In a statement released Sunday evening, the PYD General Council said: "We condemn this immoral and illegal act, carried out by the Czech authorities ... we call upon the Czech state to release Mr Muslim immediately, and to apologize for this immoral and illegal act."
On his Facebook page, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani urged authorities to release Salih, saying "intelligent dialogue and understanding is the best solution for issues."
The KRG’s counter-terrorism director Lahur Talabany tweeted:
“Salih Muslim is a man of integrity working for peace in an unrelentingly
volatile region. His arrest will jeopardize any hope for the peace process and
reconciliation in the region. Dialogue must be pursued in seeking a resolution.”
Earlier this month, Turkey announced a $1 million bounty for the former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the ruling Kurdish party in Rojava, northern Syria, and added him to the Interior Ministry’s ‘Red List.’
Ankara alleges that the PYD is a Syrian branch of the PKK, a named terror group.
The PYD, which advocates the ideology of PKK founder Abdullah Ocalan, has maintained that it is a distinct organization.
Salih, a 67-year-old native of Kobane, founded the PYD in 2003 and served as co-chair of the party form 2013 to 2017, when he stepped down.
He was a harsh critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On Saturday, he had tweeted images of children reportedly killed in Turkey’s operation in Afrin and captioned it “Turkey president – child killer.”
Turkey’s ‘Red List’ is commonly called the ‘terror list.’
Daily Sabah had reported that Muslim had spotted holding meetings in Prague’s Marriott Hotel.
PKK-linked media outlet ANF reported that Muslim had been in the Czech capital to attend a conference. They state he was tracked by Turkish intelligence and that Czech police detained the Kurdish leader at Turkey’s request.
Kurdish officials are endeavouring to secure his release, but Czech authorities have not responded yet, ANF stated.
The Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM), the ruling coalition in Rojava led by the PYD, condemned Muslim’s arrest, describing it as “contrary to all international values and laws.”
“The Turkish state does not have the right to prosecute or arrest any person who is not their citizen. Mr Salih Muslim is a Syrian citizen," TEV-DEM stated.
Muslim’s spouse, Ayse Efendi, who is also the co-chair of Kobane’s people’s assembly said he is a politician and Czech authorities should release him immediately.
"Salih Muslim is not a Turkish citizen... not a military figure. He is a politician and diplomat. He undertakes Rojava affairs. He went to take the voice of freedom, humanity and democracy to the world. The Czech state must take the responsibility and release Salih Muslim promptly," she told Ronahi TV.
His arrest did not come as a surprise to her, however. She noted that people like Muslim are being arrested on a daily basis.
"As his family we knew that there would be arrests, deaths and injuries committed by those betrayers who oppose freedom,” Efendi said.
A spokesperson for French leftist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon has condemned the arrest as “unacceptable.”
Noting that the PYD was part of the defences that have fought ISIS, Djordje Kuzmanovic called on French President Emmanuel Macron to pressure Czech authorities to release Muslim.
Turkey’s TRT World reported that Czech authorities have asked Ankara to submit documents necessary for his extradition.
Ankara has been lobbying European nations to take actions against the PKK within their borders.
Czech police said they will proceed in the matter according to their law on International Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters.
Updated at 11:30 pm