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Statement Regarding the Czech Nationals Detained in Turkey and Czech Republic’s Fight Against Terrorism

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic provides consular assistance to Ms. Markéta Všelichová and Mr. Miroslav Farkas, Czech nationals detained in Turkey. The Ministry is not aware of any indications that the actions of these nationals might fall within the definition of a “terrorist attack” in terms of Czech criminal legislation. Nevertheless, the Czech Republic condemns terrorism, absolutely and in any form, and takes an active part in countering it at many levels.

The two Czech nationals, Markéta Všelichová a Miroslav Farkas, were arrested in Turkey in mid-November 2016 on charges of terrorism. Both of them publicly present themselves as pro-Kurd activists and repeatedly visit Kurdish areas in Syria and Iraq – by their own account, to help the local people in their struggle against the ISIL. Markéta Všelichová and Miroslav Farkas are currently being held in detention by Turkish authorities and charged with a serious crime under Turkish law (“membership of an armed terrorist organization”). The Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units), an organization both of them have openly supported on social networks, is regarded by the Republic of Turkey as a branch of the terrorist PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). If the charges are proved, the two Czech nationals will face severe prison sentences. The PKK is regarded as a terrorist organization by all EU Member States, while the YPG is not.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides the two Czech nationals with consular assistance in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The assistance may consist in facilitating their contacts with families and with the consular staff of the Czech Embassy in Turkey, in visiting them at the detention facility, recommending a suitable lawyer and attending court hearings, etc. According to information available to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two nationals did not travel to Syria for the purpose of taking part in terrorist activities. This conclusion was presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic to the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the Czech Republic, H.E. Mr. Ahmet Necati Bigali, on 21 November 2016, and will be reiterated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Lubomír Zaorálek, during his visit to Turkey on 13 December 2016.

In this connection, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs underlines the Czech Republic’s active role in the fight against terrorism. The Czech Republic has been involved in the Global Coalition against the ISIL since the very beginning, and takes part in the Stabilization Working Group on Iraq, namely in its Sub-group on policing. The Czech Republic is a party to all relevant anti-terrorist conventions. Within the UN, it works for the speediest possible negotiation of the Comprehensive Convention on International terrorism. The Czech Republic consistently honours its commitments under UN Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) concerning the fight against international terrorism, and under the subsequent resolutions: UN Security Council resolution 2178 (2014) concerning the issue of foreign terrorist fighters, resolution 2199 (2015) concerning the financing of terrorism (directed namely against the ISIL and Al-Nusrah Front), and resolution 2253 (2015) concerning sanctions against Al-Qaida and the ISIL. Last but not least, the Czech Republic promotes the active approach of the European Union to the fight against terrorism, in terms of security within the Union as well as in terms of the Union’s global role and cooperation with partners, including the EU anti-terrorism dialogues with a number of third countries (including Turkey) focused on specific and practical results.

The Czech Republic continues to reinforce its domestic terrorism prevention policies and takes a serious approach to the prevention of radicalization, despite the fact that to date, this phenomenon has only rarely appeared in the country. 

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