A court in Istanbul ruled late Monday for the arrests of five suspects including infamous gang leaders implicated in the murder of Turkish Cypriot tycoon Halil Falyalı.
Mustafa Söylemez and his brother Mehmet Faysal Söylemez, who lead the organized crime group known by the public as the "Söylemez Brothers," and three other suspects were arrested as part of the investigation launched in Turkey after Falyalı's assassination in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) earlier in February.
Three other suspects, who were earlier detained in three separate raids between Feb. 9 and 17, were released under judicial control.
TRNC Police General Manager Ahmet Soyalan told reporters on Monday that three suspects were also arrested by Turkish Cypriot authorities as part of their investigation that shook the island nation. Soyalan noted that authorities confirmed the use of two AK-47 Kalashnikov automatic rifles, four cartridges, 39 bullets, a 9-mm handgun and 13 bullets, which were found in a creek located roughly 1 kilometer (0.62 imiles) west of the site of the assassination.
Casino and hotel owner Falyalı was gunned down near his home in Girne (Kyrenia) on late Feb. 8 in an attack that also killed his driver Murat Demirtaş. A well-known figure in the Turkish Cypriot business community, Falyalı was at the center of allegations regarding his leading role in the illegal betting businesses that he ran on the island, along with related money laundering claims.
Falyalı was also accused by fugitive Turkish mobster Sedat Peker last year in a series of videos, who claimed Falyalı secretly videotaped people staying in his hotel, including politicians, to blackmail them.
Mustafa Söylemez became a publicly known figure after his name was included in a report on the notorious Susurluk scandal of the 1990s, where a seemingly random traffic accident shed light on an alleged "deep state" of underworld figures, bureaucrats and police chiefs. Söylemez and his gang, mostly comprised of his brothers and relatives, had been subject to multiple trials over years on charges of murder, abduction and corruption in public tenders.