Assassination of Hrant Dink

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The prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was assassinated in Istanbul on January 19, 2007. Dink was a newspaper editor who had written and spoken about the Armenian Genocide, well known for his efforts for reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and his advocacy of human and minority rights in Turkey. He had been under prosecution for violating Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and "denigrating Turkishness". His murder sparked both massive national protests in Turkey itself as well as widespread international outrage.

Death threats[edit]

Dink had long endured threats by Turkish ultranationalists for his statements on Armenian identity and the Armenian Genocide.[1][2] He regularly received emails threatening his life, responding in one instance by comparing himself to a dove, "equally obsessed by what goes on on my left and right, front and back. My head is just as mobile and fast".[3] He complained about the indifference of the Turkish government to this atmosphere of terror: "Do you ministers know the price of making someone as scared as a dove?"[citation needed]

In his final Agos column on January 10, 2007, Dink noted that propaganda targeting him led many Turkish citizens to consider him an enemy of Turkey:

"It is obvious that those wishing to alienate me and make me weak and defenseless reached their goal. Right now they have brought about a significant circle of people who are not low in number and who regard me as someone "insulting Turkish identity" due to dirty and false information."[4]

He also complained of the indifference of Turkish authorities to his security:

"My diary and the memory of my computer are full of messages from citizens of this circle full of rage and threats. (Let me note that I regarded one among them posted from Bursa as an imminent threat and submitted it to Public Prosecutor’s office in Şişli but got no result.)"[4]

Despite his complaints, Dink never formally requested protection from the authorities because he did not want to lead a sheltered life. His lawyer, Erdal Doğan, confirmed this feeling of Dink.[5][6] A week before his assassination, Dink wrote that he felt "nervous and afraid" owing to the intensity of the hate mail he had been receiving: "I see myself as frightened, the way a dove might be, but I know that the people in this country would never harm a dove."[7] [8]

Assassination[edit]

Dink was assassinated in Istanbul around 12:00 GMT on January 19, 2007 as he returned to the offices of Agos.[6] The killer was reported to have introduced himself as an Ankara University student who wanted to meet with Mr. Dink. When his request was rejected, he waited in front of a nearby bank for a while.[9][10] According to eyewitnesses, Dink was shot by a man of 25 to 30 years of age, who fired three shots at Dink's head from the back at point blank range before fleeing the scene on foot. According to the police, the assassin was a man of 18 to 19 years of age. Two men had been taken into custody in the first hours of the police investigation, but were later released.[11] Another witness, the owner of a restaurant near the Agos office, said the assassin looked about 20, wore jeans and a cap and shouted "I shot the infidel" as he left the scene.[12] Dink's friend Orhan Alkaya suggested that the three-shot assassination technique was a signature mark of the Kurdish Hezbollah.[13] Dink's wife and daughter collapsed when they heard the news, and were taken to the hospital.

Capture of the suspected shooter[edit]

One day after the assassination, the police announced that the shooter had been identified in video footage collected through both the Istanbul MOBESE electronic surveillance network (4,000+ cameras throughout the city) and local security cameras. They later released photos to the public while urging every citizen to aid with the investigation. On the same evening, Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler addressed the press to state that special investigation committees were pursuing nearly two dozen leads and the police were analyzing ten thousand phone calls made from the vicinity of the crime scene.[citation needed]

News agencies reported on Saturday, 18:22 GMT that the shooter had been identified as "Ogün Samast", a teenager born in 1990 and registered as residing in Trabzon, the same city where barely one year ago the Catholic priest Andrea Santoro was shot dead by a 16-year-old native of the city, in front of the church of Santa Maria of Trabzon, which is a nationalist gathering center.[10] In recent years, Trabzon has become an important recruiting place for ultra-nationalist movement.[14] Samast's father identified him from the publicly released photos and alerted the authorities. Six people, including Samast's friend Yasin Hayal, who had been involved in a bombing of a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon in 2004, were taken into custody and brought to Istanbul.[15] Later that evening at 19:55 GMT, news of Samast's capture in Samsun was announced. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed that the alleged assassin Ogün Samast had been captured, with the assassination weapon on him.[citation needed]

Funeral[edit]

