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Cyprus

Kurd wanted in Germany tells court not involved with PKK

Kurdish citizens demonstrating outside court during a previous hearing

The Kurdish detainee Cerkez Korkmaz, 60, who is wanted in Germany on terrorism-related charges told the Larnaca district court on Tuesday that Turkey is behind the extradition request for his alleged involvement with the PKK, which he categorically denied.

Korkmaz told the court that while he is a supporter of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and showed his support in the German cities of Kiel and Ulm where Kurdish cultural organisations were active, he denied involvement with the party.

“It would be my honour to be a part of the PKK but I did not have the necessary qualities,” Korkmaz said, adding that “nevertheless the PKK is only active in Turkey and not in Europe.”

Korkmaz told the court that he has already spent 10.5 years in a Turkish prison, and the current extradition request from Germany is nothing other than Turkey’s attempt to imprison him once again.
Korkmaz, who was arrested on March 22 was transported back to the Nicosia central prisons, until the continuation of his extradition hearing on April 24.

Korkmaz, who has been living in Cyprus for a number of years after being recognised as a political refugee and who possessed Cypriot travel documents, was arrested at Larnaca airport from where he was to travel to Athens, after it emerged during passport control that the German authorities had issued a European arrest warrant and extradition against him on March 19.

He was wanted in connection with terrorism offences allegedly committed between 2013 and 2015 in Germany, reportedly concerning links to the PKK.

Korkmaz reportedly stayed in Germany between 2013 and 2014 and last visited the country in 2015.

His arrest caused a reaction in the Kurdish community living in Cyprus.

An online petition that has been launched, addressed to the justice minister, calling for Korkmaz’s release, arguing that other European countries ignore such requests on Kurdish fighters.

According to the authors of the petition, Germany issued the arrest warrant against Korkmaz on the request of Turkey since the latter is unable to arrest Kurdish fighters “and is asking Germany to do its dirty work”.

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