A raft of high-profile Turkish Cypriots have signed a petition aimed at halting the case against left-wing journalist Ali Kismir.

Kismir stands accused of “insulting and defaming the morality of the TRNC Security forces command” after the north’s chief prosecutor filed a case against him last month. If found guilty, he could face up to ten years in prison.

The accusation relates to a Facebook post he wrote in August 2020 wherein he likened the headquarters of the ‘TRNC Security forces command’ to a “brothel”.

The petition has been set up by a social media account which goes by the name of “We don’t shut up, we sign”, and has attracted the signatures of numerous high-profile figures in Turkish Cypriot society.

Among them are former Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and his wife Meral, European parliament member Niyazi Kizilyurek, members of ‘parliament’ Devrim Barcin, Dogus Derya, and Urun Solyali, newspaper editors Basaran Duzgun, Cenk Mutluyakali, Sener Levent, and writer Mete Hatay.

The petition’s organisers said “Turkish Cypriots have been struggling to protect their social identity and political will for over a century … Today, the AKP-MHP government [in Turkey] and its collaborators in the north of Cyprus continue to alter our social life and attack our political will”.

“We do not accept disrespectful attacks on the will of our people, their freedom of speech and their will to live in line with their own interests, and we know that the purpose of the case filed against Ali Kismir … is to silence us all”, they said.