4th September, 2023

Kenan Ayaz: The struggle of an occupied people on trial – CNA

Kurdish politician Kenan Ayaz sent a message to the Cypriot people expressing his thanks for their support and solidarity.

According to a statement from the Cyprus-Kurdish Solidarity Association, Kenan Ayaz expressed his respect “to the honourable Cypriot people, friends, political parties, non-governmental organisations, MPs, youth organisations who sent messages of solidarity and support, as well as to the group of fans who gave a message of solidarity with the banner they hung at the football match”.

He said that on 15 March he was taken into custody after being arrested at Larnaca airport at the request of the German state when he was on his way to visit his family in Sweden.

Recalling his life, from his capture by the Turkish state at a young age, torture and imprisonment, he says that in 2010 he came to Cyprus and applied for political and state asylum. His stay was accepted and since the date of his application he has been living officially in Cyprus.

What is on trial here, he says, is the struggle of an oppressed and occupied people and the struggle of peoples to live freely together.

“The struggle for a just cause cannot be described as ‘terrorism’ or an ‘act of terrorism’. The people of Cyprus know best that this is not so. Because the people of Cyprus know all too well the authoritarian and slaughtering approaches of the fascist Turkish state.”

He expresses the hope that the Cypriot justice system will make a decision “taking into account all these realities” because, he says, his extradition to Germany would in fact mean “surrendering to the fascist Turkish state”, and expresses confidence that the people of Cyprus will support the struggle for freedom.

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: