2nd November, 2023

Spontaneous gathering for Kenan Ayas in Nicosia, Phileleftherios

A spontaneous rally in solidarity with Kurdish fighter Kenan Ayas took place in Nicosia tonight. Kurds and Cypriots gathered at the German embassy near the Presidential Palace, on the occasion of the start of the court proceedings tomorrow (3/11) at the Hamburg High Regional Court.
By hanging symbolic banners and slogans such as “Kenan Ayas one of us” and “Freedom to Kenan” they sent the message that Cyprus is following the proceedings and that the case of the Kurdish political refugee is not over with his extradition last June.

It is worth noting that Kenan Ayas’s is part of a more general persecution of Kurdish fighters in Germany on charges of membership of a terrorist organisation. Apart from his defence lawyer, Efstathios Efstathiou, the trial will be attended by AKEL MP and press spokesman George Koukumas.
The mobilisation is part of a general framework of actions, with the observatory for Kenan Ayas’ trial, Kenan Watch (kenanwatch.org), at its core.

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: