12:33, 23 Oct 2014

The Justice Ministry has cleared the path for investigations into
nine civil servants, including the former police chief of Istanbul
Celalettin Cerrah, who are accused of negligence in the murder of the
Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007, the Hurriyet Daily
News reports.

Lawyers representing Dink's family had long requested an investigation
into the nine civil servants, but their initial demand was rejected
by the Istanbul Governor's Office.

However, a high criminal court in the city later upheld the family's
appeal and lifted the nonsuit ruling, prompting prosecutors to file
an appeal to the Justice Ministry.

The ministry eventually rejected the prosecutors' appeal on Oct. 22
with a decision that caps a long legal battle and which may prove
substantial in the retrial as the investigation process has been
stalled, despite a recent Constitutional Court decision ruling that
the murder case was not efficiently investigated.

Along with Cerrah, Ergun Gungör and Istanbul Police Department
Intelligence Head Ahmet Ä°lhan Guler are among the nine individuals
requested to be investigated by Dink's lawyers.

Dink was shot dead by Ogun Samast in broad daylight on a busy street
outside the offices of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper
Agos, which he edited, in central Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007, in an
assassination that sent shockwaves throughout Turkey.

Samast was sentenced to over 22 years in jail for the murder, but
lawyers representing the Dink family have repeatedly expressed their
dismay over the lack of investigation regarding the individuals or
groups who allegedly commissioned the murder.

Lawyers representing Dink's family have said the retrial, which started
a year ago, could bring progress to the investigation. But one of the
key suspects of the case, Erhan Tuncel, a former police informant,
was recently released pending the trial.

Backing up widespread accusations of a state conspiracy, Tuncel
claimed in December 2013 that he had informed the police of the plan,
but his warnings went unheeded.

The investigations of the key former police officers may bring to
light many aspects of the murder that have remained unknown.

According to reports, Dink was called to a police department and
"warned" about the plot against him, fueling the belief that the
murder was known by some institutions within the state beforehand.

One of Dink's lawyers, Fehriye Cetin, argued in a book published
last year on the case that the order to kill was given by Turkey's
National Intelligence Organization (MÄ°T) via an encrypted message.