4th September, 2023

Was Kenan Ayas some kind of “MOE”?(Μέτρο Οικοδόμησης Εμπιστοσύνης = Measure for building trust) by Christos Petrou, “Simerineri” newspaper

What a coincidence! In the days when Theodoros Pangalos was leaving the mundane world and the reflexive public assessment – unfortunately often in a disrespectful way for the dead – of his political work was bringing the Ocalan case back to the forefront, we here in Cyprus were packing up Kenan Ayas to hand him over to the Germans.

The case of Kenan Agias, which ended last Friday in the most embarrassing way for our state, leaves – apart from our shattered dignity – big questions hanging. Questions of a political nature. What game was played on Kenan’s back?

Because let us not be fooled, and let us not eat the fodder that the government is trying to serve us about the supposed case of the independent judiciary… The Kenan Ayas extradition was fundamentally political and this is borne out by a number of facts:

  1. The abolition of the decision on civil protection, which was granted to Ayias since 2011, was not decided by the court, or more precisely, it does not simply concern the court that examined his extradition, but all the state institutions that form the framework of the civil protection of persecuted refugees and which whistled indifferently in the case of Ayias…
  2. The experience of other cases of people for whom there are international warrants but we “find” ways to protect them – “escaping” them even to the occupied territories (!) -, while in Agias we did the ducks, shows something.
  3. The contradictory harrumphs of the officials concerned, who, while saying that “the case is purely a matter for the judiciary, which is independent and we cannot interfere with its work”, but who try behind the scenes or by implication to say that Ayas is charged with criminal offences -an assertion that is completely false on the basis of the case file- and that is why they extradite him. In other words, they are saying that Agias will be extradited to Germany not on the basis of the file before the ‘independent judiciary’, but because, according to information that has come through political channels from Germany, he is charged with various criminal offences – such as, for example, ‘money laundering’ – and therefore ‘he must be extradited, despite what some people think’. Simply put, they imply or say “off the record” that a decision was made on the basis of information, which information is irrelevant to the information that the judiciary relied on to decide to execute the warrant!!! Which, as a matter of fact, does make sense, since Ayas in the case file, does not appear to have any criminal acts against him!
  4. The assurances from the Presidential Office before President Christodoulides’ trip to Germany that the President would raise the issue of Kenan Agia with the German Chancellor indicate that the political leadership did not consider the issue to be a purely judicial matter. Of course, it has not been possible to learn more on this aspect, because after the trip to Germany the President’s office has maintained radio silence, despite journalists’ attempts to find out whether President Christodoulides finally spoke about the issue of Ayas and the Kurds to Olaf Scholz…

 

As a result of the above, therefore, only the naive would believe that the political leadership took a pontiopolitan stance, doing the Turks’ bidding and sending the message to thousands of persecuted Kurds that our country is no longer safe for them, because the extradition of Kenan Ayas “was a judicial affair”…

The crucial question

The crucial question is whether the Republic of Cyprus has taken the political decision to sacrifice Kurdish fighters, political refugees in the form of an informal “MoU”, i.e. winking at the Turks and the Germans and sending the message of the greatest willingness to come to an understanding on the Cyprus problem, energy and elsewhere.

Is it a coincidence that the President’s statements about Merkel, who can be the EU’s mediator on the Cyprus problem since “she can talk directly to the Turkish President”?

Is it a coincidence that the President congratulated Erdogan on his re-election and expressed “hope that there will be developments soon”?

Is it a coincidence that another Kurdish fighter, who, on the basis of the documents he has presented to the courts, should long ago have been placed in political asylum, has been harassed and humiliated for months?

Perhaps, all this is a coincidence and our morbid imagination is correlating them to arrive at the “arbitrary” conclusion that games are being played against the Kurds in order to cajole Erdogan into agreeing to go to talks “from where we left off in Crans-Montana”…

But if they are coincidences and have nothing to do with reality, then the political leadership is and will be historically burdened by the Kenan Ayas case for its unfathomable inadequacy and inability to protect first our dignity as a state occupied by the Turks and, secondly and most importantly, to protect the thousands of Kurdish fighters who are looking for a corner of the Earth where the fascist state of Turkey cannot kidnap them.

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