Turkish Cypriot newspaper building stoned after anti-Afrin operation article

An angry crowd smashed the windows of a Turkish Cypriot newspaper after it published an article calling Turkey’s offensive against the Kurdish-held Syrian enclave of Afrin “another Turkish occupation” and comparing it to the Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus, Greek Cypriot newspaper The Cyprus Mail reported.

The anti-Afrin article prompted a reaction from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had said: “I call on my brothers in north Cyprus to give the necessary response” and from Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu, who said the article was a “threat” to relations with Ankara.

“Some in the crowd threw stones and eggs at the building, breaking windows and tried to enter the newspaper, forcing those inside to barricade themselves in,” The Cyprus Mail said. “Protesters could be seen climbing up to the balcony of the building and attempting to pull down the newspaper’s sign.”

After riot police dispersed the crowds, they reassembled at the Turkish Cypriot parliament, where two men managed to climb onto the building to wave Turkish and Turkish nationalist flags.

“Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci turned up at the demonstration, but was reportedly booed away by the crowd,” the report said, as he had asked people not to attend the protest.

The Union of Cyprus Journalists called the demonstration an “insult to freedom of the press, freedom of expression and every concept of democracy”, The Cyprus Mail said.