Suspects Detained in Slaying of Prominent Jewish Couple in Istanbul
An Uzbek couple has been detained in the August 21st murder of prominent Jewish couple Jak Karako ( 77), and his wife, Georgia Karako (69) in their Istanbul apartment, Turkish media reported on Sunday.
The suspected murderers, Farkhodjon (28) and Gulbakhar Y. (27) worked as caretakers for the Karakos with whom they were said to be in a dispute over wages.
According to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News the suspects confessed to the murder to police.
The couple told police: “When we demanded our salaries that they [the Karako couple] have not been paying for the past two months, they said they would not pay anything, as they deducted the amount from the damage we caused at their house,” Hurriyet said.
The suspected killers were detained at midnight Saturday after fleeing the scene of the murder. A third suspect is reportedly at large but police have provided no further details.
According to the testimony, the pair were killed in the bedroom with a knife that was taken from the kitchen, the murder weapon was later discarded at sea. Police divers were able to recover the weapon on Sunday.
Turkey’s Daily Sabah reported that “Footage from police security cameras shows the Uzbek couple leaving the home of Jak Karako late Thursday evening with seven bags of luggage, suspected by police of containing valuable items.”
Following news of the murders on Friday, a source with knowledge of the community, who did not wish to be named, told The Algemeiner, “There is some level of mistrust against the government as a result on recent anti-Semitic incidents. Some believe that the truth about the couple’s murder will never come out, but it will be some manipulated version of what had happened.”
“There have been several reported murders of Turkish Jewish businessmen throughout the past several years, but these incidents were either never solved or were blamed on some small local disputes which the community always looked at with suspicion,” the source said.
“Karako was one of the founders of Ören Bayan, the most famous yarn brand in Turkey,” Hurriyet said. “Famous actresses, like Türkan Şoray, have played in the brand’s TV ads. Moiz Dana, the other co-founder, died while travelling to the United States in 2009. The sons of Karako and Dana had taken over the company from their father in the 1990s. The families later sold the company due to financial troubles.”
In recent years the climate in Turkey has become increasingly threatening for the country’s Jewish population. Various violent attacks on individuals have been reported and vicious anti-Israel rhetoric is widespread.
During Israel’s current Operation Protective Edge aimed at stemming Gaza rocket fire, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan compared Israeli actions to Hitler, and violent protests threatened the Israeli embassy and consulate.