Turkish Cypriots want murdered journalist case reopened

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Revelations by a mafia boss that Ankara was behind the 1996 assassination of a Turkish Cypriot journalist has awakened memories of dark deeds in the Turkey-occupied north of Cyprus.

A convicted mob Turkish boss Sedat Peker, 49, now in self-exile in Dubai, caused turmoil after releasing a series of videos with revelations about many political figures in Turkey and their alleged shady activities.

With activities ranging from drugs, political assassinations, and rape, Peker fired mainly at ruling AK Party members.

He accused prominent members, such as the son of former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, of having connections to Columbian drug lords.

In one video, he talked about other officials directly involved in killing a Turkish Cypriot journalist portrayed as a traitor who “sold out” to the Greek Cypriots, daily Yeniduzen’s Kutlu Adali.

In the years leading to his assassination, Kutlu Adali was a well-respected journalist working for the left-wing Yenidüzen newspaper in Nicosia, writing daily in his regular column From Blue Cyprus.

While his early works, including his books and periodicals, were nationalistic, his latter contributions were critical of the then right-wing establishment prevalent in the north.

Adali was targeted by extreme right-wing circles that had regularly made threats against his life over his alleged connections to Greek Cypriots.

He was shot in July 1996 outside his home in the north with indications the Turkish deep state had been behind his assassination.

Peker claimed the assassination was orchestrated by the former Turkish police chief and interior minister Mehmet Agar and former head of the special police division Korkut Eken.

“They told me there was a man in Cyprus who was selling us out to the Greek Cypriots and to find two men (to kill him),” Peker said.

He told them he would send his brother, Atilla Peker, to do the job, but claimed his brother went to Cyprus but could not do it due to unforeseen circumstances.

Peker said Adali was later killed by another group of assassins hired by the Turkish deep state.

Peker said his brother was on his way to confess to his implication to the crime.

Turkish Police later launched an investigation with Sedat Peker, claiming that officers did not take a signed confession from his brother.

Politicians and officials in the north want the authorities to reopen the case into Adali’s unsolved murder.

They include Tufan Erhurman, head of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP), which owns Yeniduzen; Kudret Ozersay, the People’s Party (HP) leader and former number two of the Turkish Cypriot coalition under Ersin Tatar.

The Turkish Cypriot journalists association, the press workers union, Basin-Sen, and the teachers’ union have also called for reopening the case.

Former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat said it is an opportunity to resolve an assassination that had left its mark on the Turkish Cypriot community for more than two decades.

“Under the circumstances of the time, it was extremely difficult for our police force to investigate independently… It was known that the perpetrators had come from Turkey,” said Talat on Turkish Cypriot TV.

“Now, we should not miss this opportunity and solve the murder.”

When the assassination took place, the Turkish Cypriot ruling coalition of the time had already resigned.

Talat said the days ahead are crucial to bringing the perpetrators to justice; he expects all political parties, left and right, to take action.

Tatar, however, said that there was no reason for scaremongering over something reported on a video.

He is openly supported by Ankara, the ruling party AKP and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.