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Czech News in English » News » Czechs arrested in Turkey sent home Syrian war souvenirs

Czechs arrested in Turkey sent home Syrian war souvenirs

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Prague, Nov 23 (CTK) – Two Czechs, Marketa Vselichova and Miroslav Farkas, who were arrested in Turkey and accused of terrorism two weeks ago, previously sent home souvenirs from the Syrian war that they mainly gained from the Kurds fighting IS there, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes yesterday.
The couple sent a 20-kg parcel, including military uniforms, boots and scarves and other personal items, to their friend Janusz Konieczny, living in north Moravia, from Jordan since they feared to take it across the border.
“They have allegedly got most of the things from Kurds in the villages liberated from Islamic State (in Syria),” Konieczny told LN.
He said his friends had planned to display the items at an exhibition the proceeds of which would go to the construction of a field hospital in Syria.
Vselichova and her boy-friend Farkas, who left for Syria to help Kurds from the The People’s Protection Units (YPG), were to pick up the consignment after their return, but they were detained at the border between northern Iran and Turkey by Turkish police.
They were accused of being involved in the YPG Kurdish militia, which Turkey lists among terrorists, though the YPG is fighting the world’s largest terrorist organisation, Islamic State, and is supported by Western allies, including the United States, in this effort, MfD says.
Now, Farkas and Vselichova face long prison sentences if found guilty of terrorism.
Their friend Konieczny is considering helping his friends somehow. However, their fate primarily depends on the skills of Czech diplomacy, MfD adds.
Security experts have criticised the careless behaviour of Vselichova and Farkas in the dangerous region.
“They did their utmost to get into trouble. It was extremely unwise to think that they can illegally cross the closely watched border,” former civilian intelligence service chief Karel Randak told MfD.
Their situation is the worst out of all Czechs who have been detained abroad since the fall of communism in 1989, he added.
“Now it is up to the absolute arbitrariness of Turkey that has probably no reason for accommodating the small Czech Republic too much,” Randak said.
Journalist Marketa Kutilova, who has long been monitoring the war zones in Syria, said she cannot estimate the couple’s chance. They might spend several years in a Turkish prison or be released in a few days, she told MfD.

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