Hrant Dink murder was deliberately permitted, says former police intelligence branch head
ISTANBULAli Fuat Yılmazer, the former head of Turkey’s police intelligence branch, has given his testimony in the 31st hearing into the 2007 killing of Armenian-origin Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, saying the killing was “deliberately not prevented” and security authorities in Istanbul and Trabzon were responsible.
“This murder was made possible on purpose and Dink was the victim of the killing. The police are guilty of misconduct on duty. The state did not carry out its duty,” said Yılmazer.
“In terms of numbers, there is an organizational connection behind this murder. Most importantly it has coordination within the state. The mechanisms within the state did not move to protect Dink,” he added.
Yılmazer also said the earlier investigation into the killing “were closer to justice” and those arrested had been “silenced.”
Noting that the killing was planned in the Black Sea province of Trabzon before being committed in Istanbul, Yılmazer said Dink was murdered due to lack of measures that should have been taken in Istanbul. He said officials in Istanbul had a duty to take Dink under protection like Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish novelist who was given security protection and who was tried under the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code against “insulting Turkishness.” Dink was also convicted of the offense before his death.
In his testimony, Yılmazer denied claims that he was the instigator of the murder, saying he had “no connection” with the Trabzon authorities and in fact he had never even been to the Black Sea province. He also alleged that Engin Dinç, former Trabzon police intelligence branch chief, had such connections as he had spoken with the gendarmerie on the issue.
Dink, 52, was shot dead with two bullets to the head in broad daylight outside the offices of the Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper Agos in central Istanbul.
Trabzon-based Ogün 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 security forces had been aware of a plot to kill Dink but failed to act.
Relatives and followers of the case have long claimed government officials, police, military personnel and members of the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) played a role in Dink’s murder by neglecting their duty to protect the journalist.
Turkey’s top court in July 2014 ruled that the investigation into the killing had been flawed, paving the way for the trial of the police officials.
In January 2016, the Supreme Court of Appeals ruled to tie the main case into Dink’s murder and prosecution into the public officers’ negligence to prevent the killing of Dink.