1 June 2001


Threats and attack on an opposition newspaper

Incident details

Sener Levent

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(RSF/IFEX) - In a letter to the interior minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Ilkay Kamil, RSF protested the attack on the printing facilities of the opposition Turkish Cypriot newspaper "Avrupa" in Nicosia on 24 May 2001.

"The newspaper 'Avrupa' and its editor-in-chief are regularly subject to threats coming, according to several corroborating reports, from military forces. No lead should be dismissed in the investigation and those responsible for the attack of 24 May must be identified and punished," stated Robert Ménard, the organisation's secretary-general. "The security of the newspaper 'Avrupa' and of its editor-in-chief is a matter for which you are responsible. We ask you to take all necessary measures to ensure that the threats to which they are subject cease immediately. We also ask you to keep us informed of the results of the inquiry into the attack," added Ménard in his letter.

According to information received by RSF, a bomb exploded on 24 May at the printing facilities of the Turkish Cypriot daily "Avrupa" in Nicosia (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, TRNC) without any casualties. The newspaper's owner and editor-in-chief, Sener Levent, is known for taking critical positions with regard to President Rauf Raif Denktash and his policies. Levent and three other journalists from "Avrupa" were accused of spying on behalf of the southern Greek part of the island and detained for several days after the newspaper had criticised the presence of 35,000 Turkish soldiers in the TRNC. Levent regularly receives death threats that come, according to him, from paramilitary forces. More than 500 insulting messages were reportedly received on the evening of 23 May on the daily's answering machine. According to the results of investigation revealed by the newspaper "Yenicag gazetesi", these messages came from the TRNC's army training school.

For further information, contact Jean-Christophe Menet at RSF, 5, rue Geoffroy Marie, Paris 75009, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 84, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail: europe@rsf.fr, Internet: http://www.rsf.fr


Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris, France
rsf (@) rsf.org

Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
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