Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika gives in to pressure, to remove ‘racist ape’ from logo, drops law suit against VOIS

TRNC newspaper Afrika owned by Turkish Cypriot, Sener Levent has finally decided to removed the racist ape logo from the newspaper's masthead following series of pressure from co-founder of VOIS-Cyprus, Emmanuel Achiri and other student groups. 

The issue of the racist logo, during the week caused serious tension between the TRNC student community and the chief editor of Afrika newspaper, Sener Levent after Emmanuel Achiri accused him of being racist for using such a logo which culminated in Sener Levent threatening to sue Emmanuel Achiri.

Following series of heated debate on the use of the racist logo, Sener Levent on Saturday announced that he was removing the ape image from the newspaper’s logo.

I will say ‘goodbye’ to my dear monkey and remove it from our logo, Levent wrote in his Saturday column, insisting that the logo at the centre of the controversy had been “designed without any malicious intent”.

Levent also noted that what had begun as a discussion with VOIS after it raised objections to the newspaper using the image of an ape on it’s masthead, had deteriorated “into a lynching campaign” since being  joined by “those who have never sympathised with the paper.”

The unfair attacks against Afrika stunned even our southern Cypriot brothers. They found these racist accusations very ridiculous. Even those who do not agree with some of our ideas rejected them, Levent wrote in his column on Saturday.

International Students Organisation VOIS co-founder, Emmanuel Achiri called the new development a step in the right direction but called on Sener Levent to also recognise his mistake’

The debate between Afrika and VOIS about removal of the ape from the newspaper’s logo has been ongoing over the past two years but intensified within last few weeks.

The newspaper established in 1991 was formally known as “Avrupa” (Europe) but was later changed to Afrika. Levent said the reason for the change in name was due to the many court suits instigated by the TRNC government against the use of the name Europe. We wanted to call it New Europe but we were told we could not do it” so he opted for Afrika. Levent had denied the suggestion that the logo has any association with simianisation.

The monkey in our logo derives from the image of the three monkeys who don’t see, don’t hear and don’t say anything. We wanted to have a logo that symbolises that we are different from those three monkeys — one that says we see, hear and say everything. That is why our monkey has open eyes, ears and mouth, he said.

Speaking on the issue in a Facebook post on Saturday, Levent said he will not be pursuing a case against Emmanuel Achiri.

There is no case, there won't be.. I gave up.. the reason I wanted to apply to court is that this link was brought to a very dangerous place.. such a turn and propaganda by itself. I wanted to take the issue to a legal ground for this... but unfortunately, a group with a lawyer among them and knows what it means to fight, took it as " silence.. Why? I am not a judge.. I am not a state.. I am just a journalist who is against the regime.., he wrote in Turkish.

He also denied a statement by Emmanuel Achiri that VOIS designed a log for him which he rejected.

A few words to Mr. Emmanuel.. He says they made us a logo and brought it.. It's not true.. They didn't bring us such a logo.. neither me nor any other friend... I saw this in their posts for the first time .. would i accept the punch logo if they bring it? No... Why? I don't like it because.. this doesn't fit the style and language of the newspaper...
And finally... Let me explain one more decision.. I'll say goodbye to my dear monkey after 18 years.. I'll remove him from our logo.. Not because of the wrong pressure, I have another surprise.. Be patient for a few more days...
Sevgili arkadaşlar, Buradan mesaj yazmak pek adetim değil, ancak görüyorum ki kaçınılmaz oldu. Maymun logosu ile ilgili...
Posted by Şener Levent on Friday, June 19, 2020

Great job by VOIS and Emmanuel Achiri, We hope he offers an apology too.

***Next is for landlords to to reduce rents and start accepting Turkish Lira.

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