentially very complicated extradition fight looms this weekend after the announcement that a top leader in the Kurdish PYD, the Syrian political wing of the YPG, was arrested in the Czech capital of Prague at the behest of Turkey.
The man, Saleh Muslim, is a Syrian citizen who was visiting Europe in an official capacity. He was the co-chairman of the PYD, which Turkey considers to be secretly in league with their own banned Kurdish party, the PKK, and subsequently “terrorists.”
This led to Turkey, after blaming the Kurds for a bombing in Ankara, filing charges against many of the top PYD officials. Muslim faces “sedition” charges on the grounds that he threatens Turkish unity, despite not being a Turkish citizen.
It’s not unusual for Turkey to go after high-profile Kurdish figures, and more common still for them to charge people with “sedition” on a very flimsy basis. Turkey had even offered a reward of $1 million for Muslim’s capture.
But getting the Czech Republic to hand a Syrian citizen over to Turkey is another matter entirely. While the Czechs argue they were virtually obliged to make the arrest because of Interpol, that doesn’t mean they’re going to hand him over.