Mob boss named in Sedat Peker allegations shot dead in Northern Cyprus

Halil Falyalı, a mob boss known for his involvement with betting and casinos in Northern Cyprus, was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in the city of Girne on Feb. 8 evening. Exiled organized crime leader Sedat Peker had previously named Falyalı as one of the key actors in cocaine trade to Turkey.

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Halil Falyalı, a so-called businessman in Turkish Cyprus who allegedly gained massive wealth through illegal means, was killed in a drive-by shooting in the city of Girne. Falyalı is known for his involvement in casinos and betting and was named by mob boss Sedat Peker as critical to the drug trade in Turkey. 

Falyalı was killed when his vehicle was sprayed with bullets by automatic weapons near his house in Girne on Feb. 8 evening. He was severely injured and despite efforts to save him, succumbed later at a local hospital. Murat Demirtaş, Falyalı’s driver, died at the scene. The shooter remains identified. 

According to reporting by news outlet Haber Kıbrıs, Kalashnikov machine guns were used in the drive-by. Over 40 bullets were fired at the car in which Falyalı was driving. 

Two different vehicles were allegedly used in the attack. Following the news of Falyalı's injury, police increased surveillance on the road to Ercan International Airport, which could allow perpetrators to flee the island. One of the cars was an unidentified grey rental color, while the other was a white Nissan Note with the license plate PM 648. The second vehicle is allegedly registered to a woman in Nicosia. 

Falyalı is most well known for accusations mob boss-turned-informant Sedat Peker made against him in a May 2021 video. The video, the seventh that Peker released, detailed the cocaine trade to Turkey, allegedly overseen by former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım's son Erkan Yıldırım. Mehmet Ağar, a former police chief and politician involved in violence in Turkey in the 1990s, and Falyalı were also, Peker said, critical to the drug trade. 

Another man arrested for drug smuggling in 2001, Behçet Töre, previously said that he and Falyalı traded millions in drugs in the 1990s and laundered money through their casino in Turkish Cyprus. 

Falyalı had denied the allegations made by Peker. 

“Neither Mr. Binali nor Mr. Binali's son has ever come together with me in my life. We've never met. I don't know any of these people,” he had previously said. 

Falyalı was further accused of blackmailing politicians and money laundering by former Turkish Cyprus President Mustafa Akıncı. Akıncı said that the Turkish government protected him from prosecution. 

“Halil Falyalı has always been at the top levels of the National Unity Party (UBP) administration. It is known by everyone that he supported UBP with all his financial means in elections at all levels,” Akıncı said. The UBP is closely related to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Falyalı allegedly collected obscene tapes of politicians, including Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersan Saner, to blackmail them into allowing him to continue his criminal activity. Sedat Peker said that he was responsible for filming many of the tapes Falyalı later used against politicians. 

The leeway given to Falyalı is evident in his treatment after allegedly robbing, detaining, and beating an employee of one of his casinos. Falyalı was arrested for this on Oct. 15, 2021, and brought to the district court for sentencing. 

He was handed a 70-day pretrial detention order. However, on Oct. 20, 2021 after five days in prison, Falyalı allegedly suffered from a heart ailment and was hospitalized. By December, all complainants withdrew their complaints, and Falyalı and everyone implicated in the crime were released.