Gunmen 'beat Turkish trader': Businessmen face extortion threats from a terror group. Asli Aydintasbas reports

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The Independent Online
SELAHATTIN Yatman, a prominent Turkish restaurateur, was attacked by 10 men as he returned to his north London home, in the early hours of 16 October.

The armed gang hit him with iron bars and he was told repeatedly by one of his assailants: 'Now you will pay.' Mr Yatman suffered a fractured skull, a broken nose and a fractured cheekbone.

Six weeks later, he has decided to speak out. He claims that he was attacked by members of Dev-Sol, a Marxist Turkish terrorist organisation, because he refused to pay it protection money.

The assault has frightened many other Turks. In Green Lanes, Stoke Newington, where Mr Yatman has his restaurant, people tell of blackmail, threats and violence.

Mr Yatman was first approached by Turks from Dev-Sol, selling copies of their magazine, Struggle. Dev-Sol representatives visit shops and restaurants asking the owners to buy copies of the magazine. One businessman said those who refuse to buy are threatened with violence.

Once they have bought the magazine, shop owners are subsequently approached by the same group for protection money ranging from pounds 500 to pounds 2,000. For some, this seems to be a weekly levy.

Mr Yatman was one of those who refused to purchase the magazine or pay protection money. The day before the attack on him, he had thrown the Dev-Sol sellers out of his restaurant. He was told by one that they would 'consult their superiors' and return.

This assault - and others which have not been reported to the police - has left many local Turks in despair. Some even talk of organising themselves to fight Sol-Dev.

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