Supreme Court moves to probe former interior minister in Dink murder trial

Supreme Court moves to probe former interior minister in Dink murder trial

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Supreme Court moves to probe former interior minister in Dink murder trial

DHA photo

Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has objected to a decision by the Interior Ministry, which denied putting into process a request to probe former Turkish interior minister and Istanbul governor Muammer Güler following a 2013 complaint by the family of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. 

In July 2013, the Dink family filed a complaint against Güler, who was the governor of Istanbul at the time of Dink’s murder on July 19, 2007, accusing him of “malfeasance.” An investigation was launched by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office upon the complaint, but the probe was later transferred to the Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor’s Office because the Supreme Court is legally bound to carry on preliminary inquiries into senior-level officials, including governors. 

An investigation could not be launched at the time because Güler was protected by parliamentary immunity after being elected as a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy from the southeastern province of Mardin in June 2011.  

After Güler was no longer a member of parliament and lost his parliamentary immunity, the request was resent to the Interior Ministry, only to be denied. In return, the Supreme Court of Appeals filed an objection with the Council of State, demanding that the ministry’s decision be reversed. 

The five-page objection document filed by the Supreme Court of Appeals to the Council of State, Turkey’s top administrative court, explained that the Interior Ministry was provided with new documents demonstrating Güler was aware of a possible assassination attempt targeting Dink. 

The court said the complaint petition and its appendix included documents and information that “a deputy governor and two MİT [National Intelligence Organization] officers held a meeting with Hrant Dink following intelligence on an imminent assassination attempt; that Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II [Mutafyan] sent a letter to Governor Muammer Güler about threats against the Armenian community and asked that security measures be taken, and hence that Governor Muammer Güler had prior information of the intelligence regarding Hrant Dink.”

The court underlined that the governor’s responsibilities include law enforcement to prevent crime and sustain public order, in addition to granting protection to persons whose security are under threat according to intelligence reports - without waiting for them to demand protection. 

Dink, an outspoken activist for minority rights and former editor-in-chief of weekly Agos, was shot dead outside his office in Istanbul’s Şişli district on Jan. 19, 2007, by 17-year-old Ogün Samast, who had traveled to Istanbul from the Black Sea province of Trabzon before the murder.

Relatives and followers of the case have claimed government officials, police, military personnel and MİT members played a role in Dink’s murder by neglecting their duty to protect the journalist.