Dink Murder Trial Restarts, Arrest Warrant for Ex-informant Issued


ISTANBUL (PanArmenian.net)  — The trial for the murder of Armenian-Turkish journalist, Agos weekly editor-in-chief Hrant Dink restarted on September 17, following an overturn of the first verdict due to the victim’s family protest of the trial.

“As the Dink family, we will no longer be tools to the state mechanisms that have been mocking us and we will not attend the hearings of the retrial,” the Dink family said in a statement issued before the trial. “The crime coalition that is called ‘the state’ recommitted the murder in every hearing, every day while it showed itself as if seeking for justice. That coalition is the crime gang itself that planned the murder and then covered it up,” the family’s letter said.

In today’s hearing, the court issued an arrest warrant for Erhan Tuncel, a former police informant and suspect in the murder case who was released after the first verdict.

Tuncel is seen as a key in linking the murder to the state institutions as members of the Police Department in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, the suspects’ hometown, have been accused of failing to relay intelligence provided by Tuncel to the Trabzon Gendarmerie Command in a report prepared by Turkey’s State Supervisory Council (DDK).

Dink was shot in front of his office on January 19, 2007.

The triggerman, Ogün Samast, a 17-year-old at the time of the murder, and Yasin Hayal, who was charged of being the instigator of the assassination, were convicted of the murder. However, a high criminal court dismissed charges related to “armed terrorist organization.” The Supreme Court of Appeals verdict defined the acts of all suspects in the case under “an organization formed to commit crime” according to Turkish Penal Code Article 220.

Earlier this month, lawyer Cem Halavurt said they would demand that the “real web of connections” be brought to light.

“The local court ruled there was no criminal organization involved, but the Supreme Court said there was a criminal organization. We have been saying all along that there was an armed terror organization behind this assassination,” Halavurt said.

“The court said the suspects committed an act of punishment against Dink as a person, not against the state or the public order. That was why it was not considered a terrorist act. We will try to prove that it was the work of a terror organization.”

According to Today’s Zaman, Fethiye Çetin, the chief lawyer on the case, said last week at a press conference that the new process is most likely to put the case at a worse standpoint than before because the initial trial had been launched on the premise of a terrorist organization, but the high court decision says it is an armed organization formed to commit a specific crime.

Çetin explained that according to the decision of the high court, the criminal organization involved was established in 2004 by Hayal with political motivations and consisted of only a few other people, including Tuncel, who were ultranationalists angry with Dink for “insulting Turkishness,” as he had been charged with, so they wanted to punish him.

Earlier this month, Çetin published a book titled Utanç Duyuyorum: Hrant Dink Cinayetinin Yargısı (I Feel Ashamed: The Judgment of the Hrant Dink Murder), explaining that the high court had defined the motivations of the organization as being “political” rather than “terrorist” in its verdict that led to the review of the case.