He has shamed us: uncles of Turkey murder accused apologise
Two uncles of the Turkish waiter accused of stabbing two Northern Ireland women to death have apologised on behalf of their family for the murders.
Recep Cetin, who claims to be 17 but whose age is in dispute, is in custody charged with the murders of Marion Graham (54) and Kathy Dinsmore (53).
The two friends, from Newry, were on holiday in the popular Kusadasi tourist region when they were killed in August last year.
Both women were stabbed multiple times in a remote forest near the city of Izmir.
Recep Cetin, who was in a relationship with Ms Graham's 15-year-old daughter Shannon, has admitted the killings.
His father Eyup is also in custody after a mystery witness came forward to place him and his car at the murder scene.
A judge dramatically ordered his arrest in court last week, saying he did not believe Recep carried out the killings alone.
In an exclusive interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Recep's uncles Necmettin and Necati Cetin began with an apology to the Graham and Dinsmore families for his actions.
They said that since the murders he has been literally disowned by the family, and no-one has been to see him in prison apart from his father.
Family spokesman Necmettin said: "His actions have ruined our lives. We are ashamed of him and never want to see him again.
"If he was to die in prison it would make no difference to us."
The family say they are under constant suspicion and their livelihoods running shops in the tourist region are being ruined because of the murders.
They said it would have been better if Recep had "killed himself" and let the two women live.
They think he may have killed them because he believed Ms Graham was trying to put an end to the relationship.
The two men said they were hopeful their brother would soon be released as he had nothing to do with the murders, and were sure forensic tests would exonerate him.
A bone marrow test has been ordered to establish Recep's exact age as he claims to be 17 and is being tried as a juvenile. The families of the victims believe he is in his early 20s. If this is proved to be the case he would face a much stiffer sentence.
The confusion arises as in many parts of Turkey births are registered late or sometimes not at all.
The Cetin family says that he is no more than six months older than the date on his birth certificate.
Necmettin agreed he looked much older than his age, but explained that he went to the gym a lot and was of a big build.
"He is as strong as three men," he said.
The two men said Recep had met Shannon three years previously when she was just 13 and had become infatuated with her and skipped school just to be with her. They said from then on whenever she was in Turkey they were inseparable, and he had left school to go and work in a restaurant.
He had saved to buy a car, which was the vehicle used in the murders.
The family said his father also had use of it, which is what linked him to the murder scene.
Necmettin said that the two families got along well until the Cetins became disturbed at the intensity of the relationship between the pair.
He claimed that on more than one occasion he pleaded with Marion Graham to take Shannon back to Ireland as the relationship was becoming a problem.
He said that in the months running up to the time of the murders he could see a change in Recep's demeanour and he was becoming more aggressive, even towards his friends.
Mr Cetin recalled the events on the day of the murder.
He said that the first time he heard of the killings was a telephone call from a friend who said that Recep was in the police station for murdering two women.
He went to the station and saw Shannon and Recep sitting on a bench together in the waiting room.
"When I asked him about what happened, he told me that as they were passing the Tansas Supermarket a black minibus with a 34 plate (Istanbul-registered vehicle) blocked the road in front of him. He said men from the van jumped out and as he tried to stop them they cut his hands with knives and they kidnapped the two women and drove away in the van."
A short time after this statement Recep was arrested for the murders, and Mr Cetin said he has not seen him since.
Asked how his brother was involved, Mr Cetin said that following the stabbings Recep returned to his father's shop on the outskirts of Izmir and told of what he had done.
"On hearing this, his father went with him to the forest to see if he could help the women," Mr Cetin said. "He thought that if they were still alive he could get them to hospital."