Turkish Cypriots investigating 15 Greek Cypriot intel agents in espionage case

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This picture taken on August 31, 2018, shows a view of the equestrian statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, at the National Sovereignty Monument in the northern part of Nicosia in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognised by Turkey. AFP PHOTO / Amir MAKAR

Turkish Cypriot officials are investigating 15 Greek Cypriots whose names were found in the notebook of a self-confessed spy, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

Mehmet Besimoğlu, 70, was arrested on Aug. 29 after Turkish Cypriot police caught him taking photos of Turkish soldiers at the port of Famagusta.

Besimoğlu said he had taken 250 photographs for the Greek Cypriots and had been delivering the relevant intelligence to a Greek Cypriot agent.

According to the report, Turkish Cypriot officials have identified the Greek Cypriot agent who worked with Besimoğlu and are also investigating 15 Greek Cypriot names found in his notebook who are suspected to be members of the Greek Cypriot intelligence agency, the CIS.

In his confession, Besimoğlu told police he had worked as a spy for the Greek Cypriots for five years and was receiving money for the photographs he took of military posts and churches located in Famagusta.

The Demirören news agency reported on Friday that the court ruled to keep Besimoğlu under arrest in the latest hearing of the espionage trial.

Besimoğlu was withdrawing money from a Greek Cypriot bank before returning to the Turkish side of the island, using differing routes to cover his tracks, the report added.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) was declared independent on Nov. 15, 1983. Currently, only Turkey recognizes it as an independent state.

The latest attempt to reunify the long-divided Mediterranean island ended in failure in July 2017 after two years of negotiations.

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