Cyprus has expressed its concern over freedom of the press in the areas under Turkish military occupation, following the ransacking of the offices of a newspaper critical of Turkey’s president.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its “grave concern” about the incidents which took place on Monday on the Turkish side of Nicosia against the Turkish Cypriot newspaper, Afrika.
A mob ransacked the offices the newspaper after it compared Turkey’s strikes against Kurdish militias in northern Syria to its occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.
A Turkish presidential source quoted Erdogan as describing Afrika as “a cheap and nasty newspaper” before calling on Turkish Cypriots to “give the necessary response to this”.
Afrika’s editor Sener Levent was quoted by the Associated Press accusing the Turkish president of whipping up opposition against his publication.
In its statement the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “this incitement to violence on the part of the Turkish president, is yet another proof of Mr. Erdogan’s policy to consolidate Turkey’s authoritarian policies in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, including restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of the press”.
The ministry says that it has already informed the United Nations and the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council of Turkey’s actions, “requesting that all necessary steps be taken with a view to protecting journalists and the freedom of [the] press and expression in the areas under Turkish military occupation”.
Cyprus’ journalists’ union has also condemned Monday’s attack.