A 65-year-old Greek Cypriot man who had been missing from his home since March 28 was found dead – apparently murdered – in the breakaway state as Turkish authorities stressed that the incident was not politically motivated.
Solomos Apostolides body had been found in a forest area near the Kyrenia to Kythrea road. A port-mortem in the north determined that he died from heavy trauma to the head and cerebral haemorrhage.
The findings were confirmed by a post-mortem carried out in the Republic by state pathologist Eleni Antoniou, who found that the fatal injury had been caused by a blow with a heavy object. The body was in a state of decomposition.
Turkish Cypriots officials were quick to stress that the case was not political.
In a statement on Thursday, ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay said that based on his briefing from authorities, the death of Apostolides was ‘unrelated to a political incident’.
He went on to convey his condolences to the man’s family.
Similarly, ‘prime minister’ Tufan Erhurman said police in the north had concrete leads. According to his information, there was nothing political about the killing.
Apostolides’ body had been identified by his son and was handed over to the Republic on Friday at around 11am.
A post-mortem had been scheduled for later on Friday. His funeral will take place on Saturday.
Apostolides, a frequent visitor of the north, was last seen leaving a casino in the north with a Turkish national, Erdinc Senturk, who was said to be in his twenties.
Senturk reportedly departed for Turkey the next day. Reports said he had been discharged from the army after completing his military service in Cyprus.
Turkish Cypriot media said the man was being sought in Turkey.
Apostolides’ car had been located last Saturday near a military area in Karavas.
Reports said his mobile phone had also been recovered from the location where his body was found. It contained photos of himself and Senturk, reports said. It was said that the two appeared to have been friends.
Apostolides, a retired non-commissioned officer, was a widower with two adult children.