The Arshimidis Affair and "Plunder" as a national spectacle

Investigative journalism uncovers trail of minority murder(s), followed by appropriation, plunder of minority business in Turkey

Just as thousands of documents and millions of pieces of data came to light when the Panama Papers were released, our Sedat Peker's tapes are not much less. The dominoes fall one after the other as you probe the slightest mention of any name in each video. Which journalist is connected to which mafia ring, which politician received money from whom or with whose power he was elected - all can be uncovered. Unfortunately, Turkish journalists cannot follow the road taken by international journalists' organizations in handling the Panama Papers. And what was that road?   

When the documents first surfaced, some 350 journalists banded together, appealed to the journalists' unions and formed a subordinate network that included international media outlets. The unions financially supported 350 journalists until they completed their research and published their reports, allowing an entire team to follow up on every single name that appeared in the documents. It was not an easy task, but what came out of these documents brought down prime ministers and jailed politicians. If only our unions could now do the same for the Peker tapes. For every video, each name mentioned, if investigated in depth, could bring to light documented evidence that would bring down institutions. So I settled on digging up, all by myself, the names in a field with which I am familiar Last week, I wrote about Levon Aslan Termendzyan (Levon Aslan Dermen). As new data surfaces regarding the Suren case and his relations, I will continue to monitor and write about it. But this week, I will bring up the Greek family on whose demise the "Pambikorens" [refers to Demiroren] are said to have made their fortune, a tale of generations that Peker refers to in his latest video, but has yet to address.

The Arshimidis affair and Papadopoulos          

The story goes that Yorgo Papadopoulos, owner of Arshimidis, one of Turkey's largest companies from the 1930s to the 1960s, was strangled to death by a team that included Erdogan Demiroren. This team and its circle of associates included just about anyone from politicians, police officers, members of the MIT [National Intelligence Organization], to prosecutors and colonels. These claims are not news. Mehmet Eymur at Nokta magazine and 2000'e Dogru magazine, and Mehmet Baransu of Taraf newspaper have brought them onto the agenda at various times. In fact, in 2000'e Dogru magazine, Irfan Tastemur, who now lives in London, devoted four full pages to an interview he did with a certain Ms. Inayet Esen, who, as he says, came to him at that time.

The Esen family and Islamized Greek relatives

What we understand from Tastemur's story is that Inayet Esen was actually a family friend of Yorgo Papadopoulos. When Yorgo's wife, Afroditi Papadopoulos was unwell one day and Inayet Esen's husband, retired colonel doctor Hayri Esen, treated her, they became family friends. When the Papadopoulos couple vanished, Inayet Esen intervened and pursued the case like an Agatha Christie detective. Yorgo Papadopoulos, of the central Anatolian town of Nigde, had a brother, Panayot, with whom he was not on good terms. Panayot was a Greek who (was) converted to Islam and changed his name to Huseyin Aslan. As my research reveals, his daughter, Zeynep Aslan, married to one Sitki Arabulan, first filed a lawsuit to prove her kinship with her uncle in the local court (in Adana, 1971) and then came to Istanbul to find and ask for Inayet Esen's help in claiming her inheritance on the grounds that Inayet Esen's husband was a retired military man and she could provide the necessary key figures who could intervene. In the last sentences of Tastemur's interview, in these inheritance cases, Inayet Esen says, "our share is 400 billion liras," from which we can infer that there was an understanding between the Esen family and the niece, Zeynep Aslan, and her husband, Sitki Arabulan. Esen mentions a ten percent share in her interviews with other newspapers during the same period. We can trace her share while being "plundered" by an ANAP [Motherland Party] politician or within the 120 billion liras they wanted to recover from the central bank by giving a chunk of her share to Idris the Kurd. Accordingly, at one point, Inayet Esen even approaches Idris the Kurd, who claims that he can collect the money, insofar as he makes an assessment of his future share and does indeed collect some money from the politicians involved, but he is never to be heard from again afterwards. It seems like the money in question is so large that anyone who is in a position to do so is pursuing to lay a claim to a share of it.

