What the pa­pers say

Cyprus Today - - OPINION -

THE “base­ball bat de­bate” was the topic of Kıbrıs ed­i­tor Ali Bat­u­ray’s col­umn on Tues­day. Peo­ple’s Party (HP) MP Gülşah San­ver Manavoğlu caused con­tro­versy this week in a so­cial me­dia post, in which she shared a pic­ture of a base­ball bat in her car, and joked that if crime rates con­tin­ued to in­crease, peo­ple should “take jus­tice into their own hands”.

The post “cre­ated a dis­cus­sion; some agreed with her but most of them crit­i­cised her”, wrote Mr Bat­u­ray.

“The rea­son for the crit­i­cism is that the com­mu­nity is wait­ing for the gov­ern­ment to solve these prob­lems, and that is what Manavoğlu is there for as an HP MP. Many peo­ple see her — an in­di­vid­ual in a gov­ern­ment party who stands in Par­lia­ment — as one of the peo­ple to solve the prob­lem, which is why her sug­ges­tion for the pub­lic to carry base­ball bats was not well re­ceived.

“She is a kind, funny, hum­ble per­son and even af­ter be­ing elected she did not change; she is as we knew her. And I am sure that when she posted that photo of the base­ball bat, she did so in a sin­cere way.”

He added: “Ac­tu­ally, the ‘base­ball bat de­bate’ was ef­fec­tive in bring­ing the is­sue of ris­ing crime to the agenda.

“If only it hadn’t come to this. If only we could still go out leav­ing our doors and win­dows open. If only we could sleep with­out fear, count­ing the stars in our gar­dens or on our bal­conies, like the old times. If only we could re­turn to the days when we could leave the keys in the ig­ni­tion and the car un­locked, and re­turn to find it still there.

“Manavoğlu is also a Turk­ish Cypriot and it is only nat­u­ral for her to share the same wor­ries. I un­der­stand this. How­ever, peo­ple have elected her as a part of HP to end some of the chronic prob­lems, thus they can­not tol­er­ate it if a per­son they elected seems as help­less as they are . . .

“Rec­om­mend­ing the pub­lic carry base­ball bats puts both the Peo­ple’s Party and the gov­ern­ment in dif­fi­culty and can be per­ceived as ‘gov­ern­ment in­com­pe­tence’.”

Mr Bat­u­ray said the coun­try was “help­less” in its fail­ure to pre­vent a rise in crime which was “get­ting worse by the day”. “By say­ing, ‘If we do not pre­pare pre­cau­tions to re­verse this pat­tern’ in a plu­ral way, [Ms Manavoğlu] is also in­clud­ing her­self. She meant the whole gov­ern­ment should solve this prob­lem, but no-one saw it this way.”

The writer added ad­vice to the MP: “Yes, we have to pro­tect our­selves, but us­ing vi­o­lence against vi­o­lence is not for us. Be as­sured that peo­ple who have no re­la­tion to vi­o­lence, like me, would not know how to use a base­ball bat, or a gun ...

“Let’s sort out bor­der con­trols of peo­ple en­ter­ing the coun­try. Let us be able to iden­tify those among us flee­ing from the law. The state should pro­tect the pub­lic’s lives and as­sets. You fo­cus on those.

“We have no use for base­ball bats, guns or knives, nor should we have.”

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