Former co-leader of the PYD, Salih Muslum is spotted in Berlin last week, where he also participated in a demonstration organised by the PKK supporters.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel talk after a statement in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel talk after a statement in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018. (Reuters)

German authorities will examine Turkey’s request for extradition of former co-leader of PKK-related PYD terrorist group Salih Muslum, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart in Berlin, Gabriel said they recently received a diplomatic note from Ankara on the issue.

“As usual, such requests are forwarded to the Ministry of Justice, it will be examined there and proceedings will continue in accordance with the principles of rule of law,” he said.

Muslum was arrested on February 25 in Prague after Turkey called on the Czech Republic to arrest the former leader.

Two days later, he was released by a Czech court on the condition that he would not to leave the European Union and appear at future hearings in the extradition case.

On Saturday, Muslum was spotted in Berlin, where he also participated in a demonstration organised by PKK supporters.

The PYD is the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is responsible for over 40,000 deaths, in a violent campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years.

The PKK has been listed as a terrorist organisation in Germany since 1993, but Berlin has not yet taken legal action to outlaw its Syrian branch PYD.

Muslum, an influential figure of the PYD, is being sought by a Turkish court on suspicion of his involvement in the planning of a terrorist attack carried out in Ankara in 2016.

The March 13, 2016, attack at Guven Park in Ankara’s Kizilay - a popular shopping area - had been carried out using an explosives-laden vehicle, which left 37 people dead and dozens of others injured.

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency described in its recent reports the PYD and YPG as “sister organisations” of the PKK.

Travel advice on Turkey

Turkish foreign minister has also called on the German government to change its travel advice on Turkey, stressing that it is out-dated and does not reflect the real situation in the country.

“The latest travel advice is not reflecting realities of Turkey and the current state of our bilateral relations,” Cavusoglu told the joint news conference, ahead of their meeting.

Cavusoglu underlined that Turkey has addressed all possible concerns, achieved normalisation after the defeated coup in 2016, and has taken strong security measures along its border with Syria against potential threats.

"Today, our touristic destinations Antalya or Istanbul, are no less secure than any other city in Europe," he said.

Turkey has been one of the most popular travel destinations for German holidaymakers, but the number of visitors declined in recent years, due to conflicts in countries neighbouring Turkey, as well political tensions between Ankara and Berlin.

The number of German tourists dropped from 5.5 million in 2015 to 3.9 million in 2016, according to official figures.

In 2017, around 3.5 million German tourists traveled to Turkey.

Cavusoglu hoped efforts in recent months to normalise political relations would also have a positive impact on tourism.

"In the first three months of this year, there has been a significant increase in the number of German visitors," he said, and added that early bookings have also increased up to 80 percent, compared with the same period last year.

The Turkish foreign minister said the figures have shown that German tourists, who opted for other countries in the past two years, would again prefer to travel Turkey.

Cavusoglu is paying a two-day visit to Germany, and he is scheduled to visit ITB Berlin tourism fair on Wednesday.

Source: AA