by Edward Steen, General-Secretary. Vienna, February 23, 2022
The AEJ leadership protests in the strongest terms at the grotesque charge levelled at our colleague from Northern Cypriot colleague, Ali Kişmir. Head of the Turkish Cypriot Press Workers` Union (Basın-Sen), he could face up to 10 years in prison in a trial which opens on Monday, February 28. The case was today communicated to the COE Platform to protect journalists, and has been taken up by the European Federation of Journalists.
Deported from Turkey, Kişmir faces criminal proceedings by the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied, northern part of Cyprus. The charges are under the Military Crime and Penalty Law, Article 26, in force in northern Cyprus. The offense carries a sentence of up to 10 years for “insulting and defaming the moral personality of the Security Forces”.
Kişmir is the third Turkish Cypriot person banned from entering Turkey in recent months.
After a meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) in Croatia, he flew to Istanbul, from where he was planning to go home to Cyprus. But at the airport Turkish officials fingerprinted him, “treated me like a terrorist”, and told him that his entry into Turkey was not allowed.
His supposed offense relates to an opinion article published two years ago in the Northern Cypriot daily Afrika, which in 2020 changed its name back to its original Avrupa, or Europe. Left-wing and committed to the reunification of Cyprus, the famous, tiny-circulation paper has weathered decades of relentless litigation, including a famous and unsuccessful prosecution of its editor Sener Levent and Ali Osman Tabak, for publishing a cartoon insulting Turkish President Erdogan (see above).
♦ DuvaR on the Kişmir case and persecution of journalists in Turkey