ANKARA: Court Rules For Retrial Of Suspects In Dink Murder Case
COURT RULES FOR RETRIAL OF SUSPECTS IN DINK MURDER CASE
Today's Zaman, Turkey
Oct 30 2014
The Ä°stanbul 5th High Criminal Court has agreed to comply with a
ruling from the Supreme Court of Appeals in May 2013 that overturned
the lower court ruling acquitting suspects in the Hrant Dink murder
case of forming a terrorist organization, paving the way for a retrial
of the suspects.
Dink, the editor-in-chief of Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, was shot
and killed in broad daylight on Jan. 19, 2007, by an ultranationalist
teenager outside the offices of his newspaper in Ä°stanbul. Evidence
discovered since then has led to claims that the murder was linked to
the "deep state," a term that refers to a shadowy group of military
and civilian bureaucrats believed to have links with organized crime.
Although it has been more than seven years since the assassination,
no satisfactory outcome has been produced by the trial.
The 9th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the
lower court ruling acquitting the suspects of forming a terrorist
organization, but it said they were guilty of forming an illegal and
armed organization to commit a crime in line with Turkish Penal Code
(TCK) Article 220.
The suspects will now be retried over charges of "being members of
an organization established to commit a crime."
The court also ruled for the merger of the main Dink murder trial
with the trial of Ogun Samast, Dink's hitman, at a juvenile court
over charges of "being a member of a terrorist organization."
In the meantime, a group of people who identify themselves as Hrant's
Friends has called on the trial of certain public officials for their
role in the murder of Dink over Article 83 of the TCK, which concerns
The Dink murder case has been fraught with controversy -- as well
as some solid evidence -- suggesting that many state officials, from
gendarmerie and police chiefs to bureaucrats, were either negligent in
their duties and ignored signs of an assassination plot to kill the
journalist or, according to the Dink family lawyers' claims, were in
the know about the plot and did nothing -- because they agreed with
it or were part of it or did not care. Other incidents and evidence
that came up during the trial also indicate that there were attempts
to cover up the investigation.
Hrant's Friends met in front of the Ä°stanbul Courthouse before
the beginning of the trial on Thursday, carrying banners that read:
"We are all Hrant, We are all Armenians, Try them over Article 83."
Speaking on behalf of the group, Yetvart Danzikyan,
a journalist-researcher, recalled the decision of the Ministry of
Justice that opened the way for the investigation into the public
officials for their role in Dink's murder, saying, "One stone was
eventually unturned after eight years because the investigation of
some public officials has been possible."
He said although the state has tried hard to protect public officials,
the court trial has evolved so much that doing this is no longer
"We don't know whether we can look at the future of this trial with
more hope. Or is hope an appropriate term to be used for this trial?
But we know that following an eight-year-long fight, one stone has been
unturned. An opportunity has been created to bring public officials
to justice. We should make use of this opportunity to the very end,"
Danzikyan noted that the nine public officials and all other public
officials who had a role in the Dink murder should be tried not for
negligence but over Article 83 of the TCK, which concerns voluntary
The lawyers of Dink's family filed a complaint in 2011 with the
Ä°stanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office against Ä°stanbul Deputy
Governor Ergun GungÃ¶r, former Ä°stanbul Police Chief Celalettin
Cerrah, the former chief of the Ä°stanbul Police Department's
intelligence unit, Ahmet Ä°lhan GungÃ¶r, and six other police officers
on the grounds that those public officials were negligent in preventing
After the complaint, the chief public prosecutor's office applied to
the Ä°stanbul Governor's Office to ask for permission to investigate
those listed public officials. However, the governor's office did not
give this permission to the prosecutor's office. After the governor's
office's made its decision, the prosecutors decided not to prosecute.
However, the Dink family filed an appeal with the BakÄ±rkÃ¶y 8th High
Criminal Court to annul the decision of the Ä°stanbul Chief Public
Prosecutor's Office not to prosecute.
On May 21 of this year, the BakÄ±rkÃ¶y court decided to cancel the
decision not to prosecute.
Following the high criminal court's ruling, the Ä°stanbul Chief Public
Prosecutor's Office applied to the Ministry of Justice, requesting
that the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office of the Supreme Court of
Appeals appeal the verdict of the BakÄ±rkÃ¶y 8th High Criminal Court.
The Ministry of Justice rejected this request, opening the way for an
investigation into the public officials against whom the Dink family
originally filed the criminal complaint.
This recent decision has paved the way for the trial of the
public officials on the charge of negligence in the murder of the
Back in January 2012, the 14th Specially Authorized High Criminal
Court -- as the court was previously called -- acquitted all the
suspects in the case of the charge of being a member of a terrorist
organization. The Chief Prosecutor's Office of the Supreme Court of
Appeals challenged the ruling, arguing that the suspects had not acted
alone but as part of a criminal organization. Later, the 9th Criminal
Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals reversed the acquittal of
the suspects on charges of membership in a criminal organization. The
chamber ruled that the suspects should be retried on this charge.