There are sources claiming that Papadopoulos owned many properties in Turkey, Greece, the US and Europe with a total value of three trillion liras in the currency of the time, which at the dollar exchange rate at the time amounts to $347,446,800,000. In writing: Three hundred and forty-seven billion - four hundred and forty-six million - eight hundred thousand US dollars.

And how did the murder take place?

Those who were to benefit from this murder joined forces. Vural Arikan, a former financial expert who went on to be a member of parliament for ANAP from Izmir and was later named the Minister of Finance. Necdet Cobanli, a lawyer who acted as legal counsel for a number of minority citizens in the 1950s and (conveniently) as legal counsel for the Arshimidis company. After the death of Yorgo Papadopoulos in 1967, the shares were legally transferred to a certain Lambo Filipidis, who had been working for the company for 40 years, but for some reason they were later sold to Cobanli. Erdogan Demiroren, an aide to Necdet Cobanli at the time. It is interesting to see that the trials of lootings that started with the 1955 pogroms and the following Greek property cases were handled by this duo. And by the way, Erdogan Demiroren has no qualification of interest in this matter. He is neither a lawyer nor a financial advisor. He studied at the Saint-Benoit high school and was at the time owner of a company inherited from his father called "Oto Kolaylik," which happens to make him a competitor of Yorgo Papadopulos' Arshimidis. Necdet Cobanli would later sell his shares in the Arshimidis company to Erdogan Demiroren's Oto Kolaylik. In 1982, MIT Undersecretary Burhanettin Bigali submitted an 11-page report to the General Staff stating that Erdogan Demiroren was involved in this assassination along with Necdet Cobanli. (Soner Yalcin also wrote about it in Sozcu on March 5, 2019) Adnan Baser Kafaoglu; a future politician from Yozgat, who was a chief auditor before this crime in 1966 and was appointed Director General of the Revenue Administration afterwards. I don't think I need to specify how all the handovers of Greek assets to Turkish property passed through his hands at that time. The team was in place. The Papadopoulos murder was committed after this. Which is not entirely clear, as the records from this period contain different information. According to the obituaries in the newspapers of December 13, 1967, he died in his hotel room in Geneva. Or was he murdered? Strangled with a necktie and then burned in Halkali, Istanbul? In an article appearing in the daily Son on December 16, Necdet Cobanli himself states that Papadopoulos died in Geneva and that his wife Afroditi moved to Greece. Unfortunately, those who investigated the case in 1982 and 1988 could not find any evidence of Afroditi or of any murder, either in Geneva or in Greece. There is, however, an interesting claim in the newspapers the following day, December 13, that Afroditi was murdered in the same hotel before Yorgo. And then there is also one Osman the electrician, who is the real triggerman, while the others are the so-called "instigators." But Osman has no last name...

This is what we gather from all the above;

As the year 1967 unfolds, an entire team comes together to carve up the assets that were violently plundered from a minority citizen, but they fail to draft a PR-savvy member to the team for their convenience. Among them are lawyers, financial experts, politicians and assassins, but no journalists. Then Demiroren thankfully took on that task, as well. He must have realized that if you have something to keep in the dark, you might as well own a newspaper…

When asked for comment, the elder Demiroren always refused to respond to the accusations, stating, "You don't respond to palavras." As you may know, "palavras," a word loaned from Spanish and Portuguese, translates simply as "words" in those languages. I suspect that the Demirorens do not feel the need to respond to those of us who utter "palavras" because they are confident that they have left no evidence behind. After all, the reports prepared on this subject in 1968 and examined by the National Security Council in 1987 at the request of certain military personnel are nowhere to be found. But words always leave traces behind them. In an article written by Mehmet Eymur, another MIT (National Intelligence Service) report from 1987 reads as follows on page 16:

“During the investigation on Dundar KILIC, (chairman of the MIT's Istanbul region) Nuri GUNDES, along with (Chief of Police) Sukru BALCI, Istanbul Governor Nevzat AYAZ and (nightclub owner) Fahrettin ASLAN, were implicated in extorting large amounts of money from non-Muslims, but this matter was subsequently covered up due to various motives. Cengiz ABAOGLU, Haci Ali ASLAN, a relative of Nuri GUNDES, and several other members of the MIT were also implicated in this affair."

It seems that palavras can also be documented...

