Turkish president presses Czech authorities to extradite Syrian Kurdish leader

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan demanded the Czech authorities extradite a detained Syrian Kurdish leader in a speech to an adoring crowd in Şanlıurfa, a city in south-eastern Turkey, on Sunday.

"The head of the PYD was caught. Our hope is that the Czech Republic will deliver him to Turkey," Erdoğan said.

Salih Muslim, former co-chairman of the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, has been detained in the Czech capital of Prague since Saturday after an Interpol “red notice” was issued by the Turkish government, which describes him as a terrorist. The Turkish government considers PYD to be a terrorist organisation linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Kurdish insurgent group in Turkey.

Meanwhile, It appears that the Czech media reporting that the Czech authorities contemplating about a possible exchange for two YPG volunteers who are currently being held in Turkey. 

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also said "Our wish is that he is extradited to Turkey," after Muslim's arrest in Prague, noting that both Turkey and the Czech Republic were parties to the European Convention on Extradition.

Bozdağ said that the foreign ministry, the interior ministry and the justice ministry would be working with the Czech authorities on the extradition request.

The Turkish justice ministry made a statement saying that the department already started working on the extradition procedure and that a formal extradition request will be made to Prague in line with the European Convention on Extradition.

Interpol red notice detentions are mostly dismissed by the courts in the countries where they take place, without extradition. Syrian Kurdish organisations are not designated as terrorist groups in Europe, and previous extradition requests by Turkey on the same grounds have been rejected by European courts.