Ankara investigates journalist from Turkish Cyprus on insult charges

Turkish Cyprus journalist Ayşemden Akın is being probed by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office on charges of insulting Turkey and its representatives, namely the Ankara Ambassador to Nicosia. Akın's reporting on the 2020 presidential elections is the cause of the probe.

Nikolaos Stelya / DUVAR

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has launched a probe against Turkish Cypriot journalist Ayşemden Akın on charges of insulting the Ankara Ambassador to Nicosia in her reporting on the presidential elections the country held in the summer of 2020. 

The island of Cyprus was split after a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup, resulting in the northern half, a breakaway Turkish-Cypriot state, being only recognized by Ankara.

The winning candidate Ersin Tatar controversially received the open backing of Ankara during the election campaign, which inspired protest not just in the island state but in Turkey as well.

"I'm being probed 'for social media posts that incite the public against Turkey and its representatives, and insulting them...' There were no journalists left to question in Turkey, it's our turn," the journalist said in a tweet on Jan. 22. 

This is the first accusation of insult Akın has received in her 15 years in journalism, she told Turkish media, adding that she finds the development to be sad for the people and democracy of Turkey.

"It's shocking that this happens while we await the release of political prisoners in Turkey," Akın said. 

Well-known among Turkish Cyprus' political opposition circles, the probe against Akın was deemed a "major blow to rights and freedoms in Cyprus" by critics of the state.