4th September, 2023

Free him or arrest us all by Alekos Michaelides, “Phileleftheros” newspaper

For four hours he spoke before the courtroom of the Larnaca District Court. He did not tire, carrying stamina from the mountains of Kurdistan. He did not break down, he knows that his struggle is just, he knows that others are in prison, others have died, others experience the fascist axe of the Turkish regime every day. He spoke for four hours, trying to convince the president of the Larnaca District Court that his persecution is political, that the history of Kurdistan is the history of people fighting for freedom, independence, their social emancipation. That here, we had to understand better this continuous and great struggle, we had to understand, as children of EOKA, why the Turkish genocidaires call them terrorists.

He insisted and insists: Germany and Turkey have cooperated and are cooperating flawlessly, with the aim of convicting Kurds and Kurdish people, without criminal acts, suspected of political action for Kurdish freedom. Within four hours, he has provided evidence that proves the excellent relationship between the Erdogan regime, not only with the German leadership, but directly with the judicial authorities of this otherwise European country. He explained that the Kurds are victims of a Turkish-German understanding, which was confirmed in July 2022, when the heads of the German prosecution authorities visited Turkey. They saw Erdogan, the Minister of Justice, signed a memorandum and intensified the hunt for dozens of Kurds.

Among them is 48-year-old Kenan Agias, who has been held in a Cypriot prison since 15 March and is trying to find justice, not because he fears being sentenced – he has already served 13 years in the dark Turkish prisons – but because, in his person, the struggle of an enslaved people, the struggle of an occupied people who are asking for their freedom, is on trial. It was for this people that he protested at the age of 17 and was arrested, it was for this people that he fled to Europe and, whenever he had the opportunity, he spoke out, cried out and asked the international community to open its eyes to this genocide. He spoke for four hours and did not tire for a single moment, knowing full well that in these lands we had to understand immediately that the Kurdish struggle is our struggle too.

He spoke about the Cypriot anti-Cypriot struggle, about the history of Cyprus, EOKA, its fighters. He pointed out that an armed conflict, such as the one maintained by the Turkish state, cannot be dealt with by anti-terrorist laws. He stressed that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), whose leader Abdullah Ocalan is being held in the godforsaken Imrali and is banned from contact with the outside world, is part of this conflict and not a terrorist organisation. He called on us, in his four hours of testimony, to understand. And we had to understand better why a Kurdish political refugee, an intellectual of his time, a fighter, cannot stay a minute in Cypriot prisons. Not even a hint of his extradition to Germany should be left either by the Court or by the Prosecution. There cannot be a possibility that the Cypriot judiciary itself could become an accomplice in this inhuman and obscene hunt of the Turkish-German cabal; Cyprus cannot be humiliated by handing over a man for fighting for the freedom of its people. Cyprus knows best why Kenan Agias must be released immediately and continue his struggle, our common struggle against the Turkish occupation. Otherwise, we will all be arrested.

Today, the defense filed a motion on behalf of Kenan Ayas to dismiss the panel of three judges because they showed bias against Kenan Ayas.

 

The defense had no choice but to make this extraordinary request because the court showed bias against Kenan Ayas by rejecting the defense’s request. The defense had requested that the newspaper article quoting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement about Kenan Ayas’ trial be considered as evidence and read in court.

 

The well-known German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) had summarized Erdoğan’s remarks in an article published on November 19 as follows: “The visit to the German capital had ‘opened a new chapter in our deep relations,’ Erdoğan said. He expressed his delight at a criminal trial at the Hamburg Higher Regional Court against an alleged official of the Kurdish terrorist group PKK. The man was arrested in Cyprus and extradited to Germany on the initiative of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.” (See the press release of the defense from November 30, 2023).

 

The court rejected the request for the second time, arguing that Erdoğan’s statement had no relation to the case of Kenan Ayas. It was the second time that the defense had asked the court to allow this article to be part of the evidence. The defense had argued that Erdoğan’s statements showed that the extradition and trial of Kenan Ayas was in the interest of Turkey and that Kenan Ayas could be in danger after his release from prison because of the known habit of the Turkish secret service to operate outside of Turkey. In regard to both motions, the Public Prosecutor’s Office did not oppose the request but supported it by stating that there was an obvious connection between the article and the trial.

 

Despite the statement of the prosecution, the judges showed their determination not to deal with the Turkish influence on the trial. The judges have continuously tried to keep anything out of the trial that could indicate the political nature of the extradition request for Kenan Ayas and the charges against him.

 

Now another chamber of the Hamburg Higher Regional Court hast to decide on the motion to dismiss the judges. Until this decision is made, the trial will continue as scheduled.

 

 

Hamburg/Frankfurt/Nicosia, February 6, 2024

 

 

Attorney Antonia von der Behrens, Berlin

Attorney Stephan Kuhn, Frankfurt am Main

Attorney Efstathios C. Efstathiou, Nicosia, Cyprus

 

The FAZ article “Return to Turkey: Erdoğan calls Scholz the ‘other'” from November 19, 2023 can be found here:

https://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/rueckkehr-in-die-tuerkei-so-sieht-erdogan-seinen-besuch-in-berlin-19324031.html