4th September, 2023

Kenan Ayaz’s extradition stigmatises Cyprus…, Dialogos

Cyprus is stigmatised with a shame similar to that of Greece’s handing over of Ocalan to Turkey, AKEL stresses in a statement, commenting on the court decision in relation to the extradition of Kurdish militant Kenan Ayaz.

The Cypriot government, AKEL adds, “must not hide behind justice, because it will not be saved from the crisis of history. The decision to execute the warrant was political, as was the decision to adopt the Turkish argumentation about who is a terrorist. The government is also responsible for the conditions of Kenan Ayaz’s detention, since after he went on a hunger strike, he was punished with a ban on communication, in effect isolation. It is also responsible for today’s arrests of three other Kurds who were on hunger strike outside the Supreme Court.

It is clear, AKEL points out, that behind the warrants issued by Germany for thousands of Kurds across Europe are the demands of the Turkish state. But Turkey is pressing the fact that the EU and NATO have included the PKK – the Kurdish Workers’ Party – in their lists of so-called terrorist organisations. It is worth remembering that Mandela was also considered a terrorist when he was fighting racist apartheid. Palestinians fighting against the occupation by the State of Israel are also considered terrorists. Therefore, AKEL concludes, the Supreme Court’s decision causes us concern and fear for the fate of other Kurds living in Cyprus, who are developing political activity and fighting for their rights and freedoms.

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: