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Will pursue Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim 'wherever he goes': Turkey

02 March 2018

The Czech Republic rejects the accusation of support for worldwide terrorism in connection with the release of Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday in reaction to a diplomatic note in which Turkey's complains about a Czech court's verdict.

Earlier on Tuesday Turkey said Muslim's case was a "day of reckoning" for the Czech Republic, pressing its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Prague to extradite him to face a terror trial.

Saleh Muslim formerly headed the PYD, the major component of a coalition that governs Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria and deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey.

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He said that Turkey expected that the Czech authorities would go back on "this mistake" in the "shortest possible time". "I am not a citizen of Turkey and the second thing is, I am a politician", he added. "They don't have the right to make such claims against me, accusations against me", said Muslim.

Muslim was arrested in the Czech capital on Saturday at Turkey's request, according to Turkish officials.

The Czech Foreign Ministry rejected the accusations saying that as any other extradition request this was being handled in line with global law.

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The Turkish foreign ministry said that the Czech court's denial of Ankara's provisional arrest request did not comply with its obligations under global law to combat "terrorism".

On Tuesday Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also said that the cease-fire resolution does not apply to Turkey's operation, which is meant to "clear out bloody terrorist groups to rescue the civilians living there". "This decision has surely cast a shadow over our relations".

Turkey deems Muslim, a former head of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, a "most wanted terrorist" and offered a reward of almost $1 million for his arrest, according to Al Jazeera. The groups say they are independent.

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In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry asserted that Salih Muslim's release following a court hearing today displayed "the insincerity" of European countries in the fight against terrorism.

Will pursue Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim 'wherever he goes': Turkey