Nationalists attack newspaper in northern Cyprus
The northern Cypriot newspaper Afrika was attacked by an angry mob on Monday. Prior to the attack President Erdoğan had cited in a speech an article published by the paper criticising Turkey's Afrin operation and called on his "northern Cypriot brothers and sisters" to "answer" the author. Commentators from the south of the divided island are incensed that Ankara has so much clout.
Turkey must not retain any influence in Cyprus
Afrika's editor-in-chief Şener Levent has done nothing but write the truth in his newspaper, Phileleftheros asserts:
“That an invasion like the one in 1974 [in Cyprus] is taking place in Afrin. And that the bloodthirsty and paranoid sultan called on his wolves in occupied northern Cyprus to bare their teeth. And they eagerly complied . ... This incident occurred a few days before the presidential election [in Cyprus on 28 January] to highlight why we must never accept a solution that would make it possible for Turkey to remain present on the island - either through some kind of guarantees or even the presence of a single soldier. Turkey must not have a presence even in the form of a policeman. We saw yesterday how keen the 'police' were to stop the mob. They behaved as if they were simply onlookers.”
Fanatics spurred on by Ankara
The attacks demonstrate how strong the Turkish president's influence in northern Cyprus is, the Cyprus Mail writes:
“Not only has Erdogan's authoritarianism and contempt for Western liberal values shown its ugly face in the north, there are also plenty of extremists eager to enforce it. ... The Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı said the right thing regarding the violence. While he disagreed with Afrika's view and defended Turkey's military action in Afrin, he condemned the violence and called for respect for the right to freedom of expression. It was indicative of the general situation in the north that Akıncı was then jeered by the mob outside Afrika and forced to get in his car and leave the scene. ... The fanatics showed as much respect for their 'president' as they did for the right of free speech.”