Marion Elizabeth Graham and Kathy Dinsmore, both aged 54 and from Newry, Co Down, were described as inseparable. They were found murdered in woods 120km north of Kusadasi.
It is understood a 17-year-old Turkish waiter, named as Recep Celik but known to the family as Alex, confessed to the killings after concocting a story about the women being kidnapped.
The two women suffered multiple stab wounds, including having their throats cut, and their bodies were found in a forest near a graveyard to the east of the port city of Izmir.
It is believed Celik had asked Ms Graham for her daughter’s hand in marriage but was refused.
The women travelled with Celik out of Kusadasi on Thursday after Ms Graham’s daughter Shannon went on a boat trip.
Raymond McGuinness, the girl’s father and Ms Graham’s ex-partner, said he was never in favour of the relationship since the two teens began going out last summer.
“There was always something that was not quite right,” he said.
The alarm was raised when Celik, said to have been in a distressed state, arrived for work in a Kusadasi restaurant.
He claimed he had been cut on his hand trying to fight off kidnappers who had bundled the two women into a van. They had not yet been reported missing from their extended holiday.
Mr McGuinness said: “He told Shannon that he had tried to stop the kidnappers and he had a cut on his hand and that’s how he suffered it.”
It is understood Celik had been involved in a separate row with Shannon’s mother last week.
Mr McGuinness is flying to Turkey today to bring his daughter home, along with her mother’s body and that of her friend.
Yesterday, Marion’s sister Monica Higgins called briefly to check on her sister’s home on the outskirts of Newry, just after being told about the murders.
“It’s absolutely devastating,” she said. “We’ve just found out. My mother’s in the car crying her eyes out.”
“We’re trying to work with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs to find out what exactly happened to her.”
Ms Dinsmore had been an employee of Newry and Mourne District Council. She also worked in a local cab firm up until last Christmas. Her mother died four weeks ago.
The two women had been regular visitors to Kusadasi for years, staying in an apartment owned by Mr McGuinness.
The blinds of Ms Graham’s Newry home were drawn and the garden of the mid-terraced house overgrown, as she has been living in her second home in Kusadasi for the last few months.
Her neighbours in Toragh Park, a quiet estate on the outskirts of Newry, said her love of the Aegean resort had drawn her to spend more and more time in the country.
SITUATED on the west coast of Turkey — 90km south of Izmir — Kusadasi is said to be one of the most attractive cities of the Aegean, as it is close to the most important ancient historical sites.
It has become a popular holiday resort, especially for visitors from Western Europe, most notably from Ireland and Britain.
It has about 64,000 residents — although that grows significantly, to more half a million during the high season months of May to October. This figure includes tourists, as well as hotel staff, bar staff, construction workers and drivers.
There is also a large foreign community living in the area.
The region has beautiful beaches, crystal-clear water and sunshine. But it is equally well-known for a thriving nightlife and, some might say, a seedy underbelly.
It certainly caters for the Irish, with a whole street — Bar Street — dedicated to Irish bars and clubs, many of which stay open ’til sunrise.
Crime in the region is, for the most part, petty theft, but there have been several murders in recent years.
In 2010, a British ex-pat was arrested for the murder of his Russian wife at their home in Kusadasi.
Although Turkish is widely spoken throughout the country, most people speak English in tourist areas.
Turkey is governed by secular democratic system. Of all Muslim countries — 99 % of the country’s population are Muslims — only Turkey is governed by a secular democracy.