Dink's funeral service was held on January 23, 2007 in the Surp Asdvadzadzin Patriarchal Church in the Kumkapı neighborhood of Istanbul. Dink's funeral ceremony developed into a demonstration at which a hundred thousand citizens marched in protest of the killing.[16]

During a ceremony in front of the Agos office in Osmanbey, Rakel Dink, Hrant Dink's widow, read a letter she had written, addressed to her murdered husband. Afterwards the crowd walked for eight kilometers to Yenikapı via Taksim and Aksaray, while from Taksim Square onwards the coffin was taken directly to Kumkapı for a church service. During the march, many in the crowd carried placards reading "We are all Armenian" and "We are all Hrant Dink" in Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian, as well as placards reading "301 is the murderer". All leave for police in Istanbul had been canceled, and the funeral and march proceeded without incident.[citation needed]

The service was attended by members of the Turkish government, representatives from the Armenian diaspora as well as religious leaders. Although Turkey had no official diplomatic relations with Armenia at that time, by invitation of Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gül, the Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian was present at the funeral.[17] Prime Minister Erdoğan was not present at the funeral, because he had to attend the scheduled inauguration of the Mount Bolu Tunnel.[18]

After the church services, the hearse made a final tour for the thousands of marchers still gathered at Yenikapı, before proceeding to Balıklı Armenian Cemetery in Istanbul's Zeytinburnu neighborhood, where Dink's body was laid to rest. At the cemetery Rev. Krikor Agabaloglu (Pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Gedikpaşa) and Rev. Rene Levonian (Armenian Evangelical World Council's representative) delivered short speeches in Turkish and in Armenian.[citation needed]

The funeral astonished and changed thoughts of some diaspora Armenians about Turkey. For example, Isabelle Kortian, an important diaspora (French) Armenian who came to Turkey for the funeral of Hrant Dink, wrote an article for a Turkish newspaper Zaman on 25 January 2007 saying "The Turks' embracing Dink made an effect of an earthquake on us".[19]

A panorama from Halaskargazi Boulevard in the Şişli district of Istanbul. One hundred thousand mourners marched in Dink's funeral, protesting his assassination. The office of the Agos newspaper, where Dink was gunned down, is near the right edge of the image; it is the first building to the right of the one with the large black banner.

Investigation[edit]

The Istanbul Criminology Department stated that from the empty shells, they were able to determine that the assassination weapon used 7.65 millimeter ammunition and had never been used in another crime.[20]

Ahmet Çokçınar, a prosecutor in the city of Samsun told the Anatolia news agency that Samast has confessed to killing Hrant Dink.[9] According to this preliminary news, Samast said the killing was a personal act and did not have any organizational agenda.[21] Samast's uncle Faik Samast has told private NTV television that he didn't think his nephew was capable of acting alone - "He didn't even know his way around Istanbul," "This kid was used."[22] Samast said that he killed Dink for "insulting Turks", and that he doesn't regret it.[23] According to media reports, Samast is a high school dropout and a possible drug addict.[22] Later news reports stated that Samast had had no idea of the significance of his act until watching TV coverage, and that he had ended his written confession with an expression of remorse.[24]

Three people were taken into custody in relation with the murder on the day of the murder.[8] However, movements tied to the ultra-nationalist movement are currently suspected of carrying out the murder, in particular after the arrest of Yasin Hayal, a militant who passed 11 months in prison for having taken part in the bombing of a McDonald's in Trabzon in 2004, and of Karadeniz Technical University student Erhan Tuncel, close to the Alperen organization, the neo-fascist youth organization associated with the ultra-nationalist and Islamist party Great Union Party (BBP), created by former members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).[14] Yasin Hayal confessed to telling Samast to kill Dink and supplying the murder weapon, while Erhan Tuncel has been charged as a main instigator of the killing, and allegedly directed both Samast and Hayal.[25] The BBP has denied any involvement in the assassination.[24] Hrant Dink was qualified as a "traitor" by the Turkish far right, and had received up to 2,600 death threats from ultra-nationalist circles.[15] According to rumors reported by Turkish newspapers late January 2007, Erhan Tuncel was actually a police informer for Trabzon Police. The rumors also suggested that he warned Trabzon police office before the murder, but that the warnings were ignored.[26]

