Presidency urges new trial in Dink murder
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The Turkish Presidency’s State Supervisory Council (DDK) recommended yesterday that top police and gendarmerie officials be prosecuted in the main Hrant Dink murder case due to their alleged negligence before and after the journalist’s 2007 killing.
The suggestion amounts to a non-binding call to the judiciary to restart the Dink murder trial and places the suspected public servants next to the gunman.
The DDK, which outlined its recommendations in a report released yesterday, also touched on the need to reform the secret services in order to have the ability to prevent the murders of key personalities or social unrest like the bloody incidents that took place in Sivas in 1993 or in Kahramanmaraş in 1978. “Hrant Dink’s murder must be evaluated as a whole, starting from when Dink was singled out as a target and threatened,” the 650-page report said.
An especially crucial section of the report reads: “Successive acts of negligence by public officials have not been probed as a whole. Different units conducted different probes into [these acts] in terms of authority and location … This method has resulted in not assessing the events as a whole, while also resulting in not prosecuting all claims together.”
Dink, an Armenian-Turk who was editor-in-chief of weekly Agos, was gunned down outside his paper in 2007 by an ultranationalist. President Abdullah Gül ordered the DDK to investigate the murder because the Jan. 17 verdict against the perpetrators did not satisfy public sensitivities.
According to the court’s verdict, Dink’s murder was not an organized crime despite serious claims that some public servants were “indirectly” involved. Ogün Samast, the gunman, was sentenced to life in prison, while Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel were acquitted on charges of being members of an illegal organization. Hayal was sentenced to life on charges of “instigating” the murder. The verdict caused a public uproar, and insult to injury was added when it was understood that the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court even “forgot” to announce a verdict on one of the suspects.
The DDK report is non-binding and will have no official effect on the proceedings. However, the Dink family has already appealed and the report sends an “advisory” message to the Supreme Court of Appeals for the annulment of the lower court’s decision.
Claims were directed at Istanbul’s former Gov. Muammer Güler, as well as the Istanbul Police Department’s Intelligence Director, Ahmet İlhan Güler. Accordingly, the Trabzon chief of police sent a report to the Istanbul Police Department to warn of an assassination plot against Dink, but Güler allegedly did not take it seriously. Attempts to investigate Güler after the murder have been blocked.
The report’s findings regarding the negligence of the Trabzon Police Department have been omitted from the file put on the web. This section includes the assessment of six important criticisms leveled against the verdict.
The report recalled that some police officers who arrested Samast immediately after the murder allowed him to be photographed with a Turkish flag as if he were proud of what he had done and described this as the “emergence of a marginal understanding.”
Noting that senior public servants had a direct affect in not protecting Dink before the murder even though they had received crucial intelligence regarding the impending danger, the report suggested that these civil servants should also be prosecuted.