Muslim speaks to the ANF about the Turkish state trick in Prague

Following his two day detention in Prague, former PYD Co-chair Saleh Muslim spoke to the ANF about how he was detained and what he faced.

Saleh Muslim was detained last weekend in Prague where he was attending a conference. Muslim was held in detention for two days and was released by the court in a hearing on Tuesday. Muslim said Turkey is trying to strike where they can, but isn’t succeeding. According to the former PYD Co-chair, Turkey wants to silence Afrin in Europe.

- Why were you in Prague?

There was an annual private conference. We were there representing Northern Syria, and we held several meetings.

- On which day of the meetings were you detained?

It was on the fourth and the last day. The meetings were over, I was supposed to go back the next day.

- Where were you detained?

From the hotel.

- Who was it that came to the hotel and what reason did they give you?

It was the Czech police. They said they had an arrest warrant, it was a document from a court.

- Did they tell you the demand came from Turkey?

Of course they did. They said this whole situation was happening due to the Turkish state’s demand.

- How were you treated in custody?

It was a normal procedure. There was no interrogation. They directly referred me to a court. But the detention lasted 2 days.


- You’ve been in Europe for a long time, why did you face this in Czechia? What do you think?

Turkey’s organization is tied to intelligence relationships. They have relationships in some places. They are trying to hit where they see weakness. We know that Turkey’s intelligence is spread throughout Europe. They can’t take military actions in Europe like they can in Kurdistan or Syria, but what they can do is intelligence tricks and relationships. They are trying to take advantage of certain judiciary bodies where they see weakness. But the Czech judiciary was aware of this, they knew that this was a trick. That is why they released me.

-The Turkish state had posted a prize on your head before you were detained. Do you feel that your life is in danger?

Now, Turkey can do anything. That should always be expected. They want to catch people where they see weakness with dirty tricks. Those who go on manhunt are only structures without principles. Only the criminals pursue such things. But in the judiciary, especially in Europe, this does not pertain to anything.


-After you were released, did you face any other situation where you were suspicious or you saw as a threat?

The (Czech) police taking such tight security precautions and insisting on these did create some doubt in us. That means there is something we don’t know, and the police knows and is not telling us. There must be other reasons behind them acting this way, keeping it tight until I leave Czechia and accompanying me.

- You being taken out in handcuffs created a lot of reaction.

When they first detained me, there were no handcuffs. They used handcuffs only for the 15 minutes when I was transferred to the court. When I objected, they told me that is how things are done. I don’t know if there is any other meaning to it. I don’t know if it does for them, but for us it doesn’t mean anything whether to be in handcuffs or not.


- Does your detention have anything to do with the invasion in Afrin?

I’m sure it does. Turkey acting all petulant is due to the victory there. They are defeated in Afrin. The resistance there is glorious. Now, we are the voice of Afrin in Europe. We amplify the voices of women and children there, we voice the people’s screams. They tried to silence us. But they failed. They have not succeeded.


- Speaking of Afrin, why did Turkey attack a region that the whole world views as one of the most peaceful and secure areas in Syria?

The reason for Turkey’s petulance is the fact that many groups they use in other places like ISIS have failed. They were defeated in Kobanê, they were defeated in Raqqa. They are being defeated in Deir Ez Zor. So to remedy this to an extent, Afrin is the final point. All the terrorist groups in Idlib coming under Turkey’s control is also putting them in a hard spot. There is pressure on Turkey to resolve all these. Now they want to push and attack Afrin. This is a situation where they gather all remnants of ISIS left over from Kobanê, Raqqa and even Mosul and organized them to attack Afrin. And then there are other groups that attack from both the south and the west. They want to absolutely take over Afrin to both change the demographics and settle in the forces they want in there.

- So, can they do it? Can they succeed?

No, of course not. The resistance of the people is glorious. Whatever happens, they will never succeed in any way.


- Why did Russia do this?

There are other interests under the table. It could be the gas issue, there is the pipeline. There are economic interests. That is probably why Russia is silent. Russia is really violating their own principles. They claim they will protect Syria’s territorial integrity, but here, Turkey has taken over Shehba. It is under invasion. And now they want to invade Afrin. Russia has a responsibility there, and by now they should do something. But they are silent. Whatever their interests may be.

- Is the Turkey-Russia alliance sustainable?

I don’t think it’s strategic. It’s a matter of interests, and it’s temporary. Turkey will be their bane one day. With this policy, Turkey poses a threat to peace throughout the world. They want to achieve results in Europe through dirty intelligence tricks what they failed to do in the region. They are mixing up both the region and Europe. The world can’t stand for this, at some point somebody will put an end to it.


- How will Afrin’s situation affect the regions invaded by Turkey before, like Jarablus and Bab? These places are still under Turkey’s occupation.

It wasn’t just Kurds that lived in these areas. They were mixed. The day will come for these regions too. Nobody will stay silent. These places can’t remain under Turkey’s occupation.

- Lastly, how do you explain the Syrian regime sending forces to Afrin?

We always said we are part of Syria. We don’t want to secede from Syria. They have a duty. Protecting the border is a matter of sovereignty. Unfortunately, they have been very undisciplined.

- Why? Are they not strong enough?

I don’t know that they are not strong. But they may at least be wanting to get approval from Russia. And there are dirty tricks in place for that.