Turkish Cypriot journalist faces 10 years in jail over article criticizing Ankara

Turkish Cypriot authorities are seeking up to 10 years in prison for journalist Ali Kişmir over an article he penned a year and a half ago criticizing the Turkish government's interference in the breakaway state.

Duvar English 

Turkish Cypriot authorities have launched an investigation against Ali Kişmir, the chairman of the Press Trade Union (Basın-Sen), on charges of "insulting and defaming the security forces," demanding up to a ten-year prison sentence, the journalist announced on Twitter on Feb. 22.

The lawsuit concerns one of Kişmir’s articles penned at the time of Ersin Tatar's election as the president. Kişmir criticized the Turkish government and its interference in the affairs of Turkish Cyprus in the article. He said that politicians from Ankara had met with National Unity Party (UBP) deputies at a place called "White House" [Beyaz Ev].

"The name of the place to where Ankara summoned some of the UBP politicians might be 'White House,' but the place that our politics brought the issue is in fact a 'Whore House'! Ankara does not want to lose its dominance in the island's north, its existence to be questioned and Turkish Cypriots to stand on their own feet," the article read. 

Turkish Cypriot Bar Association head Hasan Esendağlı said that he will defend Kişmir over the case. 

“Investigation of people due to thoughts, ideas, words and writings is the practice of outdated and oppressive regimes. We have no choice but to resist them,” Esendağlı said on Twitter. 

Turkish Cypriot Journalists Association (KTGB) called for all political parties to take on responsibility to ensure an environment that ensures polyphony. 

“Lawyers and journalists have to work together to make the necessary changes in the outdated laws restricting the media, and laying the groundwork for many lawsuits,” the association stated.

Kişmir was denied entry to Turkey in October 2021.