Turkish Officials Could Face Investigation over Hrant Dink Murder
ISTANBUL (Hurriyet Daily)—Key officials in Turkey could face a probe regarding the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on charges of intent or negligence after an Istanbul court overturned a previous ruling.
An Istanbul court has lifted a previous decision, which has ruled that there was no need for sanctions against the former deputy governor of Istanbul, Ergun Güngör, Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah, former Istanbul Police Department Intelligence Head Ahmet İlhan Güler, and six police officers regarding the 2007 assassination.
The court recommended an investigation into nine officials following a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision. A lawyer for the Dink family, Hasan Bakırcıoğlu, confirmed that it is now legally possible for a probe against Güngör, Cerrah, Güler, and six police officers.
Dink, the highly esteemed former editor-in-chief of weekly Agos, was murdered in broad daylight in front of his newspaper’s building on Jan. 19, 2007, by a 17-year-old Turkish nationalist. The triggerman, Ogün Samast, was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to 22 years and 10 months of prison after a two year-trial, but lawyers representing the Dink family have repeatedly expressed their dismay over the way the investigations and the trial were conducted.
His assassination sent shockwaves through Turkey and grew into a wider scandal after it emerged that the security forces knew of a plot to kill Dink, but failed to act.
Backing up widespread accusations of a state conspiracy, another key figure in the trial, Erhan Tuncel, claimed in December 2013 that he had informed the police of the plan, but that his warnings went unheeded.
There have been suggestions that the killing was a result of “deep state” work, but the court said there was no organization behind the murder. According to reports, Dink was called to a police department and “warned” about the plot against him, fueling belief that the murder was known by some institutions within the state beforehand.