A Greek Cypriot spy operating in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was caught after forgetting a radiotelephone in his hotel room, reports said Monday.
The suspect who marked military zones on a map and took pictures of the Karpaz peninsula in the TRNC gave it up when he forgot his radiotelephone in his hotel room.
Andreas Soutzis, who had previously participated in the Turkish-Greek peace activities, began to be tried in Famagusta on charges of espionage.
Soutzis, a power tool repairman in the Greek Cypriot administration, is a well-known name in Turkish-Greek bi-communal peace activities. Soutzis stayed at a hotel in the village of Mehmetçik on the Karpaz peninsula on Aug. 26 and then returned to the Greek Cypriot administration.
He began to be sought after when the janitor found a radiotelephone in his room and reported it to the police. The Greek Cypriot was detained while reentering the TRNC last Saturday.
During a search of his car, another radiotelephone identical to the one he had left in the hotel, many photographs, USB sticks, voice recorders and nine TRNC maps were found. It was determined that two military zones were marked on one of the maps.
Soutzis admitted that he took pictures of military areas he had marked in his initial interrogation. The Greek Cypriot, who was brought before the judge on charges of espionage in Famagusta, was detained for five days for investigation purposes.
The maps also include the Geçitkale military airport used by Turkish drones in the strategic Karpaz peninsula of the TRNC.
In his statement to the Greek Cypriot media, the Greek Cypriot's Turkish lawyer Öncel Polili pointed out that Soutzis was caught with radiotelephones that are subject to permission in the TRNC, and said that the mobile phone lines of the Greek Cypriot line do not work in the TRNC, that his client uses the radiotelephone to communicate with his friends and that he does not know that it is subject to permission.
The Greek Cypriot administration's foreign ministry demanded the United Nations to step in for the release of Soutzis. U.N. spokesperson Aleem Siddique stated that they are in contact with the Greek and Turkish sides on the issue.
Cyprus has been mired in a decadeslong dispute between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation led to Türkiye's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece and the United Kingdom.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the European Union in 2004, the same year Greek Cypriots thwarted the U.N.'s Annan plan to end the longstanding dispute.
Today, the Turkish side supports a solution based on the equal sovereignty of the two states on the island. On the other hand, the Greek side wants a federal solution based on the hegemony of the Greeks.