The Czech minister of foreign affairs has come out in favour of firmer EU action against Turkey over its offensive into Northern Syria and attacks on Kurds. Tomáš Petříček says Russia and the Damascus government are benefiting most from the current situation – and says further talks on Turkey joining the EU are at present impossible.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said on Thursday that the Czech
government agrees with the European Union’s condemnation of Turkey’s
ongoing military offensive in northern Syria to create a refugee zone.
Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies attacked Kurdish militia on Wednesday, pounding them with air strikes and artillery before starting a ground operation. The assault began days after US President Donald Trump withdrew American troops from the area.
Following a meeting in early September with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the United Nations, Mr Babiš had said that the Visegrad Group (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland) supported Ankara’s intention to create a refugee zone in northern Syria.
Earlier this week, however, the Czech prime minister said that he was surprised by the situation and warned that military intervention could lead to another wave of refugees heading for Europe.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) had earlier warned in an official statement that the Turkish offensive would “only worsen the situation of civilians and refugees in the region”.
Officers from the country’s National Centre for Combatting Organized
Crime have proposed filing criminal charges against a former employee of
the Czech Export Bank who is believed to be responsible for two suspect
loans afforded to companies between 2007 and 2010 which resulted in damages
to the tune of 1.5 billion crowns. If charged and convicted the man could
face up to eight years in jail for abuse of position.
The Czech Export Bank and its mother company, the Export Insurance Company EGAP are still dealing with the effects of big losses incurred between 2007 and 2011 due to a number of dubious contracts, some of which are still under investigation.
One of the most highly-publicized cases was a series of loans to the tune of hundreds of millions of crowns afforded to Chinese companies for which five former managers have been charged.
Two Czechs serving six-year jail terms in Turkey for cooperating with the
Syrian Kurd militia YPG are in a good state, Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský,
who visited them last week, told the Czech News Agency. Diplomats from the
two countries are discussing the conditions and situations of Markéta
Všelichová and Miroslav Farkas.
The pair were arrested on the border between Turkey and Iraq in November 2016 after Turkish officers found materials on them that they said proved the pair were involved with the YPG, which Ankara considers a terrorist organisation. They are in prisons in different parts of Turkey.
A recent conference on business and investment opportunities in Africa organized by the Czech Foreign Ministry, focused on innovative forms of investment and modern technologies. Titled “Creative, Innovative and Participative Africa” the event brought together ambassadors and business representatives, underlining Czech interest in establishing new partnerships and projects on the African continent. I spoke to Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa about the opportunities opening up, the risks involved and what the Czech government is doing to help
The Turkish Supreme Court this week upheld a six-year prison sentence for two Czechs convicted on charges of terrorism in 2017. The Czech couple Marketa Všelichová and Miroslav Farkas, humanitarian workers who vehemently denied the accusations that they had assisted the Kurdish militia YPG, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization, have thus exhausted all the legal possibilities of appeal in Turkey. I spoke to their close friend Janusz Konieczny to find out what conditions they are being held in and how they feel about this latest
A Czech court on Tuesday ordered the release of Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim, sparking a diplomatic row with Ankara which considers him a member of a terrorist organization and is seeking his extradition to Turkey. The former head of PYD, the leading political force in Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria, is now free to leave the country.
The Czech Republic has found itself in a diplomatic tug-of-war between Turkey and the main Syrian Kurdish political party PYD following the arrest of former PYD leader Saleh Muslim in Prague. Muslim was detained at the weekend on an Interpol warrant at Turkey’s behest. Turkey has requested his extradition, while the PYD has appealed for his release.