After Turkish courts ordered the removal of website articles about businessman Yasam Ayavefe, his representative called on BIRN to delete its investigation into how the convicted fraudster bought his way to honorary Greek citizenship.
A representative of Turkish businessman Yasam Ayavefe – a convicted fraudster who was revealed in an investigation by BIRN and Greek media partner Solomon to have acquired honorary Greek citizenship via his political ties – has asked BIRN to delete its report.
He also urged BIRN to delete articles about cyberattacks that targeted the Balkan Insight website after the publication of the investigation.
“These kinds of posts affect the business life of my client [Ayavefe]. He has invested in so many countries and posts like this cause my client material and moral damage,” Bener Ljutviovski, who introduced himself as Ayavefe’s representative, told BIRN in an email.
His request for the removal of BIRN’s reports came after Turkish courts, in two separate judgments in Istanbul and Ankara, ruled that Turkish online media articles about based Ayavefe’s activities in gambling, crime and business in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey should be removed.
The Turkish court rulings said that Ayavefe’s rights had been violated by the articles, citing “the presumption of innocence”.
BIRN has confirmed that at least 114 news pieces about Ayavefe have been removed from Turkish websites as a result.
Ljutviovski also said that a case had been launched in Greece to ask websites to remove articles about Ayavefe, but after checking with judicial authorities in Greece, BIRN could not verify this.
Ljutviovski further claimed that Ayavefe won a case in Greece to have arrests removed from his criminal record.
He said that all this proved that Ayavefe “has nothing to do with these accusations” and that he was being accused “without any proof” of being connected to the DDoS attacks on BIRN’s Balkan Insight website and Solomon’s site after the publication of the investigation.
He called on BIRN to take down the articles in line with the Turkish court rulings although one of the judgments clearly stated that domestic courts cannot remove content of “foreign origin”.
“Please help us in this situation and let’s fix this without prolonging… We are open to suggestions from your side,” Ljutviovski wrote.
He appeared to offer BIRN financial incentives in return for compliance: “My client Dr. Yasam Ayavefe has advertising company, if you help us in this case we can provide advertising service to your organisation, so you can grow to bigger organisation. We would love to cooperate with you,” he wrote.
BIRN declined Ljutviovski’s offer and rejected his repeated demands to remove the articles about Ayavefe.
Ljutviovski sent a series of requests to BIRN, initially from an email address under his own name but then from an email address under the name Igor Stefanov.
BIRN and its Greek partner media outlet Solomon’s websites came under DDoS attack by hackers in 2022 following the publication of the investigation into Ayavefe and how he acquired honorary Greek citizenship.
Solomon said on Twitter at the time that honorary citizenship is “a state honour long reserved for those who have significantly promoted Greek culture”, but has been “turned into a golden visa scheme for those with deep pockets”.
The investigative outlet Inside Story first broke the honorary citizenship story in July 2022, triggering a fierce debate over Ayavefe’s suitability for such an honour. Inside Story also came under DDoS attack after publishing its report on Ayavefe.
Source : BalkanInsight