THE LYNCHING OF JOURNALISTS

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January 27, 2018

by Andreas C Chrysafis*

The recent attempt to lynch a group of journalists and its editor Mr. Sener Levent of the Turkish Cypriot national newspaper “Afrika” in Nicosia offers serious warnings of things to come. There seems to be a conflict brewing between the Turkish Cypriots and Anatolian Turks devoted to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A man who has systematically filled the occupied area with hundreds of snoopers to spy on all and everyone that shows any signs of opposition to his dictatorial rule.

“Afrika” newspaper published an article on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018 linking Turkey’s military offensive into Syrian enclave – controlled by US backed Syrian Kurds – with the Turkish invasion of Cyprus 43 years ago. That comparison did not go down well with Sultan Erdogan. He expressed his anger over the article and incited retaliation by calling his brothers in the north Cyprus to: “take action and give the necessary response.”

President Erdogan’s message instantly reached the ears of his Anatolian loyalists and mobs were quickly motivated to obey his orders! It was as if they were given the signal by their president to punish those that opposed his policies and authoritarian rule. The mob did not waste time; the master had spoken to them and they went to work!

The very next day an angry mob of hundreds of Grey Wolves and ultra nationalists waving Turkish flags and carrying sticks and stones gathered outside the offices of “Afrika” in preparation for a lynching party. While the police did nothing, those fanatics immediately set to work throwing rocks at the newspaper’s offices and smashing windows and everything else in sight. The rabid mob then climbed over the wall to the first floor, pulled down the large building sign and breaking the windows, they entered the premises. Immediately the angry throng ransacked the place but luckily, the police finally arrived and prevented the imminent lynching of the journalists trapped inside. A terrible massacre in front of the cameras was averted!

The journalists’ lives were saved at the nick of time but the fears have not subsided; the fanatics will not stop until they see blood on the floor! After all, they were executing the wishes of the president and they sought to punish those questioning his authoritarian rule. It is quite evident that this delusionary man is obsessed with hatred and sees everyone who opposes his wishes – especially the freedom of the press – as his enemy and out to get him; just like Hitler did!

Mr. Sener Levent’s life is now in serious jeopardy. It is not the first time that this democratic man has faced threats against his life but the current intimidation will not subside so easily and will persist until those fanatics fulfill Erdogan’s wishes and get their way with him. If he were in Turkey, for sure this man would be apprehended by Erdogan’s agents and thrown into prison and maybe never be seen again!

On a positive note, the day after the attack over two hundred Turkish Cypriots congregated outside the newspaper’s offices to protect their compatriots and as sentinels, stood in readiness to defend freedom of expression; an anathema to Erdogan’s rule. They remained on guard prepared to do battle with the paramilitary Grey Wolves and a horde of imported Anatolian stooges.

As expected an army of fanatics arrived in their hundreds, carrying weapons and all anxious to finish the job. Acting on higher orders, they came prepared to silence the editor of “Afrika” and punish the journalists who dared to express opposition to the Sultan’s policies.

Mr. Levent – a Turkish Cypriot – has often criticized Turkey’s military occupation of Cyprus but also the systematic importation of thousands of Anatolian settlers to change the demographic character of the area.

The violent occurrence by a lynching mob to suppress freedom of expression has sent shock waves across the globe. Erdogan’s attempt to stamp out all opposition to his dictatorial stronghold in Turkey has now reached the shores of the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus – control the past and one controls the future – and Erdogan plans to do just that!  

The attack on “Afrika” by Ankara’s fascists it’s a serious development for the secular Turkish Cypriot community but also for the Greek Cypriots. Unless they work together for the reunification of the Republic of Cyprus the risks of the eradication of a proud TC community through demographics, fear and intimidation remain dangerously high.

Time is of the essence and the sooner Turkish Cypriots reach an amicable solution with the Greek side; stop Erdogan’s claws digging deeper into their very soul, so much the better! If not, the existence of Turkish Cypriots as an ethnic community remains questionable!

*Author/Writer/Artist