Twenty-five years after the riots of 1996, the then commander of the Turkish army’s special forces in the occupied territories of Cyprus, Hasan Kundakci, admitted that he ordered the assassination of Greek-Cypriot hero Solomos Solomou.
Speaking recently with Turkey’s Sozcu newspaper, Kundakci admitted that he was the one who ordered the murder of Solomou, at an August 1996 rally in Cyprus against the unlawful Turkish occupation of the northern third of the island.
The Assassination of Solomos Solomou and Tasos Isaak
It all began in August 1996, when tensions between the Greek and the Turkish side of the island of Cyprus were at their pick.
Anastasios “Tasos” Isaak was a Greek Cypriot refugee from the occupied territories of Cyprus who participated in an August 11, 1996, civilian demonstration in Deryneia against Turkey’s military occupation of the island.
During a confrontation in the UN buffer zone between the demonstrators and individuals from the Turkish neo-fascist “Grey Wolves” group, Isaak suddenly found himself ensnared in barbed wire. None of his fellow protesters had noticed that he had been left behind the main group.
Soon, a large group of far-right Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot individuals ran toward Isaak and attacked him.
Unchallenged by the nearby UN peacekeeping troops -who had not been used to such incidents on Cyprus-, the Turkish officers continued brutally beating the protestor for several minutes.
By the time Greek Cypriots, aided by the UN peacekeepers, managed to drag Isaak away from the mob, he was dead. According to video footage that captured the attack, a number of Turkish Cypriot policemen were also seen beating him viciously.
Solomos Solomou was murdered just a few days later, on August 14, in the aftermath of the funeral of Tasos Isaak.
Solomou, Isaak’s second cousin, was shot and killed in cold blood by a Turkish officer while trying to climb a flagpole in order to remove a Turkish flag flying there in Cyprus’ United Nations Buffer Zone.
Kundakci admits he gave the order for the assassination of Solomou
”We warned him three times. He ignored us. I gave a final order to the commander of the area. It was clear what he would do following my order. I raised my hand and shouted fire,” Kundakci said in his interview recently.
”If the flag goes down we can not stop there. I do not want to be the commander who has let the flag go down. I am a man who is ready to die for the flag, who respects the flag,” the Turkish army officer said.
The entire horrific scene was recorded by nearby journalists and was broadcast live on television in Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey, as millions of people were watching what was going on in Cyprus at that time.
Solomou’s funeral, held on August 16 in Paralimni, was attended by thousands of people and it was commemorated as an official day of mourning in Cyprus.
Interpol has been demanding Kundakci’s arrest for years.