23rd December, 2023

Day 10 – Hamburg PKK trial continues – “Kenanwatch” now also in German

The trial against Kenan Ayaz has continued at the Hamburg Higher Regional Court. A short rally was held in front of the court building in the morning. Members of the Human Rights Observatory for the trial of Kenan Ayas from Cyprus expressed their solidarity.

The trial against the Kurd Kenan Ayaz (official name: Ayas) continued on Thursday at the Higher Regional Court (OLG) in Hamburg. The activist and politician, who was extradited from Cyprus to Germany in June, has been charged with membership of a foreign terrorist organization under sections 129a/b of the German Criminal Code (StGB). He is accused of organizing demonstrations and rallies in Germany on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Police officer Guido S., who is in charge of investigations into the PKK at the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), was questioned again at today’s hearing. S. is the highest ranking police officer in charge of PKK proceedings in Germany. Once again, it emerged that the BKA has no new substantive findings in the Ayaz case.
“It seems as if the Federal Public Prosecutor General’s Office (GBA) asked the BKA during the NATO summit which arrest warrants were still possible in order to offer Erdoğan something and they then took the Ayaz case out of the drawer, although they actually have nothing against him,” commented one observer on the proceedings against Ayaz.
The European arrest warrant against Ayaz was only applied for in May 2022, two years after the last relevant findings about him – shortly before the NATO summit, which was to discuss the admission of Sweden and Finland to the military alliance. As is well known, Turkey had made its consent to the accession of these countries dependent on the persecution and extradition of alleged PKK members.
Another topic was so-called “attacks” by the PKK, which are apparently listed in a chronicle by the BKA on behalf of the GBA. According to witness S., this was based solely on information from the website “Hêzên Parastina Gel” – the Kurdish name of the guerrilla organization People’s Defence Forces (HPG). However, “battles on both sides” were not included in the chronicle, only “active actions” by the HPG. The responsible interpreter would then check which events would be included in the chronicle.
Regarding the scenes of the alleged PKK attacks, S. stated that they were “mainly in northern Iraq”. The court would have to decide whether the chronicle should nevertheless be continued. Furthermore, it was not clear to the BKA where the respective areas were located, whether in Turkey or in northern Iraq. Previously, attacks in Iraq had not been included in the chronicle.
Trial to continue on January 10
The trial against Kenan Ayaz will continue on 10 January 2024 at 9:30 a.m. with a further hearing of Turkey expert Dr. Seufert. An event with representatives of the Cypriot parliament and the European Parliament is planned for the same evening. The location is yet to be announced. Meanwhile, the Cyprus Observatory, which is monitoring the Hamburg trial, has announced that the Kenanwatch website is now also available in German: https://kenanwatch.org/de/category/die-gerichtsverfahren

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