Eight suspects arrested in murder case of Turkish-Armenian journalist Dink
ISTANBULEight suspects, including police and journalists, were arrested on March 28 on charges related to the murder of prominent Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Although Ogün Samast has been convicted of pulling the trigger, the case has been re-investigated several times amid allegations that police conspired to permit Dink’s killing to occur.
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued warrants on March 21 for the detention of eight people in the ongoing investigation for publishing provocative photos with the convicted murderer after the 2007 killing.
Police detained journalist Muammer Ay and Murat Bayrak, Yüksel Avan, Birol Ustaoğlu, Yakup Kurtaran and Ahmet Çetiner in simultaneous operations conducted in six provinces.
The eight were sought for publishing images and footage of Samast in front of a Turkish flag shortly after his apprehension in the Black Sea province of Samsun.
Prosecutor Gökalp Kökçü from the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s Terror and Organized Crime Bureau issued warrants for the footage published on Jan. 20, 2017, which shows Samast in front of a saying by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.
“The homeland is holy, it can’t be left to its destiny,” reads the saying by Atatürk.
The prosecutor initially linked Dink’s murder case to the Ergenekon case, which was later dropped. A number of judges and prosecutors who pursued the Ergenekon case have subsequently been investigated due to alleged links to U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is widely believed to have been behind the July 2016 failed coup attempt.
In the note sent to the Court of Peace on duty, the prosecutor’s office said the footage of Samast with the Turkish flag “was designed to create a base for the Ergenekon operations by creating the perception that nationalists were behind the murder.”
The prosecutor’s office also demanded arrest warrants for Gülen, prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, lawyer Halil İbrahim Koca, journalists Faruk Mercan, Adem Yavuz and the former editor-in-chief of daily Zaman, Ekrem Dumanlı.
Öz is the prosecutor that carried out the Ergenekon operations, the prosecutor’s office also said.
“Some of the public officers who carried out the act of murdering Hrant Dink failed to prevent Dink from being killed in accordance with the [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] FETÖ armed terrorist organization’s aim by planning the act from the beginning and paving the way for it to be carried out …, supervising the act of the murder and failing to act despite knowing the potential suspects and those who carried out the murder,” the prosecutor’s office said.
Moreover, the office said an illegal bureau named C-5 was formed in 2006 in the Police Department’s Intelligence Bureau and that personnel not linked to the Gülen movement were dismissed from there. The bureau operated until 2012, the prosecutor said, adding that preparations for the Ergenekon case were made from there.
Dink was shot dead at the age of 52 in broad daylight outside the offices of the Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper Agos in central Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007.
Samast, then a 17-year-old jobless high-school dropout, confessed to the murder and was sentenced to almost 23 years in jail in 2011.
But the case grew into a wider scandal after it emerged that the security forces had been aware of a plot to kill Dink but failed to act.