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Cyprus

Kurds to demonstrate on Thursday

kenan ayaz
Demonstrators outside a Kenan Ayaz court hearing (Photo: Christos Theodorides)

Kurdish people and supporters in Cyprus will hold a demonstration in Nicosia on Thursday to protest against the imprisonment of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdish militant movement PKK, an announcement said on Tuesday.

The Kurdish Cultural Centre Theophilos said the protest at 5.30pm on April 4, which was Ocalan’s birthday, will also be in support of Kenan Ayaz, a Kurdish activist deported from Cyprus to Germany under claims by Turkish authorities he is a terrorist.

Ocalan has been a political prisoner in Turkey for 25 years in the high-security prison on the island of Imrali/Kalolimno in the Bosphorus.

According to the group, for ten years he was the only inhabitant of the prison.

The organisation said they are concerned about Ocalan’s fate as Turkish authorities have been barring visits to him over the last few years.

According to the group, Ocalan is the only one who can represent the Kurdish people in talks with Turkey and have a role in a political solution.

“The release of President Ocalan is therefore necessary for a political solution to the Kurdish question. Turkey must release him as a minimum indication of its intentions. He must also be provided with conditions that will enable him to work politically,” the group said.

It added that they are joining other Kurdish groups in the EU calling for the release of Ocalan.

The protest will also be a chance to demonstrate against the extradition and imprisonment of Kurdish activist Ayaz.

He faces charges related to his membership of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), deemed to be a terrorist organisation under German law.

He was imprisoned in Turkey for 11 years in 1993, before being acquitted and later indicted in Turkey in 2010, before coming to Cyprus and being granted refugee status.

He was then arrested in Cyprus following a European arrest warrant and extradited to Germany in April 2023.

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