Dink case challenges Erdoğan’s reputation

Dink case challenges Erdoğan’s reputation

METİN MÜNİR - mmunir@milliyet.com.tr
After the scandalous verdict of the Hrant Dink case was announced, the government, through its various spokespersons, gave three messages:

One: The public conscience is uncomfortable. We are also uncomfortable.

Two: Be patient. The matter is not over yet. When the case arrives with them, the Supreme Court of Appeals will give a very different verdict.

Three: Dink’s murder was an organizational job. This organization committed or tried to commit other murders against non-Muslims. Its aim was to put the blame on the Justice and Development Party (AKP). It wanted to create an impression that the party was hiding fundamentalist terrorists behind its moderate cover. Its aim was to discredit the government in the West.

In short, the government tried to say, “We are also victims and we are sorry but, as you know, we cannot intervene with the judiciary.” It tried to give these messages, but it wasn’t successful. It is impossible for it to be successful. Nobody is blaming the government for not interfering with the judiciary; its guilt is in not intervening with the police, with the intelligence organization and in not demonstrating the necessary attention to bring out the truth. In Turkey, judges and prosecutors are not as strong and independent as, for example, in the United States, the United Kingdom or Italy.

While in the West the prosecutor commands the police, in Turkey the police command the prosecutor. This is the truth in practical terms, especially in politically sensitive cases.

The judges are also bound to prosecute whatever is in the indictments presented to them. The government does not command the courts and prosecutors. But it does command the security forces. For this reason, it has its share of responsibility in the verdict the court has ruled. It could have put pressure on the police to provide that a more comprehensive and a stronger file be handed over to the prosecutor. It did not.

The government is still boasting about catching the murderer in 32 hours. This is not a matter to be proud of; it a matter to be ashamed of. Who was going to kill Dink and when it was going to happen were known by security forces days before the murder. If the incident was stopped at that time and the murder was prevented, then yes, it could have been a matter of which to boast. But it is not hugely ingenious to identify the assassin and then catch the killer.

This is what the government has to explain: Why isn’t the entire organization, the one for which the killer acted as a hit man, foiled and punished even if it is five years that have passed since the murder? What is the reason for the systematic reluctance on this matter?

This is the mystery that needs to be explained. Why is the government, which has filled the prisons with military officers and journalists and which is preparing to call to account [Sept. 12 coup leader Kenan] Evren – who has difficulty standing up – so shy against an organization that has conducted a series of atrocities against non-Muslims?

Why has the lion turned into a pussycat?

Protecting the criminals is as big a shame as blatantly condoning Dink’s murder. It’s an example of Turkey’s spinelessness. It will further damage Erdoğan’s prestige in the West, which has already declined. I hope he understands this and starts doing what needed to be done years ago.