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Protest after ‘victimised’ journalist banned from Turkey

aysu basri akter
Aysu Basri Akter

Akel MEP Niyazi Kizilyurek said on Thursday that he has raised Ankara’s refusal to deny entry to a Turkish Cypriot journalist with the European Commission.

He said the journalist was being victimised for her political views and asked the commission to clarify what it is doing to defend the rights of European citizens.

In a separate announcement, the Union of Cyprus Journalists said it was backing protests by journalists in north Cyprus.

Aysu Basri Akter was travelling to Turkey for a one-week family holiday on Monday but was kept waiting at Antalya airport for 19 hours before being denied entry and sent back to north Cyprus.

In a written question to the European Commission, Kizilyurek denounced Turkey’s policies against progressive Turkish Cypriots, noting that Akter was not the first Turkish Cypriot denied entry to Turkey.

In the past months, several Turkish Cypriot activists, journalists and trade unionists were not allowed to enter Turkey, he noted.

In all cases, the official reason given was that they were a threat to national security, but the real reason is that they have spoken out against Turkey’s policies in north Cyprus and support a federal solution, he said.

The Akel MEP asked the commission to inform him what actions it plans to take so as to safeguard the rights of European citizens violated by the Turkish government.

For its part, in a written statement the Union of Cyprus Journalists denounced Turkey’s refusal to allow Akter to enter Turkey, noting that a similar incident had occurred last October when Ali Kismir, president of the union of print media employees Basin-Sen was denied entry.

“Both Akter and Kismir have and continue to harshly criticise the Turkish regime, mainly for its unfair interventions in the internal affairs of the Turkish Cypriot community,” it added.

The union denounced what it branded this new demonstration of authoritarianism, voiced solidarity with Akter and joined its voice to the protests of the association of Turkish Cypriot journalists and Basin-Sen.

Together with the Turkish Cypriot organisations, the union said it will be asking the European and International federations of journalists to condemn this new incident of gagging of the media.

 

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