CYPRUS: Journalists in Northern Cyprus must be protected from Turkey’s inclemency towards free speech

CYPRUS, CYPRUS, 23/01/2018

Vienna, 23 January 2018 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) was deeply concerned to learn that the offices of Northern Cypriot daily Afrika were broken into by a mob in the morning hours of 22 January. 

Stones and eggs were thrown at the daily’s headquarters, breaking the windows, and those inside were barricaded in to prevent demonstrators from entering the newspaper by force. Some 200-300 people gathered in front of the daily carrying Turkish flags, after an article titled “Peace Operation to Cyprus, Olive Branch Operation to Syria” was published. In this article, the newspaper Afrika called Turkey’s current offensive against Kurdish-held Syrian enclave Afrin “another Turkish occupation” and compared it to Northern Cyprus. On 21 January, one day after it was published, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) criticized it, calling the article “immoral and shameless” and “asking his brothers in north Cyprus to respond” to the daily. 

Following the riot police dispersing the crowd, the demonstrators reassembled at the Turkish Cypriot parliament, where several individuals managed to climb onto the building to wave Turkish and Turkish nationalist flags. 

“SEEMO is greatly concerned for the safety of journalist working for Afrika daily in Northern Cyprus” Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General said today.

 SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.

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