A Kurdish man facing extradition to Germany on terrorism charges used his time in a Larnaca court to spell out his grievances against Turkey.
Cerkez Korkmaz, who is facing prosecution in Germany on terrorism-related charges, appeared in court on Wednesday to answer to his charges. He was arrested in Cyprus on March 21 at Larnaca International Airport as he was attempting to board an international flight.
Cypriot authorities are seeking the extradition of the 60-year-old suspect based on an international arrest warrant issued by German authorities in connection with crimes committed in that country between 2013 and 2015.
While the German warrant for extradition was issued for alleged terrorism-related offences committed in Germany, supporters of Korkmaz fear he would end up in a Turkish prison
Reports said the warrant described the suspect as a member of PKK, a leftist group formed in the late 1970’s and subsequently placed on the terrorist list almost two decades ago.
But on Wednesday, the defendant did not mount his defence to argue against his extradition, according to Philenews.
“For about an hour, Cerkez Korkmaz made people in the Larnaca courtroom shiver with his storytelling about a lifetime of serving his people through a political struggle,” the media outlet wrote.
Korkmaz has lived in Turkey, Greece, and Germany, while he has been residing in the Republic of Cyprus in recent years where he sought political asylum.
The defendant spoke of Kurdistan, describing it as “a country split up by the world’s powerful, depriving the rights of the local people to live free.”
While the German warrant for extradition was issued for alleged terrorism-related offences committed in Germany, supporters of Korkmaz say if the extradition goes forward, the defendant would end up once again in a Turkish prison.
The extradition hearing was set to continue on April 24. Authorities in the Republic of Cyprus have up to 60 days for the court to rule on the German extradition request, which is estimated to be in late May.