Investigations concerning the nationalist underground Ergenekon network have led to suspicions concerning Ergenekon's involvement in Dink's assassination.[27] Folder 441 of the Ergenekon indictment's annex contains evidence that Dink's entire family was targeted. Staff colonel Ferhat Özsoy allegedly pressured chief master sergeant Murat Şahan into carrying out the assassination, offering him 300,000 Lira in reward. Şahan, who was undergoing psychiatric treatment as a result of being 70,000 Lira in debt, resisted and filed a complaint from a military hospital, where he was forced to undergo an examination.[28]

Concerns over a possible cover-up[edit]

On October 3, 2007, the TV station NTV reported that the police file on Erhan Tuncel, a prime suspect in the murder case, had been destroyed on grounds that the file was a "state secret" before the court had a chance to see the document.[29]

The lawyer for the Dink family, Erdal Doğan, repeated the concern that much evidence was destroyed and lost that might reveal relationships between the suspects and members of the security forces, including a tape from a security camera outside a bank near the Agos offices where Dink was killed.[30] Doğan said that the chief of police intelligence (Turkish: Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü İstihbarat Daire Başkanı), Ramazan Akyürek, ordered the expungement of a suspect's 48-page testimony.[31]

When the lawyers of Dink family investigated the security camera records which were screening the street where the assassination took place, they identified four suspects speaking with their cellphones. Thereupon they requested the gsm call operation logs in the Şişli region Turkish Telecommunication Authorities around the time when the murder happened and the time where they identified the cell phone usage from the security cameras. Two major GSM providers reported that they do not have any gsm base station in that region hence they can not identify anything. The other major gsm operator in Turkey stated that there was no single call operation during the reported times. The lawyers stated that it is almost impposible that there can not be any calls during this hours or the companies can not have any base station because Şişli is one of the most crowded regions in Istanbul during that times.[32][33] In addition the security camera recordings shows that there was gsm communication indeed during that times.

In 2013 a secret witness told prosecutors of JITEM and Gendarmerie involvement in Dink's murder.[34][35][36]

In 12 January 2015, arrest warrants were issued for two police officers, making them the first public servants arrested in the investigation.[37]

Reactions[edit]

After the news of his assassination spread, condemnations came instantly from virtually all major political parties, government officials and NGOs in Turkey, as well as from many international observers.

 Turkey[edit]

Condemnations[edit]

