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Salih Muslim: Syria's Kurdish problems will be solved by Syrians, not Turkey

In an interview just days before being arrested in Prague at Turkey's request, Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim spoke to Al-Monitor about his relations with Ankara.
Salih Muslim Muhammad  chairman of the PYD, the Syrian branch of the PKK answers journalists' questions as he arrives to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks claimed by Islamic State which killed at least 129 people and left more than 350 injured, on November 17, 2015 in front of the Bataclan theatrein Paris. AFP PHOTO / ADRIEN MORLENT        (Photo credit should read ADRIEN MORLENT/AFP/Getty Images)

Salih Muslim, a globally known Syrian Kurdish leader, was detained in the Czech capital city of Prague on Feb. 24 at Turkey’s request. Ankara is now demanding that he be extradited to Turkey where he faces terror charges over his alleged links to a March 2016 car bomb attack in Ankara that left 37 people dead. It remains unclear what evidence if any Turkey has to prove Muslim’s complicity. The move is a further sign of how Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party has abandoned efforts to make peace with its Kurds. It has reverted instead to its old, and so far unsuccessful, tactics of seeking to vanquish them militarily in Turkey and now in Syria while criminalizing their political leaders.

Between 2012 and 2015, Muslim was Ankara’s top interlocutor within the Syrian Kurdish movement, which was inspired by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan. 

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