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ANKARA: A Political Murder Case Left To Rot

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  • ANKARA: A Political Murder Case Left To Rot


    Today's Zaman, Turkey
    Sept 19 2013


    Certainly, one should never compare tragedies. But neither should
    anyone deny the symbolic magnitude of the tragedy that struck our
    dear colleague the late Hrant Dink and scarred his family forever.

    The dark date of Jan. 19, 2007 carved a deep wound on all of us. When
    that heinous murder took place, this newspaper was only three days
    old; it is no wonder its bold history is also defined by the powerful
    probe for justice and its lifeline closely linked to the sense of
    closure this case still demands, day after day.

    So, it is no wonder that these days we have the utterly bitter taste
    of lies, deceit and, well, nothingness. The murder trial that began
    in July 2007 with high hopes for justice has now been moved back to
    square one. A litmus test for democratization for Turkey has, many
    argue, failed; underlining all the reform that has stalled and been
    delayed since then.

    The retrial began some days ago in ─░stanbul, after the Supreme Court
    of Appeals in May overturned the lower court's ruling of Jan. 17, 2012,
    dismissing the involvement of an organized criminal terror network
    in the murder. This means the trial will have to start from scratch;
    going through all the same procedures, while even less evidence may
    be valid, witnesses may have a less reliable memory and it will be
    under different political -- and, perhaps, judicial -- circumstances.

    For all those who have made their own studies of "How to destroy
    the investigations of critical human rights violations and political
    murders," the sense of helplessness is already out in the open.

    The Dink family is now in full rebellion. Hrant's loved ones issued
    a public letter a few days ago that should not go unnoticed, simply
    because by its tone it reveals what the case has been reduced to. Do
    let me share some parts of it:

    "As the Dink family, we will no longer be an instrument in the game
    of the state mechanisms that tease us; we will no longer attend the
    re-hearings of the murder case. For the sake of not getting ourselves
    filthy, we will no longer enter those courtrooms where lies are
    drunk like water; tyranny is eaten like bread; the right to life,
    human rights, fairness, honesty, justice and law are stepped on."

    "Since the slaying of Hrant Dink on 19 January 2007, the system
    in Turkey -- along with its judiciary, law enforcement, military
    and civilian bureaucracy, and political institutions -- have merely
    mocked us. While appearing as if it was seeking justice, the criminal
    alliance called the state recommitted the murder day by day, hearing
    by hearing, over and over again. This alliance is itself the criminal
    organization that planned the murder and then covered it up."

    "In this lawsuit, the only thing necessary to reveal the state's murder
    mechanisms and he criminal alliance was political will. Despite all
    the pledges to the public, the political power persistently refrained
    from manifesting this political will. Far from manifesting will power,
    it promoted the state officials who had played a role in the murder
    or who had praised the murderers; it appointed them to be security
    directors, undersecretaries, governors and as the public ombudsman;
    and they admitted some of them into their own structures and made
    them parliamentary deputies or ministers. Rather than turning this
    murder that was committed while they were in power into a matter of
    "honor," the political power has chosen to use it as a trump card;
    to try the offenders only when the gun is pointed at them; and to
    brag by saying 'During our term, there have not been any murders by
    unknown assailants,' ignoring the murder of the only Armenian during
    the republican history who has struggled for human rights with a
    strong voice."

    "We are no longer in this show. ... Where there is the state behind
    or in front, we do not expect anything."

    We are now stuck between very low hope and despair. For all those
    who are interested in the case, I would highly recommend a new
    book titled "I Feel Ashamed" by Fethiye Cetin, the Dink family's
    attorney. Reading like an alternative indictment, shedding light
    on all sorts of alleged cover-up and demonic intrigue, it deserves
    translation to other languages.