[UPDATE] Ankara again asks Berlin to extradite Syrian Kurdish leader Muslim

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The former co-chairperson of PYD Salih Muslum (C) arrives to address a rally at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany on March 03, 2018. Erbil Basay / Anadolu Agency

Turkey said on Monday it had issued a second extradition request for Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim, calling for his temporary detention and extradition from Germany after a Czech court released him last week, Reuters reported.

Çavuşoğlu meets with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Berlin on Tuesday.

Muslim, who formerly headed the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD), was detained in Prague last week at Turkey’s request, based on an Interpol Red Notice.

On Saturday, at a demonstration attended by thousands of Kurds in Berlin, Muslim called for an immediate halt to Turkey’s military operation in the Afrin region in northern Syria.

“The situation is very miserable … hundreds of civilians being killed,” Muslim told Reuters TV. “Germany should not support them. Turkey is now attacking, mostly using German weapons … This is support for state terrorism.”

Ankara launched a military operation inside Syria six weeks ago to sweep YPG fighters from its southern border.

Ankara considers the PYD and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) to be the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade war in Turkey’s largely Kurdish Southeast, and says Muslim is linked to two bombings in the capital of Ankara that killed dozens.

A Czech court ruled for Muslim’s release, a move Turkey described as political, against international law and “clear support for terror.” Ankara has said it would pursue Muslim “wherever he goes.”

Muslim has said the allegations against him are false. He has also said he will remain in European Union territory and cooperate in any further proceedings.

Ankara requested Muslim’s temporary detention and extradition from Germany on Friday, but Berlin has yet to comply, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Monday.

“German authorities had to take measures and comply with the law between two countries, but unfortunately they have not complied,” Bozdağ told a news conference. “We will… continue to invite Germany to act honestly and sincerely,” he said.

Relations between Turkey and Europe have soured in the aftermath of a 2016 failed coup, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has overseen a sweeping crackdown. More than 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from their jobs, and more than 50,000 detained. Turkey says the measures are necessary for its security.

A Turkish court last month freed a German-Turkish journalist pending trial after indicting him for alleged security offenses, a move that had been seen as potentially leading to an easing of tensions between the two NATO allies.

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