Cyprus Map

Defend the Avrupa Five!

Northern Cyprus Military attempt to silence journalists calling for workers unity.

Trade unionists from Northern Cyprus are currently facing 75 charges, each
of which carries a ten year sentence.

The charges have been brought by the military authorities. The crimes of
these trade unionists is that they have called for peace and for an end to
the role of the military.

Those charged are journalists with the AVRUPA ('Europe') newspaper. Their
names are Oker Ozgar, Ali Osman, Susan Karaman, Kazim Deniza and Hassan
Huseyin. They urgently need the support of the international trade union and workers' movement.


07 Jan 2000 - Campaign Update:

Ali Osman from the AVRUPA newspaper, and one of the five journalists facing
serious charges, has recently contacted Greenwich UNISON to say President
Denktash has appeared on national television and denounced the AVRUPA
journalists.

Five of the charges have now been heard, resulting in a 250,000 dollar fine.
The campaign is therefore now launching a financial appeal. Details will be
forthcoming.


Comrades in the British trade union UNISON are leading the campaign to defend the five. Comrade Onay Kasab, a UNISON activist in Greenwich, London, has worked closely with Ali and also previously made a number of visits to the region.

The Greenwich UNISON campaign address details are as follows:

UNISON Greenwich, Local Government Branch, UNISON Office, Room 110, MacBean Centre, MacBean Street, Woolwich, London SE18 6LW

Tel: ++ 44 20 854 8888 Extension 5226, Fax: ++ 44 20 1 317 3235

E-mail: greenwhich.l-gov@unison.org.uk

Please make all enquiries to Onay Kasab

Below are three Greenwich UNISON documents on the AVRUPA Five case. They are:

1. A branch press release (background information)

2. An appeal from Greenwich UNISON to fellow trade unionists and workers

3. A model resolution.

Comrades should pass on all copies of protests to Greenwich UNISON and also to the CWI International Centre.

1. GREENWICH UNISON BRANCH PRESS RELEASE

16 December 1999

PRESS RELEASE

The Greenwich Unison branch today has heard from Turkish Cypriot Trade Unionists who have been arrested and are facing 75 charges from the Northern Cyprus authorities.

Since 1974, Northern Cyprus has been under military occupation by forces from Turkey. In 1983, the area was declared an independent republic. Since the invasion Turkish Cypriot journalists have faced constant oppression. Arrest has become common place. In recent times, journalists opposed to the regime have been targets on hit lists.

The AVRUPA newspaper has been one such target. During mid-December 1999 the military charged AVRUPA journalists with 75 separate charges, each carrying a 10 year sentence. The journalists are Ozker Ozgur, Ali Osman, Suzan Karaman, Kazim Deniza and Hassan Husseyin.

Large scale and repressive efforts are being made by the military to silence papers such as AVRUPA. In one day 69 charges were levelled at AVRUPA on top of 5 out standing charges. Some of these will be heard in military courts while others will be held in civil courts. The question must be asked - why are papers such as AVRUPA being singled out?

The issues raised in both civil and military courts are similar. AVRUPA is charged with promoting hatred of the state, of building to bring down the state and of opposition to the military. The reality is that AVRUPA is only guilty of calling for peace between Turks and Greeks. All methods are being used to attempt to gag such papers - from scare tactics to trials in military courts. There is no end to the methods which are being used.

Questions must be asked of the role of Ankara and Turkey in this oppression. At a time when Turkey is pushing for EC membership such oppression must not be forgotten.

The message from AVRUPA is that one General cannot silence the voice of those calling for peace.

2. APPEAL FROM GREENWICH UNISON

21 December 1999

Defend the ‘AVRUPA 5’

Dear Colleague,

Greenwich UNISON has over the last 3 years built up a relationship with fellow trade unionists in Northern Cyprus. This primarily came about as a result of our efforts around the European Year against Racism in 1997. We have recently been contacted again by our colleagues who are facing an absolutely dire crisis.

Our colleagues include 5 trade unionists who work as journalists at the AVRUPA newspaper. They are to appear before military and civilian courts on 75 charges, all of which relate to opposition to the state and the military.

Each charge carries a jail sentence of 10 years.

The AVRUPA newspaper has consistently campaigned for peace. This action against the journalists is being pushed by the Generals.

0ur colleagues now desperately need our help and support. Please pass the model resolution attached below at your union branch/other organisation. If you would like a speaker, or up to date information, please contact me at the Greenwich UNISON office.

Yours Fraternally,

Onay Kasab.

3. Model UNISON resolution

This [union/organisation] notes:

The continuing occupation of Northern Cyprus by troops from Turkey. This has continued since the invasion carried out by sea and airborne forces in 1974. Northern Cyprus is at present little more than a satellite state of Turkey.

Any opposition to the regime in Northern Cyprus is dealt with ruthlessly. In recent years, Greek protestors were shot and killed by the Turkish military during protests which took place on border territory.

The issue of Northern Cyprus has once again come to the top of the agenda as ‘proximity talks’ took place in New York in December. Further, 1999 marked the 25th anniversary of the invasion.

This [union/organisation] further notes that:

Recently, trade unionists in Britain, in the Greenwich local government branch of UNISON, were contacted by trade unionists from Northern Cyprus who are currently facing 75 charges, each of which carries a ten year sentence. The charges have been brought by the military authorities. The crimes of these trade unionists is that they have called for peace and for an end to the role of the military.

Those charged are journalists with the AVRUPA newspaper. Their names are Oker Ozgar, Ali Osman, Susan Karaman, Kazim Deniza and Hassan Huseyin. They urgently need the support of the international trade union and workers’ movement.

This [trade union/organisation] agrees to:

Send messages of support to the AVRUPA five on the following fax number: 00 903 92 22 74585

We call on all trade unionists, journalists and democrats to raise this issue and protest at these actions.

Send messages of protest to: President Denkash.
00 903 92 22 72 252

Messages of support and copies of protests should be faxed to:

Ali Osman

00 903 92 22 74 585

At a time when proximity talks are taking place in New York it is important to highlight the oppression which currently exists in Northern Cyprus.