Turkish Cypriot businessman Asil Nadir has sold his newspaper Kibris to a Turkish company with ties to Ankara’s ruling AKP party, reports in the north said on Wednesday.
In a letter published in the paper, Nadir announced his departure, stating: “Each investment is a flag and must be carried further, higher, passing from hand to hand. With this understanding, Kibris newspaper is on the verge of experiencing a change in a way that will remain true to the principles of its existence and publication.”
He added that he will be making investments targeting the economy in the north, but outside of Cyprus.
In a comment on the sale, newspaper Yeni Duzen and their columnist Cenk Mutluyakali said that Nadir sold the paper to Turkish company with interests in Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP party.
“Within the process of Turkifying half of the island, the media had always been one of the bastions that had not been conquered,” he said. “Some of Turkey’s businesses close to the AKP took over the Kibris Journalistic Group, as an extension of the policies of political, social, and cultural engineering and integration aimed at the island.”
Meanwhile, Avrupa newspaper reported that Kibris is said to have been acquired by a group of Turkish businessmen, who have investments in the occupied territories, and that an official announcement on the matter is expected within the next week.
According to the report the reins of the group will be taken over by the retired former general manager of Bayrak, Ozer Kanli.
Kanli recently went to Kibris’ offices and assumed duties and that his first job was to fire journalist Hassan Hasturer, who was high up in the group’s management pyramid.
Nadir fled to the north from the UK in 1991 for stealing £29m from Polly Peck, a textiles company which he transformed into one of the most successful British firms of the 1980s.
He remained there until 2010 when he returned to Britain to face trial. He was jailed in 2012 for 10 years
Nadir was then extradited to Turkey in April 2016 following a British government policy to remove foreign criminals to their own countries.
He was released after reportedly spending less than 24 hours in a Turkish prison and returned to Cyprus.
During his trial, investigators told the court they had questioned the current Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar over a document he had torn up.
Tatar told police it was related to money transfers to the north and he didn’t want them to find it in his possession.
Prosecutors told the court that the torn pieces of paper were reassembled by police.
They showed the name and address of Ersin Tatar and details from Barclays bank statements and references to financial transfers to Impexbank in 1990, a Turkish bank purchased in 1988 by Nadir.
In an interview with Yeni Duzen in 2011, Tatar said the money transfers were done on the instruction of Nadir whom he trusted.