Presidential pursuit cheers Dink family

Presidential pursuit cheers Dink family

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Presidential pursuit cheers Dink family

Thousands of people protested the court’s decision on Jan 19, 2012, when the court released Erhan Tuncel and sentenced Yasin Hayal to aggravated life sentence. Inset, President Gül is seen with the representatives of the initiative. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

President Abdullah Gül has said he will not let the report on the murder case of Armenian-origin journalist Hrant Dink be shelved, according to a group of writers and journalists who visited Gül recently to demand justice for the slain journalist. Dink’s family said the president’s news is “promising.”

“President Gül said he will follow up the institutions’ actions and will not let the State Supervisory Council’s (DDK) Hrant Dink murder report be shelved,” said writer Yıldız Ramazanoğlu, a member of the We Demand Justice Initiative, a group comprised of Muslim intellectuals, journalists and writers.

Garo Paylan, a supporter of the initiative who works as an administrator at Yeşilköy Armenian Elementary School, said the group “had no other chance but to try to convince Islamists to re-open the case.”

DDK had prepared a report at the request of Gül earlier this year in which they stated that Dink was targeted by a “marginal mentality,” and pointed to police officers who had posed with Dink’s murderer Ogün Samast under a Turkish flag after detaining him.

Meeting with initiatives

Ramazanoğlu held a meeting with Gül Aug. 7 along with fellow initiative members Journalists Foundation Vice President Cemal Uşşak and columnists Hilal Kaplan and Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu as representatives of nearly 80 petition signers.

“We showed that Muslim intellectuals were not choosing to stand idly by in this situation and the president appreciated this,” Ramazanoğlu told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“We demand they reopen this investigation to reveal the real organizational relations between the gunman and the state officials. The verdict of the European Human Rights Court also found Turkey guilty for not investigating the murder properly,” Ramazaoğlu said.

The triggerman, Samast, was last year sentenced to 22 years in prison for Dink’s murder. The instigator Yasin Hayal was sentenced on Jan. 17 to aggravated life imprisonment, while former police informant and suspect Erhan Tuncel was released, prompting widespread anger.

Ramazanoğlu quoted Gül as saying “There is a chauvinistic temper in Turkey,” referring to a non-organizational murder plan. But Ramazanoğlu said Gül emphasized the possibility that there had been an organization behind the murder.

Orhan Dink, the brother of Hrant Dink was also invited to the meeting with Gül, Ramazanoğlu said, adding that Dink said “the Dink family found the meeting hopeful.”

Paylan said the imitative used to be a part of group known as Hrant’s Friends, but later split because Dink’s “Muslim friends [wanted] to make a way to raise their voice in a different way.”“This group has a unique importance in this manner,” he said. “Armenians in Turkey have been struggling against the justice system since 2009, but it turned out to be in vain.” “Our voice was not heard from specific institutions and people since we are a minority who has to convince a big, strong majority in Turkey,” he told the Daily News in a telephone interview yesterday.

“They [have] now showed that being Muslim, a democrat and defending the rights of others at the same time is possible,” Paylan said. When Paylan was asked if politics would be a better battlefield to attempt to solve Dink’s murder on rather than through the judiciary system, he said the “ways to [achieving] justice were stuck in Turkey when it comes to the Dink case.”