Two suspects released in Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink murder case

Two suspects released in Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink murder case

ISTANBUL
Two suspects released in Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink murder case

An Istanbul court on July 12 ruled to release two more suspects pending trial in the case into the murder of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007.

Then provincial gendarmerie commander Col. Ali Öz and then gendarmerie chief intelligence officer Metin Yıldız, both who served in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, were released conditionally and will be kept under judicial control, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The court based its decision on the facts that Yıldız was still on active service and there was no evidence linking him to the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, referred to by the authorities as the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

Gülenists have been accused of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

Meanwhile, Öz will be kept under house arrest, according to the court rule.

Some 85 defendants have been involved in the case, of whom seven are behind bars now and 10 have been on the run. 

Gülen and former public prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, who lives abroad as a fugitive, are among the defendants in absentia.

The next hearings of the case will be held on Sept. 24-28.

Dink, the editor-in-chief of the Istanbul-based Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, was shot dead at the age of 52 in broad daylight by an ultranationalist outside his office in central Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007.

Ogün Samast, then a 17-year-old jobless high-school dropout, confessed to the killing and was sentenced to almost 23 years in jail back in 2011.

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.

Hrant Dink, Ali Öz, Metin Yıldız