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Deportations of Turkish Cypriots from Turkey cause alarm

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A number of Turkish Cypriots being deported from Turkey has caused alarm in the north, as political parties sought further clarification, while the ‘foreign ministry’ played it down.

It was not immediately clear as to why some Turkish Cypriots were being deported, but previous cases saw persons returned over allegations of endangering Turkey’s national security.

The ‘foreign ministry’ in the north explained that Turkey had no obligation to state the reasons for a person’s deportation to the ‘government’ in the north, even though it also said that it was in contact with Turkey about the matter. It also stated that Turkish Cypriots do not require a tourist visa.

The explanations appeared unsatisfactory to some, as CTP (Republican Turkish Party) ‘MP’ Asim Akansoy took to social media to criticise the ‘government’s’ handling the matter. He accused the ‘government of not appearing interested in resolving the matter.

“We are moving further and further away from democracy and human rights,” he said, adding that: “The rule of law is being crushed… we have witnessed many such cases recently.”

Tensions are simmering between some in the north and Turkey, most recently over the one-year jail sentence imposed by Ankara on Turkish Cypriot newspaper publisher Sener Levent for offending President Tayyip Erdogan. It was commuted to a fine amid public concern over efforts to silence media.

Levent said he does not recognise the court’s decision, but his sentence echoes those imposed on activists in Turkey, such as that of Osman Kavala – an activist and philanthropist – who was sentenced to life in prison on charges, which he denies, related to the nationwide protests in 2013 and the failed coup in 2016.

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