Placards held in Dink's funeral reading "We are all Hrant Dink" and "We are all Armenian" in Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian. These placards were later protested by MHP, a major Turkish political party on far-right.
Placards planted in flower beds after the funeral
  • Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Istanbul from the Agos newspaper's office to the Taksim Square in a spontaneous protest of the assassination. According to the BBC, protesters chanted "We are all Armenian, we are all Hrant Dink.[38] People marched in other cities (including Ankara, Antalya, Bursa, İzmir, Tunceli and Trabzon) as well to protest the assassination. They also blamed the Turkish state for the assassination, chanting, "The killer state will be held accountable".[39]
  • Many press outlets expressed outrage over the killing. Some headlines: "The Murderer Is a Traitor" (Hürriyet), "Same Bloody Scenario" (referring to assassination of prominent journalists in the past) (Akşam), "It Was Turkey That Was Shot Dead" (Milliyet), "Nothing could harm Turkey more than this" (Vatan) and "They Killed Our Brother" (BirGün). Some newspapers blamed the media that supported nationalist points of view around Hrant Dink's trial for denigrating Turkishness, up to the point of declaring him a traitor. One of those headlines was "Be Proud Of Your Work" (Radikal)
  • Columns in Turkish newspapers included Armenian in transliteration: Ahparik, Ahparik! [Armenian for "brother, brother!"] by Hadi Uluengin in Hürriyet, and Tsidesutyun Paregamis! [Farewell My Friend!] by Can Dundar in Milliyet.
  • President Ahmet Necdet Sezer: "I am deeply saddened by the assassination of Hrant Dink in front of the Agos newspaper. I strongly condemn this ugly and shameful act.[40]
  • Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: "The dark hands that killed him will be found and punished."[40][41]
  • Armenian Patriarch of Turkey, Mesrob Mutafyan, declared 15 days of mourning for the Armenian community in Turkey.[12]
  • Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Bülent Arınç,[40]
  • Chief of General Staff Yaşar Büyükanıt condemned the assassination.[42]
  • Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I: "We are deeply saddened by the heinous assassination of Hrant Dink, one of our country's prominent journalists".[43]
  • Over one hundred thousand people marched in Dink's Funeral to protest his assassination, holding placards that are saying "We are all Armenian" and "We are Hrant Dink" in both Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian.(See funeral above.) Later, these placards were protested by the far-right MHP. The leader of MHP described the placards saying "We are all Armenian" as "a freak show organized by those who do not participate in martyr funerals". On the other hand, a party council member of the main-opposition CHP, a member of Socialist International, said "we became ashamed of being Turkish. I am Turkish and I protest the assassination. Maybe we should have carried the placards saying 'We are all Human' instead of 'We are all Armenians'. The placards that say "assassin 301" are also wrong. As long as we do not want to denigrate Turkishness, we cannot call 301 an assassin."[44]
  • Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist, Orhan Pamuk visited Dink's family in Istanbul on January 21. "In a sense, we are all responsible for his death," he said. "However, at the very forefront of this responsibility are those who still defend Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. Those who campaigned against him, those who portrayed this sibling of ours as an enemy of Turkey, those who painted him as a target, they are the most responsible in this. And then, in the end, we are all responsible."[45]
  • Although condemning the murder, columnist Murat Bardakçı in the newspaper Sabah,[46] and, in his footsteps, Sedat Laçiner in an editorial in Journal of Turkish Weekly,[47] pointed out similarities with the murder of Talat Pasha in Berlin in 1921 by an Armenian nationalist, and more generally drew attention to politically motivated killings of Turks by Armenians.

Subsequent actions[edit]

  • Hüseyin Yavuzdemir, governor of Trabzon and Reşat Altay, chief of police of Trabzon were removed from duty and a special investigation team was sent from Ankara to Trabzon to investigate the situation in the city.[48]
  • A ferryboat on the GeliboluLapseki line was hijacked by Nihat Acar (36), who protested the slogan "We are all Armenian". The hijacker made the ferryboat return to Gelibolu where passengers were allowed to disembark. The hijacker, who worked at a convenience shop in Gelibolu, surrendered after holding the ferry captain hostage for 2 hours.[49]
  • On the 7th day after Hrant Dink's murder, a dance troupe organized a protest in front of Agos, where they asked passersby to lie in front of Agos in the same position as the murdered journalist, with a newspaper over their bodies.[50] About 50 people took part, despite heavy rain. The organizers said that they were asking people to lie on the sidewalk for 10 minutes and to die symbolically for a rebirth.
  • Agos, whose normal circulation was about 6,000, was printed 30,000, distributed nationally and was getting ready for a re-print in its first publication since the murder of its editor-in-chief. A group of intellectuals and journalists took part in selling Agos on the streets of Istanbul.[51]
  • Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Gül declared in Davos on 28 January that a change in Article 301 was imminent as it was hindering the reform process in Turkey.[52]
  • On February 1, 2007, the private Turkish television channel TGRT, which was bought by Rupert Murdoch, broadcast video footage of the man accused of shooting Hrant Dink posing proudly behind a Turkish flag, flanked by police officers of both military and security police, allegedly filmed in the police bureau of Samsun where he was taken after his arrest. The video caused shock and consternation as commentators warned it was another sign of the growing power of Turkish ultranationalism, as the nation gears up for parliamentary and presidential elections later this year. Ismet Berkan, editor of the liberal newspaper Radikal, said that the release of the video was akin to killing Dink a second time. It proved, he claimed, "that the murderer and his associates are not alone, that their supporters ... have penetrated all segments of the state." A police spokesperson said an investigation into the video footage and its leaking was underway.[53] Rumours of the existence of such footage had been circulating for days, but were officially denied. In an apparent act of retaliation to the broadcasting of the footage, the Turkish General Staff canceled the accreditation of Rupert Murdoch's TGRT, required for attending press events at the staff headquarters. The general director of TGRT, Murat Akgiray, and the director responsible for the broadcasting, Bahattin Apak, have resigned.[54]
  • On February 4, 2007, one hundred nationalist Turks of the National Struggle Association demonstrated on İstiklâl Avenue in Istanbul.[55] The demonstration was seen as a reaction to the people who attended the funeral ceremony of Hrant Dink, many of whom carried banners that read "We all are Armenians", "We are all Hrant Dink." The protesters marched with Turkish flags, portraits of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and carried placards reading, "We all are Mustafa Kemal. We all are Turks." Among the demonstrators were children wrapped in Turkish flags, chanting nationalistic slogans.[55]

