Suspect’s father reveals new info on Dink murder

Suspect’s father reveals new info on Dink murder

Vercihan Ziflioğlu ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Suspect’s father reveals new info on Dink murder

Suspected instigator Yasin Hayal’s father, Bahattin Hayal says his son was used by police informant Erhan Tuncel and others in planning the murder of journalist Hrant Dink. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

The father of one of the suspected conspirators in the murder of journalist Hrant Dink has released new information on his son’s connections with police informants and said the real people behind the assassination must be revealed.

“We learned that my son had gone off to Azerbaijan before the murder, even though he had no passport or money,” suspected instigator Yasin Hayal’s father, Bahattin Hayal, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Nov. 16.

The case will never be illuminated unless police informant Erhan Tuncel’s connections are revealed in full first, he said, adding that his son was used as a pawn.

“They stayed at a luxury hotel in Akçaabat [a district in the Black Sea province of Trabzon]. My son was introduced to two persons in the hotel. Erhan Tuncel had told [him] that one of these was the Chechen chief of staff,” Bahattin Hayal said, adding that his son’s trip to the Akçaabat with Tuncel constituted yet another point that needed to be further investigated.

“I am deeply saddened by this murder. I have no courage to venture near Rakel Dink [Hrant Dink’s widow]. This case will not come to light unless Erhan Tuncel’s connections are found. The true criminals must be revealed,” he added.

Bahattin Hayal said he attempted to meet with the Dink family’s lawyers several times, and added that they had told him to convince his son to reveal the truth. However, one of Dink family’s lawyers, Bahri Belen, said he had not been previously aware of the father’s statements.

“I do not know how serious Tuncel’s statements are. I do not know whether he was specifically selected to issue such statements either. He gave us no information regarding Azerbaijan or Akçaabat,” Belen told the Daily News.

“I am not bluffing; my son was used. He is being tried for life imprisonment, while Erhan Tuncel may possibly be released. I damn the day they met,” Bahattin Hayal said, adding that he had earlier testified to the prosecutor’s office but later changed his testimony due to the threats he received.

According to the father’s testimony, Yahya Öztürk, who was the chief of police in Trabzon at the time of the incident, told Hayal that his son was serving the country and that matters would be arranged so that he would not have to serve a long sentence for any role in the murder.

Bahattin Hayal also said a high-ranking intelligence official from the southeastern province of Mardin contacted him in 2007 to send a message to him, and that he relayed this information to the prosecutor on Nov. 14.

“‘I pay my respects to you. You have raised a patriotic son,’ was the message he sent, but I find the praise of this murder disturbing,” Bahattin Hayal added.

Dink, a journalist of Armenian origin, was the chief editor for weekly Agos, a paper published in both Turkish and Armenian. He was shot in front of his office on Jan. 19, 2007; triggerman Ogün Samast was sentenced to 22 years in prison in July for the murder.