Kurdish YPG office in Prague shut down

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Inauguration of the YPG representation office in Prague. File photo

ARA News

The representation office of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which opened in Prague in April 2016, has closed, the Czech media reported.

According to media sources, the office closed because it failed to win the recognition of Czech politicians.

The office was headed by Sheruan Hassan, a member of the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Lawyer Slavomir Hrinko, who provided legal services for the group and in whose real estate the office had its official seat, said that the lease agreement with YPG Europe group was not extended.

The office seems to have faced problems related to security threats and diplomacy, but it also might be related to Turkish lobbying. The Czech media reported that the Turkish embassy in Prague tried to undermine the activities of the office.

“Given the tense situation in Turkey that uses refugee affairs to blackmail Europe, high (Czech) politicians correctly considered support for the YPG also a way for the future recognition of an independent Kurdistan. With regard to the Czech relations with Turkey, this seems to be assessed as undesirable,” Political scientist Michael Murad, from Brno’s Masaryk University, told Prague Monitor.

Last Tuesday the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek visited Turkey and held bilateral talks with President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayip Erdogan in Ankara.

“Turkey is the 4th largest export market of CZ [Czech Republic] outside the EU. CZ exports grew by 12% in 2016. We want to develop economic relations with Turkey,” the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The Czech government also hopes that Turkey releases two Czechs who were arrested in Sirnak after joining the YPG ranks.

Emil Aslan Souleimanov, Associate Professor, Dept of Russian & East European Studies at the Charles University in Prague told ARA News: “The Turkish embassy has been eager to complicate the (YPG) office’s life.”

“And Czech politicians and public activists showed little interest in the office and its activities, which was quite surprising for the Kurds who had expected to capitalize on the Islamophobic/Turkophobic/pro-Kurdish sentiments, strong in Czech society. So the Kurds decided to shut their office down,” Souleimanov said.

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