A Turkish Cypriot businessman in the north was gunned down Tuesday after his convoy was attacked by assassins thought to be from the mainland, giving traction to a fugitive YouTuber mob boss who warned gangland turf wars in Turkey were now playing out on the island as well.
Halil Falyali, a well-known Turkish Cypriot businessman who owned a casino in Kyrenia, was a passenger in a car on Tuesday early evening as part of a convoy, with his family and children following in a separate vehicle, when he was targeted by gunmen who opened fire with automatic firearms near his residence.
The Gambino-style hit took place on a road east of Kyrenia after 7pm, with Turkish Cypriot police saying driver Murat Demirtas died at the scene. Falyali, who was fatally wounded, was rushed to the Emergency Room at a private hospital and then transferred to Near East University Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. No other victims were reported.
Last year Falyali, who was also known for managing virtual betting sites, was among individuals named in YouTube videos made by Dubai-based Turkish mobster Sedat Peker, whose extradition is being sought by Ankara on suspected ties with Fethullah Gulen, the US-based preacher blamed by Ankara for a failed coup in 2016.
Peker, who made several YouTube videos alleging deep state connections between criminals and politicians, accused Falyali of trafficking cocaine through people tied to high-ranking officials within the Turkish government.
The YouTuber gangster has also been sending out warnings to Turkish Cypriot crime bosses, while he also took credit for stolen private videos released on social media, showing politicians in the north in compromising situations.
“Cypriot politicians, those of you who supported a plot against me in Turkey by joining forces with drug lords and illegal bookmakers, you’re toast,” Peker previously wrote on Twitter.
Local media sources said the assassins were believed to have come from the Turkish mainland to settle scores, while police said reports of a specific photo on social media showing two men inside a vehicle as alleged suspects was not accurate, saying the two males were not involved.