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.