Fugitive alleged Gülenist officer who sought asylum in Greek Cyprus leaves island
A former naval officer who had been sought over alleged links to the Gülen network, accused of masterminding last year’s failed coup attempt in Turkey, has left Greek Cyprus after requesting political asylum on the island, an official source told Agence France-Presse on Oct. 27.
Former Naval Captain Kadir Karaman and his Kazakhstani-origin wife Nina Pozhidaeva had arrived at the Larnaca marina from the southern province of Mersin in their luxury yacht named “Sanchez” on Oct. 1, requesting asylum on the grounds that they were being persecuted in Turkey.
The couple had been staying on the yacht at the marina under police surveillance, but an official source said they have now departed the island.
The Greek Cypriot government previously tried to handle the Karaman matter under the radar due to its sensitivity.
When asked by reporters about the issue earlier this month, government spokesperson Nicos Christodoulides said he did not comment on “matters of national security.”
The case of Karaman is thought to be the first time that a member of the Turkish Armed Forces has ever requested asylum in Greek Cyprus.
Karaman’s identity had been revealed when he held a public phone conversation with one of sought “secret imams” of the network, as a part of an İzmir-based operation into the Gülen network.
Police had conducted searches inside his residence following an immediate detention warrant, but Karaman had left the Mersin port along with his wife on board the 10.5 meter yacht.
After arriving at Larnaca one day later, Karaman had sought political asylum on the island, telling the Greek Cypriot police that he was being sought over links to the Gülen network.