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Flag-flying Turkish Cypriot couple promised a meeting with Anastasiades

The Turkish Cypriot flag couple protesting their prosecution

By Evie Andreou

A TURKISH Cypriot couple who are being prosecuted in the north for flying the flag of the Cyprus Republic have been promised a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades.

The couple, Koray Basdogrultmaci and Cinel Senem Husseyin, appeared recently on the CyBC show Mazi sto RIK with Elita Michaelidou and received wide support from viewers.

They said that through a campaign organised by their friend Tina Adamidou, a petition was sent to Anastasiades, several EU institutions, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, and Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu asking for a dismissal of the charges, but that they received no answer from anyone.

“Right after we appeared on the show, we received a call from government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides on behalf of Nicos Anastasiades, pledging his full support and said that he is also to make arrangements to meet with Anastasiades,” Husseyin told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

Their legal problems began in June 2013, when the couple were arrested after hanging three RoC flags outside their auto body repair shop in Famagusta. They were arrested after complaints from other shopkeepers.

The couple, who have two small children were jailed even though they had tried to explain to the Turkish Cypriot police that Basdogrultmaci, who was arrested four years ago for the same reason, had been acquitted by the court. They were asked to show remorse and be fined but refused.

The trial was postponed for the 16th time on Monday, and a new hearing was set for May 13. Since they were arrested, the trial has been postponed, under various pretexts. The last one was adjourned because a policeman who was a prosecution witness did not appear in court, Husseyin said.

The couple had said initially hanging the flag was their way of protesting the then Turkish prime minister’s hypocrisy. Tayyip Erdogan had, the previous day attended the opening ceremony of the Mediterranean Games in Mersin, in Turkey where the Cypriot flag had flown unimpeded.

The Turkish Cypriot couple protested that the Cypriot flag could wave in Turkey but not in northern Cyprus.

“We do not recognise the breakaway regime in the north and we don’t recognise its flag; the only flag we recognise is that of the Republic of Cyprus… and this flag intimidates those coming from Turkey,” Basdogrultmaci said on the TV show.

He added that this was the reason why they were going through what they are going through.
Immediately after Monday’s adjournment, the couple and their friends flew the Republic’s flags outside the court house in Famagusta.

“We flew the flag outside our shop and we got arrested, but why didn’t they arrest us when we did the same outside the court house?” Husseyin told the Mail.

Following Christodoulides’ call, the couple’s friends are making a plea for as many people as possible to sign the petition for Basdogrultmaci and Husseyin to present it when they visit Anastasiades.

The petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/european-court-of-human-rights-dismiss-the-charges-of-public-disorder-for-koray-basdogrultmaci-and-cinel-senem-husseyin-for-flying-3-republic-of-cyprus-flags-outside-their-shop-in-famagusta-cyprus

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