Number one suspect in Dink case accuses three police chiefs

Number one suspect in Dink case accuses three police chiefs

Number one suspect in Dink case accuses three police chiefs

Erhan Tuncel has accused three former and on duty senior police chiefs. DHA Photo

A former police informant and the key suspect in the assassination case of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink has accused three former and on duty senior police chiefs over the murder.

Erhan Tuncel said the current Turkish National Police Inspection Board member Ramazan Akyürek, the Istanbul Police Department first class police director Ali Fuat Yılmazer, and the former Police Intelligence Bureau head Sabri Uzun were behind the killing.

“We are not facing policemen here. It is a crime network. I have been good to them, but their common trait is lying and misguiding the judicial authorities. Ali Fuat and Sabri Uzun did not report the assassination notice and compiled a false report. Ali Fuat and Ramazan Akyürek are at the top of the gang. They made me number one suspect and hid themselves,” Tuncel testified in the hearing, held at the 14th Istanbul High Criminal Court on Dec. 3.

Tuncel was an informant in the Black Sea province of Trabzon before the murder of Dink, the editor-in-chief of bilingual Armenian-Turkish weekly newspaper Agos, who was shot dead in broad daylight in Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007.

Tuncel testified that he had informed the former head of police intelligence, Ramazan Akyurek, of the plan to kill Dink, but his warnings went unheeded.

“I have no connection to the murder. I warned them. The murder could have been prevented,” he said.

The trial was postponed to Jan. 7, 2014 and Tuncel was sent to prison after the board refused his demand to be released.

A warrant of arrest has been issued for another suspect, Ahmet İskender.

Dink, 52, was gunned down by a teenage ultranationalist outside the Agos office in central Istanbul, in a killing that shocked the country.

Tuncel is seen as the key in linking the murder to the state institutions, as members of the police department in Trabzon, the hometown of the suspects, have been accused of failing to relay intelligence provided by Tuncel to the Trabzon Gendarmerie Command, in a report prepared by Turkey’s State Supervisory Council (DDK).

An Istanbul court in 2011 sentenced Dink’s self-confessed killer Ogün Samast, who was tried separately, as he was a minor at the time, to 23 years in jail.

A year later, the court sentenced the alleged mastermind of the murder, Yasin Hayal, to life imprisonment but acquitted 18 other defendants including Tuncel, ruling that there was no conspiracy.
However, an appeals court in May this year ordered a retrial after ruling there was a criminal conspiracy to murder Dink.

The trial concerning the murder of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink restarted in September, and the court subsequently issued an arrest warrant for Tuncel.

A crowd of demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse for yesterday’s hearing, chanting “the murderer state will be held accountable.”