Papers Condemn Attacks Against Press Freedom

Two men were arrested during the attack against the offices of ‘Afrika’ newspaper. The police filed charges against them and then released them. Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Yeni Duzen’ reports.

According to the paper, three members of the National Unity Party (UBP) (Hamza Ersan Saner, Faiz Sucuoglu and Ahmet Sennaroglu) were embracing the attackers after the attack. It is reported that the two men accused of “causing malicious damage” against Afrika and of climbing onto the roof of the parliament building, were Ahmet Turkmen and Umit Tas, but the police did not confirm this information. It is alleged that Turkmen is head of the Communal Liberation Party’s (TKP) in a neighborhood in Famagusta and that Tas is employed as “temporary personnel” in Famagusta’s municipality.

North Cyprus News - Attack against AfrikaAfter the two arrested persons were released, the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) youth organisation in North Cyprus thanked the Turkish ambassador to North Nicosia, Derya Kanbay and AKP’s representative in the TRNC Mehmet Demirci for their help.

The release of Turkmen and Tas was announced by their friends through the social media. They also published photos of the two in front of the police director’s office in North Nicosia. Turkmen and Tas were also photographed with members of AKP’s youth organisation.

Moreover, Mehmet Ipek, chairman of the so-called brotherhood, solidarity and culture association of the settlers from Alexandretta (Hatay) area, was also among those who were throwing stones at the building where Afrika newspaper has its office. On the same day, Ipek participated in a reception held right after the incidents in front of Afrika at the assembly and was photographed together with Ersin Tatar and Olgun Amcaoiglou, both deputies with the UBP. In the past, the same person had appeared in photographs together with UBP leader Ozgurgun and the Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim.

North Cyprus News - Afrika DemoUnder the headline “The duty is completed President”, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper reports that after President Erdogan’s order that “what is necessary must be done” to react against Afrika’s article regarding the Turkish invasion in Afrin. The AKP’s youth organisation, having the support of some civilian organisations and municipalities, threw stones at the building where Afrika has its office, broke its windows and removed the paper’s sign from its place. The demonstration was turned into a lynching operation with slogans such as “Allah is most great”,”Recep Tayyip Erdogan” and “Sener exhausted our patience”, notes the paper. Adding that when police officers tried to prevent the members of AKP’s youth organisation from causing damage to the newspaper’s offices, they were told that “our orders came from a high place, the orders you were given are not valid“.

AKP’s youth organisation in the TRNC shared a picture from the protest against Afrika via social media, and sent a message to Erdogan by writing the following: “We have given the necessary reply to the traitors of the country. The duty is completed President. Afrika’s signboard, which in no way represents the view of the TRNC’s people, was brought down. We will be against any kind of traitors of the country who try to harm the bond between the motherland and the daughter land“.

Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper’s columnist Ali Osman reports, inter alia, the following in his column yesterday:

“After the demonstrations against our newspaper and the parliament on Monday, I am following social media. Those who have broken the windows of our newspaper and the signboards in front of the building were arrested by the police. What happened next? AKP’s Cyprus Youth Organisation kept a watch in front of the police headquarters until they were released! After they were released, a statement was made on the social media again.

The paper goes on to write:
“We can openly and clearly see that the embassy of Turkey is behind the actions held against our newspaper and the parliament. This was not actually a secret. During the attack held against our newspaper, persons from the embassy of Turkey were watching the incidents with great satisfaction. Anyhow, they were implementing the President’s instruction. What they shared did not end here. A group, among which lawyers were also participating, declared as ‘Ulubatli Hasan’ those who had carried out the attack against Afrika upon the [Turkish] President’s instruction and especially those who raised a flag on the parliaments’ roof. I think that there is no one who does not know Ulubatli Hasan. He is the person, who they allege planted the Ottoman flag on Istanbul’s towers. […] This is the situation we have come to […]”

Yeni Duzen, Ortam, Afrika

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