News Local Afrika exoneration important for Turkish Cypriots and democracy, its lawyer tells CNA

Afrika exoneration important for Turkish Cypriots and democracy, its lawyer tells CNA

A decision to acquit Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Afrika, Sener Levent and Ali Osman Tabak is important for the entire Turkish Cypriot community, the daily’s lawyer Tacan Reynar has told CNA.

A few days after the case was concluded before a Turkish occupied Nicosia “district court” Reynar explains its significance to the Cyprus News Agency.

Reynar had presided as a “senior judge” over a case against six individuals who took part in the attacks against the daily’s premises in January 2018 and had handed over sentences between 2 to 6 months incarceration. However, when those individuals were released earlier by a “parole board” he resigned.

He volunteered to represent Afrika together with Mine Atli because as he puts it “Democracy is very important.”

Afrika, Levent and Osman were acquitted by a “Nicosia district court” on Thursday May 16. They were facing up to five years in prison on charges of insulting and defaming Erdogan. They were on trial for “insulting a foreign leader” after the newspaper published a cartoon showing a Greek statue urinating on Erdogan’s head in December 2017.

Reynar explains that the suits were filed after the attacks of January 22, 2018 which were a result of Afrika being targeted by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan himself and he also recalled a statement by then Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag that they would do their utmost to punish those to blame.

All three cases against Afrika, he notes, were political.

“The pressure against freedom of the Press and expression is the beginning of a pressure certain people wish to exert on Turkish
Cypriots,” he says.

He continues noting that there has been a number of developments for some years now on that front, but that it is the first time such a clear attack takes place. On January 22, they attacked Afrika premises with stones and a legal attack was launched against the newspaper.

It was the first time, Reynar says, that a case was filed over a collage. In reality, he says, “it was a case against a caricature that Sener Levent found on the internet, as he told the ‘court’, from a Greek friend of his on Facebook and he published it on the newspaper.”

Even if they had not taken it from the internet, he stresses, had they drawn it and published it, that would still fall under freedom of expression.

Day by day, the lawyer says, Ankara’s policies are imposed. The pressure increases and it is not just economic but are now touching on the freedoms.

“This is very dangerous. There is now an intervention on our identity, on the meaning of Democracy, they are intervening on who we are. That is why I believe that the time has come to wonder who we are and that is why I decided to take part in this struggle. I considered it my duty. I could have stayed out of it, especially after I resigned. But this is a social obligation which I undertook with great zest,” he notes.

Asked whether he believes the Turkish Cypriot community is in danger, Reynar replies: “in great danger.”

He believes that everything which happened was aiming to curb the freedom of expression and the freedom of press.

It may seem simple and this decision’s significance may not be perceived but when the area of freedoms is under threat, as is the case right now in the north of Cyprus, then this decision is of great importance.

(Cyprus News Agency)

Read more:

Top Stories

Vienna State Opera’s full programme of June streaming performances

Vienna State Opera has published its programme of online streaming performances for June 2020. June 1 – Die Frau Ohne Schatten Performance of October 18, 2019 starring...

Three test positive for Covid-19, total now 952

  Three people have tested positive for coronavirus after 1473 tests bringing the total to 952, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday. One is a pupil...

Can you catch COVID-19 from delivered packages?

An outbreak of COVID-19 at a logistics centre run by one of South Korea's largest online shopping companies has raised concerns over whether the...

Limassol: Post-mortem inconclusive on cause of death of unknown man

  A post-mortem carried out on a body found in an advanced stage of decomposition in Limassol last week has failed to shed light on...

Greens: ‘Criminal pruning’ in the heart of Nicosia (photos)

The Green Party issued an announcement on Tuesday condemning what it called another "criminal pruning" of trees on Pindarou Street in Nicosia Municipality. "It is...


Poulles (Υoung kolokassi)

Either you thrash the coriander seeds in a mortar, without making them into dust, or you gradually crush them in a blender. Remove the edges...

Pork cooked in wine

Crush the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar or pulse-blend in a blender, taking care not to over-grind. Put the meat in bowl (not...

Lefkaritikos tavas – O ‘protinos’

Wash and dry the meat and rice separately. In a ‘tava’ (oven proof deep clay pot) first put a layer of five-six pieces of meat...

Local cuisine: An introduction

Rich in fresh ingredients and tasty herbs, offers the very best of Mediterranean culinary delights. Head out to a tavern and feast on a...