A Turkish national of Kurdish extraction and alleged member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), wanted by Turkey on an international arrest warrant, has been released by Cypriot authorities days after being arrested at Larnaca airport.
Mehmet Tanboga, 60, arrived last Sunday on a flight from Athens. During passport control authorities determined his name was included on the Interpol stop list, and he was immediately placed under arrest.
Tamboga is wanted by the Turkish government for armed assault and arson, said to have been committed between 1998 and April 25, 1999 in the Turkish town of Diyarbakir.
He and two other members of the PKK are alleged to have carried out the attack against a vehicle belonging to a company by the name of Tokbetsan.
The man said he came to Cyprus to visit his friend, the Kurdish poet Enver Zeren, who claims to be a victim of Turkish oppression against the Kurdish people.
Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, Tamboga’s Cypriot lawyer said his client never committed the crimes he is accused of, as during the period in question he was not in Turkey, but in Greece where he had fled seeking political asylum.
According to the lawyer, Cypriot authorities complied with the international arrest warrant and duly detained Tamboga. The following day the man appeared before Larnaca district court, which ordered that he be held further for the purposes of his possible extradition to Turkey.
Tamboga was then taken to the central prisons.
Cypriot authorities next notified, via Interpol, their Turkish counterparts that if they wanted the man extradited they should submit a written request within 24 hours.
The Turkish government, which does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, did not file the extradition request.
As such, the lawyer said, Tamboga was released from prison on Wednesday.