The Kurdish intellectual fighter, Kenan Ayas, from inside the Central Prison speaks to “S”, as he prepares for the Court of Appeal that will take place in the next 25 days and will essentially decide his life. On the basis of a European warrant issued against him by Germany in agreement with Turkey, he was arrested on March 15 at Larnaca Airport. Last Wednesday, the Larnaca District Court decided to hand him over to the Germans on condition that they do not hand him over to Turkey and allow him to serve his possible sentence in Cyprus. Conditions which, in essence, have no binding form and therefore put in question the safety of the life of Mr Ayas, who, as he explains below, takes it for granted that if the Cypriot authorities hand him over, he will be in the hands of the Turks. Why does he believe that the Germans and the Turks are after him? What are his expectations from the Court of Appeal and what message is he sending to the Cypriot and Kurdish people from the prison where he is being held?
How do you experience the whole situation? Did you expect that the authorities in Cyprus will arrest you, continue to hold you in custody and that the District Court will decide on your extradition to Germany?
When I started my defence in court, I said that this is not a legal case, but a purely political case. In fact, my arrest in Cyprus was also the result of a specific and planned decision. As is known, the German state started collecting documents about me in 2018. A long period of five years has passed. During these five years I have been in almost all the countries of Europe. They could arrest me in any country he wanted, ask for my extradition and even arrest me in their own country. But they did not do that. Because they want to act according to the concept prepared by the Turkish state and the international powers who want to complete the genocide of the Kurds. They also saw the Cypriot state and the Cypriot people outside this perception. In order to include the Cypriot state and the Cypriot people in this concept, I had to be arrested in Cyprus. They put this concept into practice gradually and, in order to achieve their ultimate goal, they put into practice this specially designed scenario. I think that with the decision of the District Court they are one step closer to their goal. Of course, this idea has a historical background. Because the history of Kurdistan, the history of the occupation of Kurdistan, which has seen great occupations, the history of the unprecedented massacres of our people under the vise of genocide, the history of Cyprus and the people of Cyprus and the history of Cyprus against British colonialism, the resistance shown by the people, the great price paid and the invasion and attack experienced by the two peoples revealed the common history and the unity of the destiny of the peoples. This historical unity of our people and the Cypriot people and the common problems they face, I have tried to explain it in detail in my defence. I have tried to explain this historical unity of our people and the people of Cyprus and the common problems they face in my defence. Due to the circumstances, I do not have the opportunity to explain them in detail. However, just as the fascist, occupying and colonialist Turkish state developed a major occupation operation called “peace operation” in 1974, committing a major massacre, torture and rape of women before the eyes of the world, convincing the whole world that it was a peace operation, so does my country, accepting another ‘peace operation’, the existence of which has been the subject of debate for the last two hundred years, was divided into four parts as a result of a great occupation. The rulers, who committed great massacres and carried out the Armenian Genocide during the First World War and the Genocide of the Jews during the Second World War, are trying to make the whole world a partner, calling us “terrorists” in order to legitimize the devastation experienced by our people, who have been subjected to the greatest genocidal attacks. They use the phenomenon of ‘terrorism’ as a legal cover to legitimise their occupation and genocide, ensuring that the international powers also call the Kurds ‘terrorists’. In this respect, I did not expect the District Court to make such a decision, because we share a common history and pain with the Cypriot people. I believed that the Cypriot state would make a decision with moral and conscientious feelings towards the Kurdish people.
What are your expectations from the Court of Appeal?
At the beginning of my defence before the District Court, I said, “Today is a historic day. With its decision, the Cypriot state will either side with the colonialist, fascist Turkish state, which is a genocidal machine, or it will side with the Kurdish people, who have been living for years under the massacres and genocide committed by both the Ottoman Empire and the colonialist, fascist Turkish state.” The District Court in its decision has indeed chosen a side. But I expect the Court of Appeals to correct the District Court’s decision, because its decision will not only be a correction of the District Court’s decision. Between the Cypriot people and the Kurdish people, a great emotional rupture, damage and trauma would have been prevented. A decision must be made in the spirit of our common historical destiny. I think that when we take decisions, we should also take into account our common problems and our common suffering.
In case the Court of Appeal also decides to execute the arrest warrant, do you think you will get a fair trial from the German authorities? Do you also believe that the ‘conditions’ set by Judge Papathanasiou will apply in order to prevent you from being extradited to Turkey and serving your possible sentence in Cyprus?
