2nd September, 2023

Το Sell our soul to the devil but with… legitimacy by Aristos Michaelides

The absolute truth is that the persecution of Kenan Ayas is political. Nothing else. Politics. What was presented against him by Germany, which issued the warrant, and Turkey, which is the first persecutor, are the pretexts and expedients that give legitimacy.

The tragedy is that the Cypriot State, from the government and parliament to the judiciary and the citizens, know this absolute truth. But, they closed their eyes to pretend to be the serious state, the legitimate, the European state. But this is hypocrisy. The worst kind of theatrics. Which will now be paid for by a suffering man, who believed that he had found in Cyprus a refuge to continue his life (and his political struggle for the rights of his people) without the fear of being in the dungeons again.

Hypocrisy, because we dare not tell the truth to the Europeans. To the Germans. And we want to show that we are not violating laws and international warrants. But at last, what is the legitimacy that requires us to behave like this towards the country that occupies half of our country and threatens the rest? Yes, in this case, it is towards Turkey that we pretend to be legitimate, not towards Germany.

The simplest thing we should say, and the whole world would understand it if we said it with courage and honesty. That we cannot recognise as legitimate anything that comes from or has its home in Turkey. Because it is not a legal state. It is an Islamo-fascist, dark regime that illegally occupies our country with 40,000 soldiers and does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus. Why do we recognise Turkey as a legal state? Are we worried that it would accuse us of not respecting the laws and international conventions? The ones who do not even allow ships and planes from Cyprus to pass through their territories?

In a state where the Attorney General has the right, for reasons of public interest and without further explanation, to order suspensions of prosecution, even in private cases (the last suspension of prosecution was for the private prosecution of Michael Katsunotos by Anna Aristotelous and Athena Demetriou), and terminate any attempt at justice, it is impossible to understand those who tell us that it is not reasonable to ask for judicial intervention. That this is a criminal case, and we should let the justice system do its job.

No one has asked for intervention in the judicial process. But there should be intervention so that this case does not reach the court. For reasons of public interest. Exactly, because what we said at the beginning is true: that this is a political persecution with Turkey as the focus, and we, especially we, should separate our position, not become the state that hands over an intellectual freedom and human rights fighter as a terrorist.

As if we do not have first-hand experience of Turkish methods. As if it is not a 54-year-old Greek Cypriot who is currently being held hostage by the Turks in the occupied territories (for two months) because they wanted to arrest his brother, but they found him! As if we don’t know that Ankara considers all Kurds fighting for Kurdistan’s autonomy as terrorists. As if we agree with them!

The problem is not only the decision to extradite Kenan Ayas. It is our whole attitude towards Turkey. It considers the Republic of Cyprus to be defunct, but the Republic of Cyprus is trying to prove to it that it exists. Does it need to prove this to Turkey by behaving in a servile manner? It should do the opposite. It should denounce it at every opportunity. It should also denounce it for the persecution of the Kurds. And to protect them openly and publicly so that both Turkey and Germany know it. That we, the persecuted by the fascist regime in Turkey, support in every way those who fight against this evil regime. What good is legitimacy if we sell our souls to the devil?

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