Greek station Antenna 1 is being sued by the Greek Cypriot community and Greek Cypriot diaspora organisations over choosing to air a Turkish television series that has caused the community psychological damage and pain.
The station has been accused of being disrespectful and insensitive for airing the series, Ezel, which is filmed in Turkish occupied Cyprus.
Cypriot lawyer Loukis Loukaidis, ex-judge of the European Human Rights Court, has taken on the case after his clients tried to speak with Antenna 1 to give them the option to take the show off air, but they refused.
In a letter to Antenna 1, Loukaidis said that according to the European Human Rights Court, and the condemnation of Turkey for violation of human rights of Greek Cypriots in the occupied Cyprus, Antenna 1 has been notified that this program has been insensitive and offensive towards the feelings of the Greek Cypriots.
He said they decided to sue Antenna 1 for conspiracy to cause damage to his clients, for illegal and damaging negative intervention to their human rights and psychological damages.
He said the show causes intentional harassment of his clients, even if that was not the purpose of the series. Loukaidis is taking this lawsuit to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. His clients are also seeking compensation.
Andrea Loizou, secretary, Cyprus Community of Melbourne and Victoria told Neos Kosmos that Australian Greek Cypriots “are in shock” and can’t believe that a Greek channel is screening such a television series.
“We’ve known for a while that Antenna and some other stations in Greece are televising Turkish serials, and we don’t like it, but in this particular case, part of it is filmed in the Northern part of Cyprus which is under occupation. So it’s showing parts that belong to Greek Cypriots and they have been built on and they’ve put these hotels and casinos on land that doesn’t belong to them and it’s shown all over the world.”
On 1 July, Greek Cypriots protested outside the Antenna 1 building in Athens which resulted in the management of Antenna 1 asking to meet with them. The first meeting was cancelled by the committee and postponed till 6 July. When they met, the demonstrators said the managing committee of Antenna behaved “atrociously”.
Loizou said that the Cyprus Community of Melbourne and Victoria has sent a letter to Antenna 1, the Broadcasting Authority in Greece, to Antenna Pacific and to parliamentarians that are involved in the Greek Cypriot community.
And it’s not just Australia, American Cypriots are the ones that brought Australia’s attention to this show. They have been emailing and sending letters to Antenna 1 and being proactive to get this show off air. At this stage, Loizou is unsure whether or not it will screen in Australia.
In a letter sent to Antenna by the community they stated that “each episode runs credits and acknowledgements to a regime and various organisations which are recognized only by Turkey and they owe their existence to Illegal Military Force. Any official recognition of this occupying force is in contravention of the United Nations Security Council resolutions 541/83 and 550/83 and Antenna 1 is doing this each time it runs one of these episodes. This is extremely provocative and offensive to all Greek Cypriots especially when this is promoted and televised by a leading Greek station…
“We ask Antenna 1 to join our struggle as Greek Cypriots rather than work against us by immediately cancelling the running of this show and reconsidering their current policy of televising such provocative Turkish programs on Greek television for as long as Cyprus is under occupation and Turkey unashamedly continues to illegally change the island’s demographics with the settlement of Anatolian settlers in the occupied territory,” the letter continued.
“If [Antenna 1] want to support what we’ve been fighting for and our struggle for 37 years it’s not something they should be doing,” said Loizou.
“At the end of each episode, the parts that are filmed in Cyprus have credits thanking the government in the Northern part of Cyprus and businesses that helped out in terms of filming for each episode knowing very well that the United Nations has denounced the government in the Northern part of Cyprus. Only Turkey recognises what they call the Turkish Government of Northern Cyprus. We are a bit amazed that something like that is shown,” she added.
Loizou said there is a call for the Greek Cypriot community to boycott all businesses and people that are involved in the filming of this show.