MEMBER of the European Parliament (DIKO, S&D) Costas Mavrides was on Tuesday forced to apologise for having earlier insinuated that a CyBC correspondent was too cosy with the Turkish government.
Although not a full retraction, Mavrides said he was sorry if his remarks had caused offence to CyBC’s long-time Istanbul correspondent Anna Andreou.
“It was never my intention, nor was I implying that the reporter Anna Andreou is a mouthpiece of the Turkish state or of [Turkish president Tayyip] Erdogan. I honour the profession of journalism and I wish to apologise to all those who may have gleaned the wrong impression,” read a statement by the MEP.
The act of contrition came after the Journalists Union came out strongly in defence of the journalist, who has been reporting from Turkey for the last 12 years.
The brouhaha started when on December 24 daily Phileleftheros ran an article by the MEP. Mavrides had posted the article on his Facebook page.
In it, Mavrides took a dig at Andreou, noting that she has not been subject to any persecution from the “Erdogan regime,” whereas hundreds of reporters are being imprisoned in Turkey for their views.
The MEP also took exception to a book written by Andreou, titled “Rendezvous with the Generals.” In it, Andreou interviewed a number of senior Turkish military commanders who took part in the invasion operation of Cyprus in 1974.
Mavrides complained that Andreou, during the course of interviewing one Turkish officer, Captain Neset Ikiz, did not ask him about a “well-documented war crime” that took place in the village of Elia, Kyrenia district.
There, a senior commander – most likely Ikiz, according to Mavrides – ordered and supervised the execution of 12 Greek Cypriot civilians.
The MEP went on to say this was a strange omission on Andreou’s part, given that she claims to be well-versed in the events of 1974.
Hitting back on Facebook, Andreou wrote:
“Mr Mavrides, from our couch it is very easy to annul the work of others who do not lounge around in armchairs. Merry Christmas.”