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Muslim (center) is escorted to the hearing by police. Photo: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

A Czech court has freed Saleh Muslim, the former leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), while he awaits hearings over his possible extradition to Turkey. Muslim was detained in Prague on Saturday after Turkey, which considers him a terrorist, issued an Interpol arrest warrant.

Why it matters: Turkey’s relations with its NATO allies and the E.U. have deteriorated under the increasingly authoritarian Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and this case could exacerbate that tension.

The latest
  • Turkey has accused Muslim of aggravated murder and disrupting the state – charges which he denied on Tuesday.
  • Muslim pledged to the Czech court that he would remain in the EU pending further proceedings. He told reporters that he had not decided where he would go next, but added he had permission for residency in EU member Finland.
  • There is speculation in the Czech press that Muslim could be exchanged for two Czech citizens, Marketa Vselichova and Miroslav Farkas, who were detained in Turkey over alleged cooperation with another Kurdish group, the YPG.
  • Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Turkey would follow Muslim “wherever he goes” after his release.

Worth noting: One source of tensions between the U.S. and Turkey is the refusal of Washington to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a cleric living in Pennsylvania whom Erdogan has blamed for a 2016 coup attempt.

Go deeper

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.

43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Lawmakers hide behind AG's investigation as Cuomo lingers

A billboard outside Albany, N.Y. Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is politically wounded but not yet dead, several state lawmakers tell Axios.

The state of play: Most are holding their fire and punting to state Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations. They expect the inquiry to be credible and thorough — and buy Cuomo badly needed breathing room.