4th December, 2023

Statement by George Koukoumas on Kenan Watch

George Koukumas,

MP, Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and member of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs

“FAZ’s publication of Erdogan’s statement in relation to the ongoing trial at the Hamburg District Court confirms the political nature of the prosecution of Kenan Ayaz. It confirms what Kenan Ayaz was trying to explain last March when the execution of the European arrest warrant was being considered by the Cypriot justice system.

Kenan Ayaz was in our country as a recognised political refugee precisely because he was in danger of persecution by the Turkish state and the Erdogan government. And now he has been extradited from one EU Member State and is being tried in another EU Member State, at the request – essentially – of Erdogan himself. It is shameful for European states to carry out Erdogan’s demands to suppress the Kurdish movement, when at the same time, there are countless decisions by EU institutions on the authoritarianism of the Turkish government which is nullifying democracy and the rule of law in the country.

I would like to remind that the AKEL Left New Forces Parliamentary Group has registered the case of Kenan Ayaz in Parliament as a matter of its own motion for debate, in order to hold the government of Cyprus and all the competent bodies accountable for their decisions and handling of the case.”

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: