Ruling coalition files criminal complaint against journalist Ayşenur Arslan

Turkey's ruling coalition has filed a criminal complaint against journalist Ayşenur Arslan over comments she made calling the Turkish Resistance Organization of Cyprus an organized crime group.

Duvar English

After the assassination of mob boss Halil Falyalı in Northern Cyprus this week, many questions were raised about his criminal affiliations and his ties to the state. On HalkTV this week, journalist Ayşenur Arslan said that Falyalı was introducing himself as a member of the Turkish Resistance Organization (TMT).

Arslan referred to the TMT as "an illegal, semi-official organization known for assassinations on the island.” 

These comments have drawn the ire of ruling coalition supporters, especially those who back the ultranationalist National Movement Party (MHP). 

Now, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), MHP, and the Great Unity Party (BBP) have separately submitted criminal complaints against Arslan for the comments. They say that her words launched a “campaign” against the TMT, which they say is a national organization that “saved” Cypriot Turks from Greek aggression by groups like EOKA, a Greek Cypriot paramilitary organization.

Arslan is accused of “insulting the Turkish nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, the institutions and organs of the state.”

“[TMT] is a symbol of just and legitimate resistance, founded with the support of Turkey for the struggle of the Turkish Cypriot people against EOKA, an organization that massacred hundreds of people,” reads the criminal complaint submitted by the AKP. 

The AKP says that the organization has fought for the Turkish state and has given “martyrs” for the nationalist cause. Therefore, they say, Arslan is insulting the state.

"The suspect, by defining the Turkish Cypriot Resistance Organization, which fights for the freedom of the Turkish Cypriot people, as an illegal and assassinating organization, openly committed the crime of ‘insulting the Turkish Nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, the institutions and organs of the state,’ which is stipulated in Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code,” the criminal complaint reads. 

The MHP’s own complaint echoes this sentiment. The MHP called Arslan’s comments “ugly and unfounded” and said they humiliated the Turkish nation and the Republic of Turkey. 

The three political parties are demanding that Arslan be investigated by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office and punished in accordance with Article 301, which carries a prison sentence of six months to two years.