First of all, I would like to point out that Germany and the fascist Turkish state have a very deep historical relationship. Their cooperation dates back to the Ottoman Empire and continues to this day. For example, on the same day that the District Court upheld my extradition warrant, there were undemocratic raids on Kurdish houses and Kurdish legal associations in Germany. Seven or eight Kurds were arrested and Kurdish institutions were targeted. In fact, even this clearly demonstrates the relationship between the two countries. The persecution of the Kurdish people by Germany is similar to the practices of the fascist Turkish state, and even more so. Again, I proved this in court with specific documents. The fascist Erdogan and the German federal prosecutor Peter Frank had a meeting between them. In their joint press release they called the hunt for the Kurds “legal cooperation”. Why does a prosecutor have to meet with the president of a country? The documents of this meeting are clear proof that the trial was carried out entirely at the request of the fascist Turkish state. This document, which I submitted to the same court, is clear proof that the German state and the fascist Turkish state have a certain diplomacy of cooperation.Therefore, I do not have the slightest faith that Germany will give me a fair trial. My lawyer from Germany expressed this in specific terms. Although we were led to believe that Germany would send me back to Cyprus after the trial. As if they were playing tricks on our minds. Because this decision (i.e., the “condition” of no surrender from Germany to Turkey and return to Cyprus) is a complete deception. The reaction of the people to the decision makes it clear and undeniable that this was a decision taken to avoid a backlash. This is a clear and undeniable fact. The reaction of the people to the decision makes it clear and undeniable that this was a decision taken to avoid reactions. This is also part of the game that is being played. The honourable Cypriot people, especially our people, are also part of this game.
Are there similar decisions in Germany?
No. I would also like to point out another danger here. And the validity of the identity card we are given is only three years, and every three years we have to apply for a change of residence. But the German government is asking for a sentence of 8 to 10 years. Imagine I spent that time there. And that’s the only way… the period will be automatically cancelled. That means that my legal relationship with the Cypriot state has ended. In this way, there would be no obstacle for them to hand me over to Turkey. I would like to point out one more thing. Notice that the Turkish media hardly ever put my case on the agenda during my trial. But for some reason, with the decision of the District Court, the Turkish mainstream media, especially all the TV and news websites that are pro-Fascist Erdogan, were mobilized at once. They started saying why don’t you hand us over. However, I want to make it clear: as is well known, there are upcoming elections in Turkey. In fact, with my extradition from here, I am being handed over to the fascist Turkish state by the hand of Germany and great efforts are being made to win the elections by the dictator Erdogan. If the Supreme Court of Cyprus approves this decision, it will be a reward for the fascist Erdogan.
According to the evidence available to us, there is nowhere a presumption that you have committed a criminal offence. Why do you believe that your arrest warrant was issued by Germany?
I am fighting for the freedom of the Kurds, the Cypriots and the peoples of the Middle East. The trials are also legal and conducted before the press. Conferences, seminars, panels and TV programs are open. I did not do anything in secret. I have no violent acts of terrorism. All my work is in accordance with European law. You cannot see violence in any of the allegations made against me by Germany. There are allegations such as meetings and propaganda. None of these can be classified as terrorism. I was subjected to the same accusations in the KCK trial in Turkey. My participation in conferences is considered a criminal offence and punishable by decades of imprisonment. Turkey is demanding my extradition from Europe because of the KCK case for which I am on trial. In fact, it seems that it was Europe but Germany that did the deed. Since the Turkish state cannot legally claim me from the Cypriot state, it wants to do so through the German state. In Germany they asked for me to be extradited from Cyprus and they will hand me over to Turkey. And so on. In this way the scenario will come to an end and the project will be completed.
What message do you want to send from prison to the Greek Cypriots and the rest of the world?
The international powers are sacrificing the Kurds for their own interests. The Kurds are a big “market”. Everyone has an “account” with the Kurds. But I do not want the precious Cypriot people to be involved in this process. At least they should not betray their own history. Because, as I said, it has a great historical cost. It should not send a people who have paid a great price, who have suffered great torture and great massacres, a people who are suffering the same cost and suffering, to the markets of the fascist, occupying and genocidal powers as a sacrifice. My greatest fear is that Cyprus is entering the game of Kurdish sacrifice. I am also sorry for having provoked it. Because I do not want to provoke this. I am defending the freedom of our own people, the people of Cyprus and the peoples living in the Middle East. I am a fighting man, I spent years in the prisons of the fascist Turkish state, I was subjected to cruel torture as a child and I tried to prevent genocidal attacks that were intended to be made on a people. I am doing academic, intellectual and theoretical studies on this subject. All these works that I have done, I try to share them with everyone through the press. I would like to state that while I make assessments on the Cyprus Court’s decision, I naturally exclude the precious Cypriot people from these assessments. Because I know very well that the people of Cyprus understand me, feel the common pain that we are experiencing and sympathise. Moreover, I know that I have been exonerated in the minds of the honourable Cypriot people and the Cypriot public. I met the people of Cyprus when I was in the fascist Turkish prisons. It was at that age that I learned the extent of the devastation experienced by the Cypriot people. In the 1980s, as you know, atrocities were committed in Diyarbakir prison. They wanted to bury in concrete a people… The fascist Turkish soldier who did this was involved in the great catastrophe in 1974. Torturing our friends, he said: “I will do the same to you as I crushed the heads of the Greek children and drank their blood.” From this point of view, not only our history and our pains are in common with the people of Cyprus, but also our murderers. Therefore, I am sure that the precious Cypriot people will not come to this game. Again, the Kurds are fighting for existence and non-existence. The Kurds want to live free and equal, like all peoples in the world. The Kurds are suffering a great genocide. I want the Kurdish people to stand strong against all these cruel and genocidal attacks. I want everyone to do what they can. On this occasion, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the honourable Cypriot people who have shown their solidarity through you.
Those who resist have the last word.