Head of Turkish Cypriot journalists’ union barred from Turkey

Ali Kişmir, the head of Turkish Cypriot Press Workers' Union (Basın-Sen), has been banned from entering Turkey.

Kişmir was informed of the ban by the Turkish immigration police on Sunday morning, after he sought to pass through passport control at Istanbul airport while returning to northern Cyprus from Croatia via Turkey, Yenidüzen newspaper reported.

Kişmir was ushered into a room where people were being held before deportation and his photograph and fingerprints were taken, the newspaper cited the journalist as saying.

The Turkish authorities banned Kişmir’s entry to the country under the “Foreigners and International Protection Law”, according the document handed to Kişmir at Istanbul airport.

As an “Inadmissible Passenger”, Kişmir then deported back to northern Cyprus. The reason for the ban was not specified on the document.

“The state of Turkey treated me like a terrorist,” Kişmir said at Ercan airport upon his arrival in northern Cyprus, the newspaper said.

“I felt sorry for Turkey and its people, they don’t deserve such governance,” Kişmir said, adding that he will file a case against his entry ban.

Representatives of Basın-Sen including Kişmir were returning to northern Cyprus via Turkey after a European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) annual meeting in Croatia.

Ali Bizden, the press and communications coordinator of former Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı, was also barred from entering Turkey.

Bizden, excluded for five years on charges of acting against the country’s national security, was informed of the decision in July at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport.

Akıncı was elected president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), a state recognised only by Turkey, in April 2015. He pursued a bi-communal, bizonal federation for the island, in line with a United Nations’ mandate to end a division in place since a Turkish military intervention in 1974. He also sought equality in relations with Turkey. Both stances put him at loggerheads with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

Ali Kişmir was a vocal supporter of Akıncı during his election campaign last year.

Last October, Akıncı narrowly lost presidential elections to former prime minister Ersin Tatar. Tatar benefitted from the staunch backing of Ankara, and has subsequently mirrored Turkey’s new policy of calling for a two-state solution to the Cyprus problem.


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