Threats against Afrika condemned

THREATS made on the life of Sener levent, the editor of Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika, were roundly condemned on the Greek Cypriot side yesterday.

THE Journalists’ Union (ESK) condemned the threats against Levent. Two shots were fired into the front door of the daily on Friday afternoon and a note was left warning Levent that if he continued writing he “would be killed.”

“ESK expresses its full solidarity an support to Sener Levent and his associates and urges journalists and international media organizations to condemn this criminal act,” a written statement said.

The Green Party, and ruling AKEL issued similar statements yesterday.

Afrika has been at the forefront of a debate over banners “insulting to Turkey” carried at a mass rally that took place on January 28 against economic austerity measures being imposed on the Turkish Cypriot community by Ankara.

The paper has been openly encouraging those who carried such banners to exhibit them again at another mass rally planned for next Wednesday.

It is not the first time the paper has come under attack from unknown assailants.

In 2001, a bomb destroyed the publication’s printing presses. No one was ever arrested for the attack.

In July 1996, Turkish Cypriot journalist and writer Kutlu Adali, a strong critic of  the practices and policies of Turkey and the ‘TRNC’ was gunned down outside his home.

Adali had argued that Cyprus should not be divided and that Turkish and Greek Cypriots should live in a united republic based on a pluralist democratic system.

His wife has said that her husband had received several death threats because of his articles and political opinions.

ESK said Friday’s shooting “revealed the rule and the policy enforced by Turkey in Cyprus, which maintains, emboldens and arms chauvinists who do not hesitate to deal a blow to democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and stifle any voice that stands in the way of their fascist plans.”

The shooting was also condemned by Greek Cypriot parties.