Turkish Cypriot leader slams remarks on resistance group

Turkish Cypriot leader slams remarks on resistance group

Turkish Cypriot leader slams remarks on resistance group

The Turkish Cypriot leader has slammed the remarks of a television presenter over the Turkish Resistance Organization (TMT), a paramilitary organization formed in 1958 in Cyprus amid the intercommunal conflict among Cypriots.

Speaking on private broadcaster CNN Türk on Feb. 10, Ersin Tatar said TMT was a “legendary defense organization for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [TRNC].”

“The TMT, which was established with the support of Turkey, has played a major role in bringing the TRNC to what it is today,” the politician noted.

Veteran journalist Ayşenur Arslan had criticized TMT on a newscast she hosted on the private broadcaster Halk TV on Feb. 9, saying that “it was an illegal, semi-official entity known for assassinations.”

Turkey’s Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) has launched an investigation into Arslan’s remarks.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik also lashed out at Arslan’s comments.

“TMT, which was fighting the most honest and legitimate struggle in the world against the massacre network EOKA, is a Kuvayi Milliye,” Çelik said, referring to the irregular forces that emerged after the occupation of parts of Turkey by the Allied forces following World War I.

TMT was active mainly between 1958 and 1974 in response to a real threat against the Turkish Cypriot community by EOKA, a Greek Cypriot nationalist paramilitary organization that fought for the island’s union with Greece.