The Union of Cyprus Journalists has strongly denounced a new wave of persecution of Turkish Cypriot journalists in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus, describing it as an escalation of the unrelenting campaign and effort by the occupation regime to strangle the voices of those who are trying to end the occupation.According to the UCJ, “officials of the judicial office” visited the paper last week and filed against 15 of its journalists and columnists more than a hundred new charges regarding articles they had published in both Avrupa and Afrika newspapers.| The minimum sentence for each charge is five years in prison.
Among the charges, the UCJ said, were insulting the command of the Turkish Security Forces and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, publishing articles which cause people to loose their love towards the army service and hating the army and humiliating the representatives of Turkey .
The Union declared its resolute solidarity with the journalists and the columnists of Afrika and called on the UN, the EU, the Council of Europe, the International and the European Federations of Journalists, the International Press Institute and other organisations to condemn the suppressive and silencing activities and measures of the Denktash regime. It also asked them to demand an end to the persecution of Turkish Cypriot journalists and respect of the freedom of press and expression in the Turkish Cypriot community.
The fifteen accused journalists are: Sener Levent, Ali Osman, Mehmet Levent, Ahmet Karaman, Ozker Ozgur, Kazim Denizci, Suzan Karaman, Memduh Ener, Serhat Incirli, Izzet Izcan, Nilgun Orhon, Ozker Yasin, Salih Olgun, Hurmus Denizci and Yalcin Okut.