The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Christodoulides will send a new letter to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, after a second lawsuit filed in a Turkish court – this time – by the Turkish Foreign Ministry against a Turkish Cypriot journalist and the targeting of Turkish Cypriot journalists, who are critical of the Turkish Cypriot leader.
Minister Chrostodoulides sent a letter to the High Representative of the EU on January 4, 2021, regarding the lawsuits against the director and columnist of “Avrupa” newspaper, Şener Levent. CNA has learned that Christodoulides intends to send a second letter to the EU, after a new lawsuit against journalist and columnist Ayşemden Akın but also following the targeting of and provocations against Turkish Cypriot journalists on social media because of their critical comments regarding the Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar.
In his letter to Borell, Christodoulides refers extensively to the lawsuits against journalists in Turkey and the announcement by the OSCE Office for Freedom of the Press regarding the judicial action against director and columnist Şener Levent.
“The insistence of the Turkish authorities to press criminal charges against Mr Levent is yet another proof of Mr Erdogan’s policy to consolidate Turkey’s authoritarian policies in the occupied part of Cyprus, including restrictions on the freedom of expression and the freedom of the media. It is also a clear demonstration of Turkey’s policy of entrenching its military, political, economic and cultural control of the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot community”.
Christodoulides stressed to Borell that Cyprus government unequivocally condemns the Turkish methods and intimidation tactics “obviously aiming at silencing any criticism of the Turkish President and any voice opposing the policy of further promoting the illegal secessionist entity in the occupied part of Republic of Cyprus”. He noted that the director of former “Africa” – now “Avrupa” newspaper, Şener Levent has been under significant pressure for an extensive period of time.
FM Christodoulides called on EU High Representative Borrell to exert all influence on Turkey “and take swift action with a view to halt the methods of intimidation against journalists and to drop the charges against Şener Levent, a prominent EU citizen”.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.