What the papers say
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.”