The AEJ Turkey has joined the G9 Journalism Organizations Platform to support Cypriot journalists being targeted for criticizing the AKP’s policies on the island of Cyprus.
Their statement came after Turkish Cypriot journalist Ali Kismir, head of the Turkish Cypriot Press Workers’ Union (Basin-Sen), was told on February 22 he faced criminal prosecution for “insulting and defaming the moral personality” of the security forces in northern Cyprus.
The case relates to an article the journalist wrote in the Afrika daily newspaper one and a half years ago, criticising the Turkish government and Turkish security forces in northern Cyprus for interfering in the affairs of the Turkish Cypriot people.
Under the Military Crime and Penalty Law in force in northern Cyprus, the offence carries a prison sentence of up to ten years.
The G9 Journalism Organizations Platform statement reads:
As the G9 Journalism Organizations Platform, we stand in solidarity with our Cypriot colleagues against any attempt targeting the freedom of press and expression. We consider the prosecution Ali Kişmir, the President of the Cyprus Journalists’ Union Press-Sen, with the demand of 10 years in prison on the allegation that he “insulted and defamed the moral personality of the Security Forces” for an article he wrote 1.5 years ago, as a new attempt to blockade journalism as in Turkey.
It is seen that Kişmir, who is banned from entering Turkey, is targeted and wanted to be punished for criticizing the AKP’s policies on the island of Cyprus.
A new move has been added to the chain of moves aimed at suppressing, intimidating and silencing all kinds of social opposition, to intimidate the members of the press in Cyprus.
With the accusation against our colleague Kişmir, whose defence was undertaken by the Cyprus Turkish Bar Association (KTBB), within the scope of Article 26 of the Military Crimes and Penalties Law; it is intended to convey the message to all journalists in Cyprus that you cannot criticize the government in Turkey in any way.
On this occasion, we once again express that we will always oppose the practices of authoritarian governments against press freedom to suppress journalism through judicial processes.
We once again express our solidarity, with journalist Ali Kişmir and all our colleagues in Cyprus, in the struggle for a free and democratic Turkey and Cyprus.
Journalists will continue to express their opinions freely, defend the interests of the people, and keep the public informed of the facts, both in Turkey and in Cyprus.
G9 Platform Of Journalism Organizations
Association of European Journalists (AEJ) Turkey Representative
Press and Communication Workers’ Union (HABER-SEN)
Contemporary Journalists Association (CGD)
Turkish Press and Press Employees’ Union (DİSK BASIN-İŞ)
Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS)
Alert from Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalists