“Jasmine Movement” European Elections 2019 – Press Release


“JASMINE MOVEMENT” EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 2019 – PRESS RELEASE

13.03.2019 – On May 26, we are going for the fourth time to the polls to elect the members of the European Parliament after our country joined the European Union in 2004. What is the “Jasmine Movement” and why is it participating in these elections?

We are six Turkish-speaking Cypriot candidates who are citizens of the Republic of Cyprus. Although whole Cyprus has joined the EU, the northern part of the island is still out of Europe, at Turkey’s mercy. The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot supporters of the status quo seem to have agreed to disguise this reality, which has been very clear for years.

We participate as candidates to reveal what really happens.

While in the southern part of Cyprus the European acquis is in force, in the northern part the Ankara acquis applies. Under the Islamofascist dictatorship of Erdogan and his party, human rights have been eradicated in Turkey, justice has turned into a whip against the opposition and prisons have been filled with people who committed the offense of expressing their opinion.

Our island has been under Turkey’s occupation since 1974, the most tragic year for our homeland. Turkey, which under the 1960 Zurich-London Agreements had the right to retain 650 soldiers on the island, is here with 40,000 ones. The Turkish government has the final say in all decisions taken in the north. But this occupation is not only military. For years, it has also been transformed into a political occupation, because, as a result of the population being systematically transferred from Turkey, the demographic structure has deteriorated and Turkish Cypriots become a minority. The settlers from Turkey reached five times the number of Cypriots. We face the danger of settlers becoming locals and the locals being left homeless, while the looting of the lands of the Greek Cypriots who were slaughtered by the arms violence in 1974 continues.

We are candidates to reveal these truths that are kept hidden.

There was no form of oppression and violence that the “Afrika” newspaper has not suffered so far, because of referring to Turkey as an occupying power. It has twice taken bomb attacks, it has twice taken gunshots attacks and has filed dozens of lawsuits against it. More recently, on January 22, a mob of Turkish settlers attacked the newspaper, following Erdogan’s order. It was a lynching attack, with stones and bats, made with the tolerance and complicity of the police. And while the perpetrators were released, “Afrika” publisher Sener Levent and director Ali Osman Tabak are being tried under the charge of “insulting a foreign state official”.

We are candidates to uncover this fear regime.

We know that the voice of the people that from of the occupied resist the oppression of Turkey is not heard on the international scene and that the politicians sent to Brussels and Strasbourg are not presenting the reality. This is one of the main reasons why we are candidates with the “Jasmine Movement”. It is our duty to denounce the reality that we are living in Cyprus to the European Parliament.

We are in favor of a Cyprus whole and inseparable, and not just united. We want a Cyprus without borders that will not be divided into Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot regions. We support a solution that excludes the two states, the partition. We are not opposed to a federal solution, but we see the federation as a means of creating a united Cyprus and not as a springboard for separate states. Τhe Republic of Cyprus was also a bi-communal federation, but unlike what is being discussed now, it was a unitary rather than a bizonal one. Cyprus is one and inseparable. It is absurd to ask for the creation of two separate countries on one island. Those who support the federal solution on both sides of the island need to clarify its content and speak clearly, especially on the issue of the end of guarantees and the withdrawal of the occupying troops.

Until today, the leaders and the political parties have not taken serious steps towards the solution and peace. Some examples are the perpetuation of the missing persons, the fact that the two leaders did not go to a single tomb together, the fact that Varosha did not open and that the war criminals were not tried.

We have an obligation to emphasize these.

We are currently living very critical days. Treasure was found in our seas, but we are not sure what the end will be. We are surrounded by warships.

In 1974 the junta of Athens caused a great harm in Cyprus. Now there is a fascist dictatorship in Turkey. The aggressive Turkish policy in Syria is a proof of what it can do to Cyprus. We are candidates because we perceive this danger. We are surprised to see that, not only in the north but also in the south, there are circles that embrace this fascist dictatorship. At the same time, Turkish officials embrace these Cypriot circles while declaring us “enemies of Turkey” because we oppose Turkey’s Islamofascism.

As the fascist junta of Athens was a danger for Cyprus, at such a great risk the fascist regime of Turkey threatens all of us.

That is why we are candidates. Strong voice against fascism and against occupation: This is the “Jasmine Movement”.


THE CANDIDATES OF THE “JASMINE MOVEMENT” IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS OF 26TH MAY 2019

SENER LEVENT

He was born in 1948 in Nicosia. During his studies at the high school, he began his career in journalism in the daily newspaper “Akin”, which was being published by his brother. Then, for three years, he was publishing articles in the weekly newspaper “The Student’s Voice”. In 1968 he worked at the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (RIK) for the Turkish Program Service. In 1969 he went to the Soviet Union for studies and graduated with a postgraduate diploma from the Journalism School of the Moscow State University “Lomonosov”.

After returning to Cyprus in 1979, he worked as an editor for the newspapers “Söz”, “Kıbrıs Postası” and “Ortam”. For a short time he had the opportunity to publish the daily newspaper “Demokrasi”. In 1990 he returned to Moscow as a correspondent of the Turkish newspaper “Güneş”. After returning to Cyprus in 1997, he started publishing his own newspaper “Avrupa”. After two bombings and many court cases against it, the newspaper was closed. After the closing of Avrupa he continued with Afrika newspaper.

“Afrika” was the target of armed attacks twice in 2011. As a result of the instructions given by President Erdogan to live television broadcasting in Turkey, on 22 January 2018 an organized mob attacked the newspaper in order to lynch its staff. Sener Levent, as owner and editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Afrika”, is still facing legal charges, including insulting of Erdogan.

In 2018 he was honored by the European Parliament with the European Citizen’s Prize, while the “Politico” declared him as one of the 28 people who are forming the public opinion in Europe.

For 17 years he is writing daily at the newspaper “Politis”. He has published three books, which have been translated into Greek and English.

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IBRAHIM AZIZ

He was born in the mixed village of Potamia, Nicosia, in 1938. He studied at the University of Agriculture of Sofia. He holds a PhD degree in Viticulture and Oenology. He worked at the Agricultural Research Institute. For many years he has been a regular associate of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (RIK) in the Department of Turkish News and Programs.

From a young age, he was politically active in the left-wing organizations. He was part of Dervis Ali Kavazoglu’s team, whom he succeeded after his assassination. For years (1965-1974) he was the head of the Patriotic Organization of Turkish Cypriots, who fought for the peaceful coexistence of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, that set him a target of the Turkish chauvinist leadership.

He is an author and a political analyst. In 2004, he had appealed to the European Court of Human Rights to secure the right of Turkish Cypriots living in the territories controlled by the Republic of Cyprus to participate in the elections together with the Greek Cypriots.

Ibrahim Aziz lived the tragic events of the 1963 inter-communal riots, the coup and the invasion, and struggles for a common homeland of all Cypriots.

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OZ KARAHAN

Born in 1990, Oz Karahan spend his youth years in Famagusta . He is a political activist and president of the organization “Union of Cypriots”. After completing his secondary education in Famagusta, he studied at the Anglo-American University in Prague.

From a very young age, he joined and led a youth organization called “LINOBAMBAKI”, which was a frontier organization in “2011 Turkish Cypriot protests” against Turkey. He completed his university studies and became politically active in the USA, Sweden and Germany. He was a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and its representative in the State of Texas, as well as a member of the Communist Party (Kommunistiska Partiet) in Sweden. Later he returned to Larnaca, where part of his family originates from, and continued his political activities.

He was one of the founders of the World Union of Turkish-speaking Cypriots (WUTC), who fought against the Turkish occupation and the social and cultural oppression that Turkish Cypriots face in the occupied areas of Cyprus. He is currently the president of the Union of Cypriots, which has similar goals to the WUTC and is active in main intergovernmental organizations in Europe, for an independent and united Cyprus with no foreign interventions.

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LEYLA HUSEYIN (KIRALP)

She was born in 1952 in Mari. She married in 1973 in Zygi. In August 1974, her husband was arrested by the members of EOKA B and was murdered in the Tochni massacre. She struggled to find her missing husband and all Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who were missing.

In 1974 she met Maria, a refugee from Famagusta. In her autobiographical book, “The White Hankerchief That We Shared,” Leila describes the tragedy she lived and her friendship with Maria. Her second book, “Our Rainbow that Disappeared”, contains short stories about the Cypriot tragedy. Both her books were translated into Greek. With the proceeds from their sale, she helped charities in both communities and created a memorial to her husband, whose bones were found after 40 years, and to all the people missing due to the Cypriot tragedies.

She worked as a columnist in the newspaper “Afrika”. With her second husband and their son, she built the cultural space “Melandra House”, to keep the common culture of Cyprus alive. She continues to struggle for peace in Cyprus and for the reunification of our homeland.

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ZEKI BESIKTEPELI

He was born in 1960 in the village Melandra in Paphos. At a young age he joined the Revolutionary Youth Union, which was founded in 1974.

At the age of 18, he joined the Republican Turkish Party CTP. He studied Economics at the Moscow State University “Lomonosov” and at the Timiryazev Academy. He holds a PhD in Economics. He returned to Cyprus in 1993.

He served as a member of the CTP General Council from 1995 to 1997. Due to the dismissal of the party’s president Ozger Ozgur, he resigned. For twenty years he was a professor at the Near East University, from where he recently was fired because he condemned the attacks on the “Afrika” newspaper.

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FAIZE OZDEMIRCILER

She was born in 1964 in the village of Agios Theodoros in the Larnaca district. She studied Philology at the Istanbul University.

For 19 years she has been writing about politics and literature in her own column, first in the newspaper “Avrupa” and after its closure in the newspaper “Afrika”. She has published five books of poetry and prose. Many of her poems have been translated into Greek and English.

In 2015, the actor and director Yasar Ersoy adapted for the stage a theatrical performance, combining the poem “Cyprus” of her book “Saddened in Greek, Wounded in Turkish” and some of her published articles of the newspaper “Afrika”. The work was presented at the Turkish Cypriot Municipal Theater of Nicosia and at the Rialto and Satirical theaters, where it attracted great interest.