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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cypriot journalist rejects accusations by Turkey

From Toplum Postasi:

Incirli rejects accusations by Turkey

Mr Incirli stated: “I believe they wish me dead, not that they want to kill me, thanks to the EU factor they can’t do that.”

By Alkan Chaglar

Turkish Cypriot journalist Serhat Incirli talks to Toplum Postası about his feelings regarding the recent case brought against him by Turkey and the reasons behind it. Mr Incirli who writes a daily column in Afrika newspaper, formerly known as Avrupa newspaper, was questioned because of an article he wrote in on the 15th and 17th of July 2004 about the Turkish Army and the status quo in Cyprus. Mr Incirli is accused of ‘insulting Turkish national values’.

Asked about what he said that offended the Turkish Armed Forces, Serhat said: “I believe what they (the Turkish government) are demanding in Cyprus is something they would never give to the Kurds in Turkey. But the columns that I wrote are not strictly about the Kurdish problem; it’s about Turkish racism. The Turkish constitution has racist undertones in its wording.”

Referring to the conduct of politicians in both Turkey and Cyprus, Mr Incirli said: “When you look from a European perspective, many politicians in Turkey and Cyprus like Süleyman Demirel, Bülent Ecevit, Rauf Denktaş and Devlet Bahçeli, the semantics of their speech is racist. I’m not saying that this is their intention, but they should be careful not to present that image.”

This is the first time Turkey is opening a case against a Turkish Cypriot, however, Mr Incirli has both Cypriot and British dual nationality. Commenting on the implications of the case against him on Turkish-EU aspirations, Mr Incirli stated: “I believe they wish me dead, not that they want to kill me, thanks to the EU factor, they can’t do that.” Referring to the importance of the EU factor in the improvement of human rights in Turkey, Mr Incirli said: “If they cannot reach EU standards on freedom of speech, nationalists or fascists will do some terrible things in both Turkey and Cyprus.”

Previous posts on Mr. Incirli can be found here and here.

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