Apparently, our national spectacle of "plundering" and fighting over whose property is plundered by whom pitted politicians, the criminal underground, and the MIT against each other in the 1980s. Just like the Sedat Peker affair does this time...

Who was Yorgo Papadopoulos?

Yorgo Papadopoulos was a Greek from Nigde. His mother was Mina Papadopoulos, but we cannot trace his father's name. When he was 10 years old, he arrived in Istanbul and started working in a company that sold phaeton parts before eventually joining to Arshimidis. Arshimidis was one of the first companies to sell bicycle and car spare parts in Turkey in the 1930s. They generated a substantial amount of income, especially from the sale of spark plug parts and tires. He ultimately became chairman of the board of directors of this company. He was fluent in Arabic, German, English and French, which made him an asset in international business relations. He married Afroditi and they had two children. One of them died of an illness, the other fell victim to an accident (what kind of accident, we are yet to discover).

The 120 billion that disappeared at the central bank

After Yorgo was murdered, all his money and assets were up for grabs. Everyone, including his relatives, went hunting for the inheritance. Even Panayot Papadopoulos' daughter, who until then had denied her heritage, filed a lawsuit in 1971 to prove her kinship. And she proved it. According to Inayet Esen's claims, an ANAP MP was asked to withdraw the 120 billion left in Yorgo's name at the central bank. There is a possibility that this ANAP deputy is Vural Arikan. But the MP, who was allegedly successful in collecting the money, kept it for himself instead of handing it over to the Esens. As in the Turkish proverb that translates as "the plunderer's plunder is to be plundered." Necdet Cobanli also sold his shares in the 1970s under pressure from Demiroren and moved to the United States, never to return. Isn't it like an Aghatha Christie novel with horror movie aspirations? And this is only the beginning...

To correct the mistakes made in the meantime in many newspapers and media outlets:

Not Yorgi Papadopoulos, but Yorgo Papadopoulos.

Not Afriditi, but Afroditi.           

The date of his murder is not 1988, but December 12th, 1967.

On a final note, let's list the people whose names are mentioned in the files and who were positively or negatively involved in the Archimidis case, in case any one of them still alive decide to speak out:

Hayri Esen, Inayet Esen, Vural Arikan, Erdogan Demiroren, Adnan Başer Kafaoglu, Necdet Cobanli, Osman the electrician, Sitki Arabulan, Panayot Papadopoulos (Hasan Aslan), Zeynep Aslan, Erol Erk, Basiler Barem Edem (company lawyer), Sukru Ergin (lawyer), Ahmet Ateşli (chief of the homicide unit) , Necdet Urug (Istanbul martial law commander), Sadettin Tantan and his deputy Mr. Hasim, Cumal Demirtel (deputy commander), Emin Albay, Saim Karabiber (National Security Council member at the time), Major General Riza Oncu, Barlas Dogu (ANAP MP), Semra Ozal, Ozdemir Pehlivanoglu (ANAP Izmir MP), Atilla Aytek (head of the Department of Smuggling), Faruk Metin (the head of the Central Financial Branch), Idris the Kurd (Idris Ozbir), Dundar Kilic, Fahrettin Altun, Arikan Beduk (then police chief), Kaya Erdem (ANAP MP), Mustafa Ercan, Mehmet Utku, Sukru Balci, Nevzat Ayaz (former governor of Istanbul), Cengiz Abaoglu, Nuri Gundes, Haci Ali Aslan, Ertan Sert, Turan Celik, Haluk Akder (died mysteriously in Yalikavak), Cengiz, Nuri, Ibrahim, Sahin Cizrelioglu, Recai Erikli, Yuksel Yalcinkoçak, Att. Mualla Selcuk Att. İlhan Sipahioğlu

You may not realize it, but there are names from all tiers of the state. There are so many of them... Which says it all...        


Nokta magazine , September 4, 1988

Hurriyet newspaper, December 13, 1967

Milliyet newspaper, December 13, 1967

2000'e Dogru, November 6, 1988, Irfan Tastemur

Sozcu newspaper, Soner Yalcin, March 5, 2019

Son Tv, May 30, 2013, Mehmet Eymur

Taraf, May 20, 2013, Mehmet Baransu

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