By Stelios Marathovouniotis
Sener Levent, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot newspaper Avrupa, has been sentenced in absentia, to one year in prison in Turkey.
According to Yeni Duzen, the decision pertains to an article titled “The Kurds and Us” published in Avrupa, which was deemed offensive to the Turkish President. As a result, Levent faced prosecution in Turkey.
Levent had previously been convicted in absentia in Ankara and sentenced to one year in prison for a caricature.
According to the Press and Information Office, even though the decision was issued on March 10, 2023, it was only communicated to Levent in August. He was instructed to pay a fine of 24 Turkish lira for postage and notification fees, a sum he has refused to pay, adamantly rejecting the entire charges.
Levent stated, “Because they did not get the outcome they wanted from our courts, they began prosecuting us in absentia in Ankara… They dismantled a fair and independent judiciary in Turkey… They nullified it… The courts are at the disposal of Tayyip Erdogan…”
Furthermore, Levent mentioned that thousands of similar cases have been filed in Turkey, with 60 journalists currently incarcerated. He argued that Turkey is different from countries for Turkish Cypriots: “Throughout our history, we had a very close relationship… For 49 years now, it has been our oppressor… Our active administrator… Cypriots escaped British colonialism but not Turkey… Turkey refuses to accept it’s an invader in Cyprus…”
He continued: “To prove to us and the world that it’s not an invader, it established a fictitious state here… In this way, it prevented any opposition that could form against it… Even the most progressive organisations and parties go to the ruling authorities’ door – marionettes, not to the embassy’s door… It’s not an embassy; if it were a provincial administration, they would go there… But they call it an embassy…”