The press workers’ union in the north, Basin-Sen, announced on Thursday it was suing Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar over his disparaging comments on social media against journalist Esra Aygin, which it said encouraged his followers to issue death threats against her.

The union said it filed a lawsuit against Tatar over his response to a comment by Aygin on Twitter over his statement last week that the north would not receive the coronavirus vaccines reserved for his community unless they were delivered directly via the EU and not through the Greek Cypriot side.

Aygin, at the time, criticised Tatar, in a tweet, that he should not put people’s health at risk so that he could play the sovereignty game and that he ought to work for the people’s prosperity and health. “You are not aware of the responsibility and the weight of your duties,” Aygin had tweeted.

This prompted a response by Tatar who called her comments “cheap and undignified”. Tatar told Aygin that she should do better and called on her to “keep quiet and give us a chance.”

Aygin said that since then, she has found herself under attack by Tatar’s followers and has also received death threats.

Basin-Sen said that it was against every attack against freedom of expression and thought, and that the union would continue its struggle against those who threaten these freedoms in every field.