BRTK Director Was ‘Sacrificial Lamb’ to Politics

North Cyprus News - Meryem Ozkurt
[Meryem Özkurt – BRTK]
Friday, 10 June 2022

Cyprus Turkish Journalists Association President Reşat Akar commented about BRTK Director Meryem Özkurt’s sentence to two months imprisonment, after she was found guilty of breaking elections bans in October 2020. Akar said, “Such incidents are the result of bad politics.”, Kibris Postasi reported.

While talking about the protection of freedom of speech and democracy in North Cyprus, Akar drew attention to “political pressures especially in state institutions“, including BRTK, and included the following in his statement:

When it comes to personal and party interests, especially public employees are made to do work knowing that it is illegal. Most of the time, since these illegalities are not brought to the judiciary, the perpetrator gets away with it. But this time, the judiciary, taking into account the warning of the Supreme Election Board, sentenced BRTK director Meryem Özkurt to prison.

“Undoubtedly, we hear this with great sadness. However, both in this event and in many similar issues, there are always oppressive practices of bad politics. And we must be able to see that as long as this understanding does not change, we will continue to experience sad events”.

North Cyprus News - Ibrahim Kanat - Bay-Sen
[Ibrahim Kanat – President of Bay-Sen]
In a separate report, BRT wrote that the President of Bayrak Radio and Television Corporation Employees’ Union (BAY-SEN) İbrahim Kanat said, “Our Agency Manager Meryem Özkurt is not solely responsible for the incident“.

Kanat said that although politicians knew that there were election bans,they participated in the opening ceremony [at the Gecitkoy reservoir], prepared such an event and took the lead role.

In a written statement, Kanat said:

We respect the decisions of the independent judiciary. However, it is unfortunate that the court sentenced only our director of the institution because the opening ceremony of the refilling of the Geçitköy Dam, which was held on 06 October 2020, as BAY-SEN, the Bayrak Radio and Television Corporation Employees’ Union, was broadcast live on our channel.

“While trying to announce the first flow of water from Turkey to the TRNC , which was a moment when the months-long water shortage would be eliminated for months, was announced to the citizens live on BRT screens, at a time when there are election bans on politicians, “making statements, participating in opening ceremonies, etc.” were not permitted. Although they knew that they could not make any actions or statements, they prepared such an event and took the lead role. It is not fair for the YSK [Supreme Election Committee] to accuse only the Director of the Institution, Meryem Özkurt”.

Kibris Postasi, BRTK

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