Turkish Officer Testifies to Knowing Of Plans to Murder Dink

ISTANBUL (Turkish Daily News) — The former head of the intelligence unit in the Black Sea province of Trabzon where Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink’s murderer came from testified he was aware of plans to kill the prominent journalist, but that he did not learn about crucial subsequent developments in the case until much later, a Web site reported on June 10.

Noncommissioned officers Okan Simsek and Veysel Sahin claimed they had informed their superiors about the murder during a trial in January on charges they had covered up intelligence about a plan for the murder.

Dink was killed in 2007 in front of the building of multi-lingual weekly newspaper Agos in Istanbul’s central district/ A juvenile suspect was arrested after the murder while trying to flee to his hometown Trabzon. Later other suspects, including those who are alleged to have planned and incited the murder, commonly known as the “big brothers” of the crime, were arrested as well. However, it was alleged that the roots of the murder go deep into the state and that the so-called bigger brothers have still yet not been arrested.

Intelligence head of the Black Sea province of Trabzon’s Gendarmerie Commandership, Captain Metin Yildiz said in his testimony in a court in Bolu, “Sahin had said that [alleged gendarmerie informer] Coskun Ioci told him that Dink will be murdered and Yasin Hayal was planning this. Later, I told Gendarmerie Commander Ali Oz that Hayal is planning to kill Dink. ‘We will discuss this issue later,’” he said.

Claiming that the police chief, smuggling branch chief and organized crimes branch chief were also at the meeting, Yildiz said he had a detailed private discussion with Simsek, and confirmed that Ioci was not an informer for the Gendarmerie. “Two days later I brought the issue to the agenda one more time in the room of Oz and told that gave the order to Simsek to confirm [Ioci’s situation],” he said.

According to Yildiz, he later asked Simsek in private whether he should transfer the information to the department dealing with radical-right wing activities, adding that he ordered the junior officer to follow up on the issue himself as it was not related to Yildiz’s department’s special area.

Yildiz alleges that he did not receive any further information on the issue. After Dink was murdered, Simsek said in a meeting with highranking officials that Hayal had tried to make a homemade gun. When Yildiz asked why he was not informed about the gun, Simsek said the team had not learned about the gun from Ioci until after they had met with the Yildiz team, the captain said in his testimony.