Court’s verdict on Dink murder raises eyebrows

Court’s verdict on Dink murder raises eyebrows

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Court’s verdict on Dink murder raises eyebrows

Hundreds of people imcluding friends and supporters as well as journalists protested the court decision on Tuesday, throwing slogans ‘this case will not be over.’ Daily News Photo, Emrah Gürel

Outcry in many quarters was raised by the verdict issued by an Istanbul court on Jan. 17 in the case of Hrant Dink, five years after the Turkish-Armenian journalist was murdered before the offices of the weekly Agos.

 “All the suspects were acquitted of charges [pertaining to the existence of] an organization [behind the crime,] despite the fact that all the evidence demonstrates this incident was an organized crime,” Cem Halavurt, one of the Dink family’s lawyers, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Even though the court’s detailed ruling is set to be announced a month from today, all our appeals will be blocked by the court’s decision indicating there was no organizational structure behind the crime, he added.

“[Police informant Erhan] Tuncel was not even found guilty of the charge of murder; he was merely sentenced in relation to the McDonalds bombing and acquitted from the charge of membership in a [terrorist] organization. Even though [instigator Yasin] Hayal was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment, he too was acquitted of the charge of membership in a [terrorist] organization.” Cem Halavurt said.

The Prime Ministry Inspection Board had undertaken work to shed light on Dink’s assassination but to no avail, Halavurt said.

“The board failed to make progress due to political manipulation and internal strife. Perhaps it did not want to make progress,” he added.


Our conscience does not approve of the court’s verdict, Oral Çalışlar, a columnist for the daily Radikal who has been following the case since its inception, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“‘It is the same power who wants to kill both Hrant and me,’ the prime minister said. The government ought to assume an attitude to ascertain this power. The prime minister issued a promise to the Dink family. More importantly, however, it ought to be the duty of a state of law to uncover the guilty parties,” Oral Çalışlar said.

Baruyr Kuyumcuyan, the chief editor of the weekly Agos, also referred to the Jan. 17 verdict as a “comedy.”

Dink was gunned down in front of Agos, his weekly Turkish-Armenian newspaper, on Jan. 19, 2007.
The court refused to connect Dink’s murder to his identity as an Armenian and chose instead to see the assassination like other incidents involving the killing of Christians, such as the murdering of Andrea Santoro of the church of Santa Mari in the Black Sea province of Trabzon in 2006, the Zirve Publishing House massacre of 2007 in the eastern province of Malatya and the 2010 killing of Archpriest Luigina Padovese in the southern province of Hatay.

“All these murders were organized killings. It is exactly for this reason that none of the trials will ever be able to reach a conclusion. The acquittal of the suspects from charges pertaining to [their involvement in an organization] amounts to a scandal,” Eran Eriş, a case lawyer in the Padovese trial, told the Hürriyet Daily News.