Akinci calls for probe into 1996 journalist killing

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Former Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci added his voice to prominent political leaders in the north demanding an inquiry into the 1996 assassination of a journalist allegedly carried out by Turkey’s deep state.

Revelations by a mafia boss Sedat Peker that Ankara was behind the 1996 murder of Kutlu Adali has awakened memories of dark deeds in the Turkey-occupied north of Cyprus.

In an interview with a Turkish media outlet, Akinci demanded that closure be given to the case for which public opinion is convinced that Adali assassination was political, orchestrated by Turkey.

Convicted Turkish mob boss 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 deals.

In one video, he talked about 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.

He was shot in July 1996 outside his home in the north with indications Turkey’s deep state was behind the killing.

Akinci said an investigation needs to be carried out, focusing on the names given by Peker. 

He refuted arguments that Greek Cypriots were involved in Adali’s death.

“No one in north Cyprus believed that Greek Cypriots had anything to do with the assassination. 

“The only one who had have said something like this was then Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and army officers who were in key positions at the time,” said Akinci.

Incumbent Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar believes there was no reason for scaremongering over something reported on a video. 

He was supported by the ruling coalition’s leader Ersan Saner who claimed there was an effort to politicise the agenda in the north.

Kudret Ozersay, the People’s Party (HP) leader, has asked the police to appoint an investigator for Adali’s case.

A prominent lawyer in the north, Huseyin Celal, said the chief of police Ahmet Soyalan should be questioned as he “knows everything about the case”. 

Soyalan was the investigating prosecutor when Adali was shot down.

Adali was seen as a threat as he was critical of the right-wing status-quo in the north.

In the years leading to his assassination, 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 right-wing establishment prevalent in the north.

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

Mafia boss Peker claims the assassination was planned 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 complete the mission due to unforeseen circumstances.

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

Drug, money laundering ring

Akinici said Peker’s claims the north is implicated in a huge drug ring “is the biggest harm that has befallen Turkish Cypriots”.

“The northern part of Cyprus has become a place of dirty connections. 

Gambling clubs, betting shops and strip clubs are not necessary for tourism and the development of the Turkish community. 

“Cyprus with its climate, history and culture, beautiful and natural beaches, its Mediterranean cuisine and beauties have the potential to become a real tourist paradise,” Akinci said.

Peker named Turkish businessman Halil Falyali, being behind a drug trafficking ring and money laundering in the north.

Falyali is wanted by the United States since 2016 for money laundering and drug trafficking offences. 

Akinci claims that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party intervened in the recent elections to elect a Turkish Cypriot leader. 

He argued that the Turkish Embassy in the north was the electoral headquarter for his opponent and UBP leader Ersin Tatar.

“For Turkey’s leadership, northern Cyprus is nothing more than just another district. This is what their actions and statements indicate.”