 Armenia and the Armenian diaspora[edit]

Demonstration for Hrant Dink in Vanadzor during his commemoration service led by Bishop Sebouh Chouldjian.
  • Former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan: "The killing of this well-known Armenian journalist in Turkey raises numerous questions and deserves the strongest condemnation. We hope that the Turkish authorities will do everything possible to find and punish the culprit strictly in accordance with the law."[56]
  • Former Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan: "We are deeply shocked by the news of the assassination of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, a man who lived his life in the belief that there can be understanding, dialogue and peace amongst peoples. We categorically condemn this act, regardless of the circumstances, and call on the Turkish authorities indeed to do everything to identify those responsible."[56]
  • Armenian Evangelical churches worldwide held a special service of remembrance.[57]
  • There were demonstrations in cities all throughout Armenia in the aftermath of the assassination (among them Yerevan). During a demonstration in Vanadzor, residents pledged to continue Dink's work.[58] There were demonstrations in the Armenian diaspora as well.
  • Armenian Revolutionary Federation's Political Party in Armenia: "This killing once again proves the atmosphere of intolerance in Turkey even against the protection of state interests.[59]
  • Armenian Assembly of America: "The [Armenian] Assembly [...] remains deeply troubled by Ankara’s refusal to heed international calls to abolish Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which stifles freedom of speech and criminalizes public discussion of the Armenian Genocide. Hrant Dink himself stood trial several times for his public comments on the genocide and was convicted in October 2006 for “insulting Turkishness” under the much-criticized law. He received a six-month suspended sentence and was set to appear in court again in March 2007 for telling a foreign journalist that the events of 1915 constituted genocide."[60]

International[edit]

States[edit]

  •  European Union: EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn: "I am shocked and saddened by this brutal act of violence," he said in a statement. "Hrant Dink was a respected intellectual who defended his views with conviction and contributed to an open public debate. He was a campaigner for freedom of expression in Turkey," he said.[40]
Vice President of the Barroso Commission Günther Verheugen said in a statement to reporters during his visit in Bursa, Turkey: "I severely condemn this act. I congratulate the Turkish government for their behaviour in this issue. Because I believe that all these misdeeds intended against Turkey will ultimately fail. It is my sincere belief that Turkey will do whatever is necessary to shed light on the issue."[61]
Candle Lit Vigil at Union Square, New York
  •  United States: The United States embassy in Ankara also offered condolences to Dink's family, saying that "we are shocked and deeply troubled to hear that Hrant Dink was killed in an armed attack today in Istanbul."[62]
  •  France: French president, Jacques Chirac sent a letter to Dink's widow which said: "I can't express strongly enough how I condemn this abominable act, which deprives Turkey of one of its most courageous and free voices."[63]
  •  Germany: Germany, as the EU President for 2007, condemned the murder in its official statement. "The Presidency is appalled by this abominable killing and would like to express its deepest sympathy to the victim's family and friends." reads the statement. "The Presidency is convinced that the Turkish authorities will solve this case as quickly as possible and has no doubt that Turkey will steadfastly continue along the path towards fully realizing freedom of expression," the statement says.[64]
  •  Italy: Italian Premier Romano Prodi condemned the killing in Istanbul of Hrant Dink when he met his Turkish counterpart on Monday, January 22. "It is a very serious episode on which I hope full light will be shed," Prodi said in an interview with Turkish newspaper Sabah.[65]

Human rights bodies[edit]

