Turkey, Europe

'Release of terrorist belies EU's anti-terror stance'

Turkish Foreign Ministry says Czech Republic’s decision to release ex-terrorist leader shows European countries’ insincerity

'Release of terrorist belies EU's anti-terror stance'


By Sibel Ugurlu


Turkey on Tuesday blasted the Czech Republic’s decision to release a former leader of the terrorist PYD/PKK, saying that the ruling violated its responsibility to abide by international law and to fight terrorism. 

The PYD/PKK “is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which is considered a terrorist group by the European Union, of which the Czech Republic is a member,” said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.

“The Czech court’s decision to release Salih Muslum, instead of arresting him, shows it ignores the killing of dozens of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks and the suffering of their families,” the ministry added. 

The statement said the decision also showed the "insincerity" of European countries’ counter-terrorist stance.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Turkey's Ambassador in Prague Ahmet Necati Bigali said: “Unfortunately, it seems that the information and documents prepared by our Justice Ministry were not taken into consideration by the court. This decision is in no way acceptable.” 

The decision may harm ties between the Czech Republic and Turkey, as it undermines the idea that terrorism can best be fought through international cooperation, Bigali added.

A Czech court on Tuesday released Muslum, a former co-leader of the PYD/PKK terrorist group. He was detained on Sunday in Prague after Turkey called on the Czech Republic to arrest the ex-terrorist leader.

The Turkish Interior Ministry has offered a bounty of nearly $1 million on Muslum, who it lists among Turkey’s most wanted terrorists.

Muslum is being sought on charges of disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state, homicide, attempted homicide, damaging public property, and transporting hazardous substances. 

The PYD/PKK is a Syrian offshoot of the PKK -- designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- which has taken some 40,000 lives in its 30-year terrorist campaign against Turkey. 

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