Turkey’s spy agency ordered the assassination of a dissident in the middle of London, newly uncovered official documents suggest.
Mehmet Kaygisiz, a Kurdish trade unionist, was shot dead at a café in Newington Green, north London in 1994. No one was ever charged for the murder, and police initially regarded it as a drug-related killing.
However, documents obtained by The Times suggest the killing was carried out by drug lord Nurettin Guven at the behest of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (MIT).
The MIT documents list Mr Kaygisiz’s name on a hitlist of people with links to the Kurdish PKK militia that was passed to spies by Turkey’s national police chief.
The Times says that rivalry between feuding Turkish crime families in north London was used as cover for the killing, and for the attempt on the life of another dissident, Nafiz Bostanci.
The Turkish transcripts claim MIT agents took Mr Guven to Ankara, the Turkish capital, to meet national police chief Mehmet Agar, who encouraged him to carry out the killing with the words: “Come on my lion”.
Turkish agent Tarik Umit, who was acting as Mr Guven’s handler, later relayed to his superiors: “He [Guven] went to the Kurdish neighbourhood in England. I called him two or three hours after our first call. He said: ‘My brother, I did it.’ I asked if he [Kaygisiz] is injured or something, he said: ‘No way. No one can save him.’ ”
In a further twist, Mr Umit disappeared in March 1995, with a known state assassin later confessing to his murder.
Before his murder, Mr Kaygisiz had been involved in smuggling Turkish Kurds into Britain as illegal immigrants, a practice often linked to the heroin trade.
The issue of Turkish immigration became a major topic during the recent referendum on the UK’s European Union membership, with fears that EU leaders were about to grant visa-free access to country’s 80 million inhabitants.
Turkey has threatened to refuse to implement a deal that would combat the ongoing migrant crisis unless its citizens are granted visa-free access to the open-borders Schengen Zone.
Speaking back in May, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “The promise that was made was for the month of October this year. I hope they will keep the promise that they made and close this issue by October at the latest.”