(Armradio) – The defendant in the case of Sevag Balikci, an Armenian citizen of Turkey who was shot dead during his compulsory military service, has been sentenced to 16 years and 8 months in prison, Bianet reports.
Armenian soldier Sevag Balikci was killed on April 24, 2011, the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. On the day he was killed, he had 20 days to complete his service in Kozluk district of the southeastern Batman province. Compulsory military service applies to all male citizens of Turkey.
Diyarbakir 2nd Air Force Command Military Court sentenced Kivanc Agaoglu to 4 years, 5 months and 10 days in prison for conscious and reckless killing on March 26, 2013.
The Balıkci family appealed the case at the Court of Cassation, which overturned the court ruling on procedural grounds.
“I attach importance to this. At last, we have seen that a hate crime against Armenians in the country resulted in a court sentencing the defendant,” Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Garo Paylan said in comments to Bianer.
However, he said, Turkey needs a “climate” where such hate crimes would not happen and it has not achieved this yet. “We must make political openings and create a climate where no one is targeted by hate crimes.”
Paylan also mentioned the killing of Hrant Dink, the trial of which has been continuing for 13 years and said he hopes the decision on Balikci’s s killing sets a precedent for other cases of hate crimes. (PT/VK)