Rally and concert for the release of Kenan Ayaz

In front of the Holstenglacis detention centre in Hamburg, activists demanded the release of Kenan Ayaz who was extradited from Cyprus to Germany.

A rally for the release of Kenan Ayaz took place in front of the Hamburg remand prison on Saturday, promoted by the #FreeKenan committee and Rote Hilfe, among others. Kenan Ayaz was arrested in mid-March at Larnaka airport in Cyprus on the basis of a German extradition request, when he wanted to travel to Sweden to visit his family.

The federal law enforcement authorities accuse Ayaz of membership in what they consider to be a "terrorist organisation abroad" - meaning the PKK. After his expulsion from Cyprus, Kenan Ayaz has been in pre-trial detention since the beginning of June under more stringent prison conditions in the Hamburg-Holstenglacis prison.

On behalf of the #FreeKenan solidarity committee, a spokesperson welcomed the rally participants, Kenan Ayaz and all prisoners of the Holstenglacis Detention Centre. "It is obvious that the means of the European arrest warrant is being instrumentalised to enforce repression in other countries according to German laws. The extradition of Kenan Ayaz to the Federal Republic is a clear example. In countries like Cyprus or even Belgium, there is no ban on the PKK," she explained.

She went on to say that it was not the Kurdish liberation struggle that was terrorist, but the Turkish state. She said that the PKK has been fighting side by side with the International Coalition against ISIS, and that a high-ranking commander, the coordinator between the anti-ISIS coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Ferhad Dêrik, was assassinated by a Turkish drone only recently.

The Azadî legal aid association for Kurds in Germany condemned the PKK ban and explained that paragraphs 129 a and b were intended to unsettle and depoliticise the Kurdish community so that no resistance would arise here against the murderous policies of Turkish President Erdogan.

Azadî also condemned the current war in the Middle East, stating: "Repression is no substitute for a political concept for a Middle East in which Palestinians and Jews, Kurds and Turks live together in peace. The concept of democratic confederalism developed for this purpose by the Kurdish liberation movement, on the other hand, is being fought tooth and nail by the German government. In order to break out of the senseless, state-oriented spiral of violence, a new political start is needed here too. A good start would be to lift the ban on the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been in place for 30 years. We demand an end to the German state's chumminess with the fascist Erdogan regime."

In its speech, Rote Hilfe pointed out that the German government was making itself a stooge of the Erdoğan regime by providing not only political but also military support. The Cypriot lawyer Efstathios C. Efstathiou also spoke in a message and stated that Cypriot society was furious about the extradition of Kenan Ayaz to Germany, and even after five months this anger had not subsided. Cyprus could not stay out of the fight for justice, Efstathiou said, and sent "a militant greeting to all those who are fighting for justice for Kenan Ayaz".

Following the speeches, Kurdish artist Umut Botan performed revolutionary Kurdish music. He saluted Kenan Ayaz and condemned the drone attacks on Rojava. Kurdish youth danced to music and after the rally went to the park behind the prison to greet the prisoners with slogans.

At the end of the rally, the committee called on the participants to observe the trial of Kenan Ayaz and to take part in the rally to mark the start of the trial on 3 November at 8.30 am in front of the Hamburg Higher Regional Court and in a demonstration against the repression of the Kurdish movement, anti-fascists and climate activists on 4 November at 1 pm at Hansaplatz.