Former Turkish Cypriot president among 42 facing entry ban to Turkey

Outgoing Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci (R) and the newly elected leader Ersin Tatar, arrive at a handover ceremony in the northern part of Nicosia, the capital of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), on October 23, 2020. Photo: AFP

Forty-two intellectuals, writers and politicians from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) including former president Mustafa Akıncı, all of whom are critical of the policies of the Turkish government, are facing an entry ban to Turkey, Turkish Minute reported, citing the northern Cypriot Avrupa newspaper.

The 42 people from northern Cyprus will be denied entry to Turkey for a period of five years on the grounds that they “pose a risk to Turkey’s national security.”

Avrupa said the list was confirmed by the Turkish embassy. “They call it the ‘black list,’ but we call it the ‘white list’,” the newspaper said, indicating its support for the people facing an entry ban to Turkey. The list was drafted in September, according to Avrupa.

The daily published half the names on the list on Tuesday, saying the second half would be published on Wednesday.

Turkey recently denied entry to Ali Kişmir, chairman of the KKTC’s Press Trade Union (Basın-Sen), Ali Bizden, Akıncı’s press and communications coordinator, and author Dr. Ahmet Cavit An, which led to an outcry.

The KKTC was founded after Turkish intervention on the island in 1974, which followed a coup by Greek nationalists who sought unification with Greece amid a civil war between Greeks and Turks living on the island.

Akıncı and Ankara have been at odds over the solution to the Cyprus problem since reunification talks collapsed in July 2017. Their relationship deteriorated further in 2020 when Akıncı, in response to a question by British newspaper The Guardian on the possibility of Turkey’s annexation of the north of the island, said, “It’s a horrible scenario.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described Akıncı’s comments as “very unfortunate,” while Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Akıncı was “unreliable” and accused him of “supporting terrorism.”

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