Authorities in the Republic of Cyprus are asking for the vehicle and personal belongings of Solon Apostolides, the Greek Cypriot who was killed in the north by a young man from Turkey who claims he acted in self defence.
According to daily Phileleftheros, police in the south has made a request through the bicommunal crime committee, to examine the car and other items belonging to Apostolides, so that they might build their own case file with scientific evidence.
The vehicle was found outside Kyrenia in the north days prior to the discovery of the body of 65-year-old Apostolides, killed by 22-year-old Erdinc Senturk who admitted he killed the man in self defence just outside Kyrenia.
Senturk, who is being held in a Turkish prison and recently tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide, maintains that Apostolides sexually harassed him, prompting the young man to react.
A whiskey bottle was found in the car while reports suggested the victim was not known to consume alcohol
It is not clear if Senturk will be handed over to Turkish Cypriot authorities, but officials in the recognised Republic of Cyprus hope to have the vehicle and belongings in an effort to give answers to many questions in the case, such as explaining the presence of a whiskey bottle in the car while reports suggested the victim was not known to consume alcohol.
The body of Apostolides was found two weeks ago in a forested area in the north just outside Kyrenia, in a state of decomposition. He had been missing for over a week, after his two children in the south contacted police on both sides of the divided island to report they couldn't reach their father by phone.
The two men had left a casino just after midnight on March 28, according to security camera footage and drove away in the same car, owned by Apostolides. Senturk, a 22-year-old Turkish national, said they were going to borrow money from a friend of the victim in the north.
According to Turkish press, Senturk said the 65-year-old man drove him in a secluded area under false pretenses and made unwanted sexual advances with the young man reacting by striking Apostolides in the head. He then fled to Turkey the following day but quickly surrendered to Turkish police when he learned he was a wanted man in Cyprus, saying he had killed the victim in self defence and had feelings of guilt.
Senturk also told authorities he didn’t realise he had killed Apostolides, with media reports saying he fled the scene in a panic. But questions were being raised in the media as to whether he knew he had killed the man, following reports that the head had been crushed severely. A third individual, a friend of Senturk where the young man went to get a change of clean clothes, was also named a person of interest in the case during the early stages of the investigation, but it is not clear if he had any role in the aftermath.
The body of Apostolides showed signs of knife wounds and blows to the head and some facial burns, while an autopsy by a Turkish Cypriot forensic examiner determined the cause of death was severe blows to the head. An autopsy in the Republic of Cyprus, prior to the funeral in the south, concurred with the finding that severe blows to the head had killed the man.
It was reported previously by some media outlets that Senturk was expected to be handed over to Turkish Cypriot authorities. But as extradition criteria are very hard to be met in Turkey, a transfer might not take place.
Senturk could still face justice in Turkey unless he files a motion to be tried in a Turkish Cypriot court.