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Former Akinci adviser said he and his family came under intense pressure from Turkey in 2020

ali bizden
Ali Bizden

Ali Bizden, adviser to former Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, said on Saturday that he and his family were under intense pressure from Turkey, during the time leadership changed in the north in 2020.

Speaking to Yeni Duzen newspaper, Bizden, who has since 2020 been barred entry into Turkey for undisclosed reasons, said that his father-in-law in Ankara and even his 19-year-old son, a student in Turkey, have all been under surveillance by Turkish authorities.

“This process started with a phone call on the evening of August 5, exactly 68 days before the 2020 presidential election. A number starting with 0535 and ending with 44 called my father-in-law who lives in Ankara and said he was calling from the prefect’s office and that he wanted to discuss some issues,” Bizden said.

According to Akinci’s former adviser, later three men, who knew his identity details and a lot of personal information visited his father-in-law’s residence in the Turkish capital, a day after the controversial phone call.

Bizden said that a day after the call, three people from the prefect’s office showed up at his father-in-law’s house in Ankara with knowledge of his identity and other personal information.

“We know everything, we are the state, they said. Your son-in-law he is Akinci’s adviser. Akinci is on the wrong track. Call your son-in-law to Turkey,” Bizden said about the meeting between the three anonymous individuals and his father-in-law.

Bizden added that three people also claimed to have knowledge of his son’s home, address, and room number at the university he was studying.

“At first, I thought they were scammers. I didn’t take it seriously. However, I informed the ‘president,’ who told me to take the issue seriously,” he said.

Following his conversation with Akinci, Bizden filed a formal complaint with the Turkish embassy in the north. He was informed that they would investigate the matter, but never received any word about the results.

“My father-in-law then went to the police with a lawyer and filed an official complaint. It was put in the system of the Turkish Police directorate under the file number 202/927,” he said.

Bizden told the newspaper that a day after the complaint was filed, the police counterterrorism unit in Turkey took all the CCTV footage from around his father-in-law’s home, and then a few days later police informed him over the phone that there were no results from the investigation.

According to Bizden, the Turkish authorities claimed the mobile used to make the phone call belonged to a man named Levent and was found discarded on the border with Syria.

Bizden then described what happened when he attempted to go to Turkey nine months after the elections in the north.

He was informed at his arrival at the airport in the north that the decision to bar his entry to Turkey was taken on September 8, 2020, a few days after the incident with his father-in-law.

Bizden said that he attempted to wait out going to Turkey, as the issue was political.

Trying to visit elderly and sick relatives in Ankara in 2021, Bizden then filed an official request with the Turkish consul in the north to be granted access to travel to Turkey.

He said that the ambassador himself called and informed him he had received the application and that it would be filed with the necessary authorities.

Since, Bizden has yet to receive approval for his request to travel to Turkey from Ankara’s government.

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