By Tahsin Eroglu
Turkish fashion designer Barbaros Sansal is to be deported from the north after he was arrested for comments he made in a video posted on social media where he criticised certain religious circles in Turkey and the Turkish government.
According to a report in CNN Turk, Sansal will be deported from the island in the coming days. It is believed that he will be deported to Turkey where he will face criminal investigation.
Sansal, an outspoken critic of President Tayyip Erdogan, often visits both northern Cyprus and the Republic, and was in the north when he posted his New Year video.
In it he mentioned journalists arrested in Turkey, corruption within the ruling AKP, the abused children and murdered women and criticised the “bigoted” circles in Turkey which had spread “hate speech” against New Year celebrations. Sansal said that he was in northern Cyprus and was going to enter 2017, drink all he could, then go to the south of the island to enter 2017 once again, reminding listeners that the two sides on the island were on different time zones.
Much of his video was critical of fundamentalist circles in Turkey which, in the lead up to Christmas and New Year, had been spreading messages telling people that celebrating the New Year was a “Christian thing” and that those who celebrated it were infidels who sinned by consuming alcohol. Many of those taking part in the anti-New Year campaign, including the Directorate of Religious Affairs, have been ridiculed in social media for not knowing the difference between Christmas and New Year.
Press reports in the north say that Sansal was arrested on the demand of Turkey and was arrested for insulting Turkey and the Turkish nation.
According to some reports, Sansal’s message was uploaded some 30 minutes before the attack in a nightclub Istanbul on January 1 in which a gunman killed 39. This has led to allegations that he had knowledge of the terror attack.
Milliyet newspaper’s correspondent in the north Sefa Karahasan tweeted: “This despicable man who swears at Turkey is living in North Cyprus. While he needs to be thrown out of north Cyprus for drugs, he is being protected. Who is protecting him?” which is said to have triggered the arrest.
He erased this tweet after criticisms on social media, but then wrote a message that Sansal was to be expelled because of a drug offence.
The Turkish fashion designer was arrested at Tymbou (Ercan) airport for possessing cannabis. It is thought that the authorities will reactivate a frozen deportation order issued for Sansal over a drug offence.