  • Amnesty International USA: "This horrifying assassination silences one of Turkey's bravest human rights defenders. [...] legitimate debate about ideas must be protected. The Turkish government must redouble its efforts to protect human rights defenders and open its political climate to a range of views. Recent legal reforms have brought many areas of Turkish law in line with international human rights standards, but existing limitations on free speech such as Article 301 must be repealed."[66]
  • Amnesty International (UK): "Amnesty International calls on the Turkish authorities to condemn all forms of intolerance, to uphold the rights of all citizens of the Turkish Republic and to investigate the murder of Hrant Dink thoroughly and impartially, to make the findings of the investigation public - and to bring suspected perpetrators to justice in accordance with international fair trial standards."[67]
  • Human Rights Watch: "We are deeply saddened by Hrant Dink's murder. Dink's killing robs Turkey of an important voice of conscience on the need for Turkey to come to terms with its past," said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director for Human Rights Watch.[68]
  • ARTICLE 19: “The Turkish authorities must also take a very hard look at their own role: their failure to repeal Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, the continuing use of this and other provisions to prosecute writers, journalists and others that dare speak out on taboo topics, and the authorities’ public criticism of these voices: all of these contribute to creating an environment that legitimizes attacks on freedom of expression, including attacks of a most violent and deadly nature,” said Dr. Agnès Callamard, ARTICLE 19’s Executive Director.[69]

Journalism organizations[edit]

  • Reporters Without Borders: "This murder will distress and disturb all those who defend the freedom of thought and expression in Turkey and elsewhere," the press freedom organization said. "The Turkish government must weigh the extreme gravity of this crime and ensure that a thorough investigation identifies those responsible as quickly as possible."[70]
  • International Federation of Journalists: “This man has been the target of abuse and threats ever since he dared to express an opinion that challenges an established orthodoxy,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “It is scandalous that he appears to have become the victim of a culture of intolerance that remains deeply rooted in parts of society.”[71]
  • International Press Institute: "This is a terrible event for Turkish press freedom. It sends the inevitable signal to all Turkish media that, if you discuss the Armenian massacre in the same terms as Dink, you face not only constant harassment from the authorities, but the possibility of assassination. [...] I think the time has now come for the government to realize that such laws have no place in a modern society. I would also hope that, following Dink’s murder, there is an open discussion about these issues leading to an agreement by all sides to consign such laws to Turkish history," said IPI Director Johann P. Fritz.[72]
  • Committee to Protect Journalists: "Through his journalism Hrant Dink sought to shed light on Turkey’s troubled past and create a better future for Turks and Armenians. This earned him many enemies, but he vowed to continue writing despite receiving many threats," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "An assassin has now silenced one of Turkey’s most courageous voices. We are profoundly shocked and saddened by this crime, and send our deepest condolences to Hrant Dink’s family, colleagues, and friends."[73]
  • PEN American Center: "We are horrified," said Larry Siems, Director of Freedom to Write and International Programs at PEN American Center. "Hrant Dink was one of the heroes of the nonviolent movement for freedom of expression in Turkey—a movement in which writers, editors, and publishers have practiced civil disobedience by defying laws that censored or suppressed important truths in that country. Theirs is one of the most significant human rights movements of our time. Hrant Dink’s countrymen can help cement some of the gains he helped win for them by sending a strong, unified message that those responsible must be brought to justice for his murder."[74]

Trial[edit]

The Dink murder trial opened in Istanbul on July 2, 2007. 18 people were charged at Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No 14 in connection with the journalist's assassination.[75] Since the main suspect, Ogün Samast was younger than 18 the hearing was not public. Reportedly the defendants Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel repeated their testimonies given to the security forces and prosecutor. The court decided to release the defendants Osman Altay, Irfan Özkan, Salih Hacisalihoglu and Veysel Toprak to be tried without remand and adjourned the hearing to 1 October.

