CPJ Condemns Bombing of Opposition Paper in Turkish enclave

New York, May 31, 2001 — The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) today condemned last week’s bomb attack against the printing facility of an opposition daily newspaper in northern Cyprus.

On May 24, a bomb blast ripped through the printing office of the daily Avrupa, causing significant damage. Agence France-Presse, citing eyewitnesses, said unidentified assailants placed the bomb at the printing house gate and fled the scene in a waiting car. There has been no claim of responsibility, according to international press reports.

Avrupa is known for its criticism of the government of Rauf Denktash, leader of the breakaway north Cypriot regime founded after Turkey invaded the northern half of the island in 1974. Some 35,000 Turkish troops are stationed in the self-styled Turkish Federated State of Cyprus, which is only recognized by Turkey. The island remains divided into ethnic Greek and Turkish territories.

Avrupa has faced numerous legal suits over the years in response to its reporting. In July of last year, three staffers were arrested and accused of espionage. In November, Avrupa‘s printing plant was the victim of a separate bomb attack.

“CPJ condemns this deplorable attack and calls on local authorities to launch a thorough and transparent investigation,” said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. “The perpetrators must be brought to justice.”