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Turkey formally requests Syrian Kurdish leader’s extradition

Salih Muslim, former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, was detained in the Czech capital on Saturday.

Turkey has submitted documents to the Czech authorities formally requesting the extradition of the former leader of a Syrian Kurdish party.

Salih Muslim, former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, was detained in the Czech capital of Prague on Saturday under an Interpol red notice based on a Turkish request for his arrest.

Turkey considers the PYD a “terrorist group” linked to outlawed Kurdish insurgents fighting within Turkey’s own borders.

Muslim was put on Turkey’s most-wanted list earlier in February with a one million dollar (£715,000) reward.

On Monday, Turkish prosecutors issued a new warrant for his detention, accusing Muslim and about 30 other people of being behind a bomb attack on a tax office in Ankara earlier this month.

Nine people — suspected Kurdish militants — were detained in connection with the attack, which caused damage to the tax office but no casualties.

Turkish deputy prime minister Bekir Bozdag said the justice ministry had sent a “file” formally requesting his extradition.

Muslim was expected to appear before a Prague court on Tuesday, which would then decide if he will remain in detention, Turkish ambassador Ahmet Necati Bigali said.

The PYD is the leading political Kurdish force in northern Syria, and Muslim remains highly influential in the party, even after stepping down as co-chair last year.

On January 20, Turkey launched an incursion into northern Syria, seeking to rout the US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the People’s Protection Units or YPG, from the enclave of Afrin. The YPG is the armed wing of the PYD.

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