The indictment demanded aggravated life imprisonment for Erhan Tuncel and Yasin Hayal for "inciting the killing of Hrant Dink". Since the alleged killer, Ogün Samast, was younger than 18 at the time of the murder, he has to expect a sentence between 18 and 24 years imprisonment. Yasin Hayal's brother was charged as an accessory to the crime and has to expect a sentenced between 22.5 years and 35 years imprisonment. The other defendants were charged as "members or supporter of a terrorist organisation".[76]

In January 2009 the 8th hearings was held. Seven of eight defendants under arrest attended the hearing. At the end three defendants were released and the hearing was adjourned to 20 April 2009.[77] According to Human Rights Watch, Dink's murder trial is "a critical test of the Turkish judiciary's independence."[75]

Verdict of courts[edit]

On July 25, 2011, Ogün Samast was convicted of murder and being in illegal possession of a firearm by Istanbul's Heavy Juvenile Criminal Court. He was sentenced to 22 years and 10 months in prison,[78] [79] which was commuted from life sentence under Turkish juvenile law. After serving two thirds of it, Samast will be eligible for parole in 2021 or 2022.

On January 16, 2012, Istanbul's 14. Heavy Criminal Court reached a verdict with the remaining defendants. The court ruled there was no conspiracy behind the assassination, and stated that the assassination was an ordinary killing. Yasin Hayal was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Two other men were convicted of assisting him and they were each sentenced to 12 years and 6 months in prison. Erhan Tuncel was found not guilty of Dink's murder, but was found guilty of the McDonald's bombing in Trabzon. He was sentenced to 10 years and 6 months for the bombing, and was paroled due to the 5 1/2 years time served. The remaining suspects were all acquitted in the case.

ECtHR proceedings[edit]

In September, 2010, the European Court of Human Rights found that Turkish authorities have violated Dink's right to life (Article 2 ECHR) by not acting to prevent murder and not punishing police for inaction.[80]

Books[edit]

  • Nedim Şener (2009) Dink Cinayeti ve İstihbarat Yalanları (The Dink Murder and The Lies of the Intelligence)
  • Nedim Şener (2011) Kırmızı Cuma (Red Friday)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Turkish-Armenian editor murdered in Istanbul" (Press release). Committee to Protect Journalists. 2007-01-19. Archived from the original on 25 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  2. ^ "Three arrested in Turkey for murder of outspoken journalist Hrant Dink". FoxNews.com. 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2007-02-09. 
  3. ^ "Hrant Dink's final article". BBC News. 2007-01-20. Archived from the original on 14 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-09. 
  4. ^ a b Dink, Hrant (2007-01-10). "A ‘dove's skittishness’ in my soul". Agos. Retrieved 2007-02-24. 
  5. ^ Morris, Chris (2007-01-19). "Turkish-Armenian writer shunned silence". BBC News. Archived from the original on 22 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-24. 
  6. ^ a b "Türkiye’yi vurdular". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 2007-01-20. Archived from the original on 22 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  7. ^ Turgut, Pelin (2007-01-19). "An Assassination Shocks Istanbul". TIME. Archived from the original on 21 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  8. ^ a b "Istanbul governor says 3 arrested in connection with murder of journalist Hrant Dink". International Herald Tribune. 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  9. ^ a b "Katil zanlısı Samsun'da yakalandı". CNN Turk (in Turkish). 2007-01-20. Archived from the original on 22 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  10. ^ a b "Hrant Dink murder suspect caught". BBC News. 2007-01-20. Archived from the original on 23 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  11. ^ "Gazeteci Hrant Dink silahlı saldırıda öldü". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 2007-01-19. Archived from the original on 26 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  12. ^ a b de Bendern, Paul; Grove, Thomas (2007-01-19). "Turkish-Armenian editor shot dead in Istanbul". Reuters. Retrieved 2007-05-01. 
  13. ^ "Hrant Dink, Agos Gazetesi önünde silahlı saldırıda öldürüldü". Milliyet (in Turkish). 2007-01-19. Archived from the original on 22 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  14. ^ a b Semo, Marc (2007-01-21). "Affaire Hrant Dink : un assassin dans la mouvance nationaliste". Libération (in French). Retrieved 2007-01-22. 
  15. ^ a b "Dink killing suspect 'confesses'". BBC News. 2007-01-21. Archived from the original on 23 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-21. 
  16. ^ "Turkey embraces the memory of Hrant Dink; hundreds of thousands march". Hürriyet. 2007-01-24. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
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