Four middle-aged siblings living together in the same home in Istanbul’s Fatih district died of cyanide consumption, according local news reports on Thursday.
The siblings, two brothers and two sisters, were identified as 48-year-old Cüneyt Yetişkin, 54-year-old Oya Yetişkin, 56-year-old Yaşar Yetişkin and 60-year-old Kamuran Yetişkin.
Neighbors reportedly alerted police when they saw a note on the Yetişkin’s door that said “attention, there is cyanide inside.” Police entered the home and found the dead bodies of the four siblings. Initially it was thought that they had committed suicide by swallowing large amounts of depressants, the autopsy results indicated that the deaths were due to cyanide poisoning.
While some reports have described the incident as a collective suicide, according to others, Oya Yetişkin was the last of the siblings to die, which has led to speculation that she poisoned her siblings by putting cyanide in their fruit juice, and killed herself last.
One psychiatrist who spoke to the Habertürk daily said that the deaths could not have been a group suicide, while another psychiatrist said that it was possible that it could have been, but without previously seeing or treating the siblings, to classify it as such would be merely presumptive.
Police who entered the apartment reportedly felt the effects of the odor of the cyanide.
According to the owner of a market below the building where the Yetişkins lived who spoke with the BBC’s Turkish service, Oya Yetişkin normally did the family’s shopping and paid their debts to the store every month, but had been unable to do so for several months, resulting in debts worth a total of 2260 TL.
“She was going to pay her debt on Friday, but was unable to, and said that her salary was being garnished. Whilst shopping on Monday, she said that she was going to pay her debt the following day. When she didn’t come by we got worried, and suspicious when she didn’t pick up the phone. We went up and looked and then called the police,” said market owner Yusuf Deniz.
The siblings were reportedly also in significant debt left behind by their mother, who had passed away three years earlier. Two of them were employed while the other two were not. One of the siblings suffered from epilepsy.
Performance artist Serpil Alkan, who knew Cüneyt and Oya Yetişkin for over 30 years, said that they had been facing financial difficulties and taking antidepressants for quite some time.
“They were trying to pay off their mother’s debt for a long time, and Oya was carrying the economic load of her entire family on her shoulders. There were also problems at her place of employment,” Alkan told BBC Turkish.
The electricity of the siblings’ home was cut after they were unable to pay their debt to the BEDAŞ company of 607 TL for two months, reports indicated.