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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03ISTANBUL1579 2003-10-27 05:58:00 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Istanbul
Cable title:  

TWO MURDERS, THREATS SHAKE ISTANBUL JEWISH

Tags:   KCRM PGOV PHUM TU 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISTANBUL 001579 

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/20/2013
TAGS: KCRM PGOV PHUM TU
SUBJECT: TWO MURDERS, THREATS SHAKE ISTANBUL JEWISH
COMMUNITY


Classified By: Consul General David L. Arnett for reasons 1.5 (d).




1. (C) Summary: A recent extortion campaign against members
of a Jewish retirement home's board of directors has shaken
Istanbul's Jewish community. One of the board members, Yasef
Yahya, was killed on August 22 at his office. Starting three
weeks ago, other members of the board have been contacted
with demands for large sums of money. Another Jewish
businessman, Mois Konur, was killed on October 8, in what
appears to be an unrelated incident. Police believe the
killings were criminal rather than political. End Summary.


Retirement Home Killing and Extortion


--------------------------






2. (U) On August 22, a 39-year-old Jewish dentist, Yasef
Yahya, was killed in his office in Sisli, in central European
Istanbul. Yahya was a member of the board of directors of a
Jewish retirement home, a member of B'nai Brith, and a
regular attendee at the Haskoy synagogue. According to press
reports, Yahya was killed "execution style," with a single
bullet to the head. Police report that Yahya was found with
a woman's stocking stuffed in his mouth, and his briefcase
and cell phone were missing. However, Yahya's wallet,
containing TL 43 million (USD 31) and his watch were still on
the body.




3. (C) Starting on September 26, another member of the board
of directors of the same retirement home, Jaki (or Zeki)
Kaziz began receiving threatening phone calls. In
conversation with Lina Filiba, Vice President of the Jewish
Community's Lay Council, Poloff learned that calls were all
made from a single cell phone number (90-555-512-4765).
Kaziz was told that he had to pay one million euros, later
reduced to USD 500,000. As a means of showing how serious he
was, the caller told Kaziz to look at
"yahya2010@hotmail.com," using password "5555." According to
Filiba, in the e-mails were personal details about Yahya,
including credit card numbers. Several threatening e-mails
came from "efraim@hotmail.com."




4. (C) Threatening calls were also made to the office of the
president of the retirement home board, Yasar Natan. Natan
recently died, however, and his son spoke with the caller.
Again, the caller made threats and demanded USD 500,000.
Filiba said a third member of the board was contacted at
home, and the caller said his name was "Murat Velioglu."




5. (C) The Jewish Community has shared all information with
the Istanbul police regarding this case. All families of the
retirement home board members are now in hiding, and change
residence weekly. Jewish Community Lay Council President
Bensiyon Pinto has spoken directly with both the Minister of
the Interior and PM Erdogan about the case. The Israeli
Consul General was also informed of the situation.


Caterer killed


--------------------------






6. (C) Meanwhile, in an apparently unrelated incident, Mois
Konur, a 29-year-old caterer was killed while walking on the
street on October 8. According to Jewish Community contacts,
Konur may have had past interaction with organized crime in
Turkey, possibly including unpaid debts. Konur's family was
unaware of any prior threats to him or of the retirement home
case in general. While Israeli and French press have
reportedly linked the two killings, Jewish Community
contacts, and the Istanbul police, believe they are separate.


Pattern of Anti-Jewish Violence?


--------------------------






7. (C) In a discussion following the death of Yahya with
other Jewish small business owners, some community members
noted that it is not uncommon for Jewish small business
owners to be threatened, particularly by "MHP supporter
types." Small time threats for protection money are "common
for our doctors," according to Filiba. However, small
business owners noted in the same conversation that similar
threats do occur with their Turkish colleagues as well.


Comment


--------------------------






8. (C) At this point, the cases appear to involve extortion
and organized crime. Post will continue to monitor them,
however, and report if any linkage to larger political
motivations or groups which may have an anti-semitic agenda
is discovered.
ARNETT