Turkish official leaves meetings over France’s invitation to ex-PYD head
The head of the Turkish delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on April 23 condemned an invitation given by France to former Democratic Union Party (PYD) co-leader Salih Muslim to a side event.
“To register my protest on the attendance of terrorist Salih Muslim at an event organized by PACE, I am leaving the April session of the Parliamentary Assembly and returning to Turkey,” Turkey’s PACE official Akif Çağatay Kılıç said in a statement.
Muslim was protected by the French police on his way to the Council of Europe and throughout the event, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
“I condemn this event which conflicts the values and standards of the Council of Europe,” Kılıç said.
Muslim was arrested on Feb. 25 in Prague following Turkey’s request to the Czech Republic.
Two days later, he was released by a Czech court on the condition that he would not leave the European Union and appear at future hearings in the extradition case, an event that caused a diplomatic row with Ankara, which has accused Muslim of aggravated murder and disrupting the Turkish state.
Ankara, describing his release as a political decision against international law, swore to follow Muslim “wherever he goes.”
On March 3, Turkish authorities said Muslim was spotted in Berlin, where he also participated in a demonstration organized by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) supporters.
Muslim, an influential figure of the PYD — a group Turkey considers as a terror network due to its links to the PKK — is being sought with a red notice by Turkey on suspicion of his involvement in the planning of a terrorist attack carried out in Ankara in 2016.
The March 13, 2016 attack at Güvenpark in Ankara’s Kızılay — a popular shopping area — had been carried out using an explosives-laden vehicle, which left 37 people dead and dozens others injured.