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Tatar embroiled in fresh bribery allegations connected to north crime ring

kibris postasi
Turkey's Former Vice President Fuat Oktay with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar (Photo: Kibris Postasi)

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar is embroiled in a bribery scandal affecting former Turkish vice-president and Cyprus problem adviser in Turkey Fuat Oktay, according reports on Tuesday that link Oktay to Turkish Cypriot businessman Halil Falyali.

According to allegations put forward by opposition Turkish and Turkish Cypriot journalists, there are suspicions that the circle of Falyali, murdered in 2022, bribed Oktay.

According to information from the Turkish Cypriot opposition news website Bugun Kibris and an audio leaked on the internet, Oktay received a ‘gift’ of $50 million from Falyali’s circle.

The audio surfaced on Youtube by the exiled Turkish journalist, Cevheri Guven. The Turkish government accuses Guven under the pretext of being a member of the Gulen movement, which is an Islamist fraternal movement led by Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim scholar and preacher who has been living in the United States since 1999. The movement is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, Pakistan, the breakaway regime, and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

In the audio clip, the voice of Cemil Onal, a person imprisoned in the Netherlands and formerly an associate of Falyali, can be heard.

Onal claims that the Falyali family handed over the 50 million to Oktay, with the mediation of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar. The ‘gift’ was handed over to the former Turkish Vice President in exchange for granting ‘immunity’ to the Faliyali family’s assets in Turkey, Onal is heard saying said.

Onal explained in detail how the money was transferred in instalments from the north to Turkey. Furthermore, he shares the information that the murdered Turkish Cypriot businessman was recording his meetings with politicians. The archive of the recordings was kept on an Israeli server, he added.

Bugun Kibris claims that Israel has files in its possession that implicate Turkish and Turkish Cypriot politicians in gambling and prostitution rings in the north.

According to the report, the website contacted the wife of Falyali, Ozge Falyali, who said: “We are on a New Year’s holiday with the children. I didn’t listen to the recording. Let’s listen to it and talk, I will call you soon. I wish everyone a happy new year.”

The website noted that Oktay and Tatar have not commented confronted with the new revelations.

Following the revelations, opposition parties in the north and union leaders have condemned the reported actions by Tatar.

Kudret Ozersay, from the HP party, said: “It is clear that no one will dare to speak. The politicians involved [in the allegations] and have positions in our country must answer to the allegations.”

The head of the primary school teachers’ union (KTOS), Burak Mavish said the news has spread about the bribe. He added that the ‘government’ must answer.

He questioned if involvement in elections in the north had to do with establishing a crime ring.

Falyali was gunned down in February 2022, while being driven home, and later succumbed to his injuries in hospital. His driver also died in the attack.

The well-known businessman’s funeral was held in the presence of hundreds of mourners. His gangland-style execution created a stir in the north and beyond, giving way to speculation about Falyali’s alleged links to the underworld.

Several reports in the media place Falyali at the head of a gambling empire in the north, through which he amassed powerful connections related to illegal gambling that may have led to his murder.

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