Former Police Chief Testifies in Dink Murder Trial

Former Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah


ISTANBUL (Anadolu Agency)—Former Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah gave his testimony to the public prosecutor’s office on Dec. 15 in the case into the murder of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink.

Cerrah gave his testimony at an Istanbul courthouse, suspected of negligence in Dink’s murder in 2007 when Cerrah was the Istanbul police chief. He did not respond to questions while leaving the courthouse after his testimony.

The list of suspects in the Dink murder case has been broadened, with the court listening to more high-ranking officials amid a move to merge the case of the convicted shooter with that of the alleged instigators.

The Istanbul deputy chief prosecutor and prosecutor of terrorism and organized crimes unit, Yusuf Hakkı Doğan is heading the investigation into the assassination.

Dink was assassinated by Ogün Samast, who was 17-years-old at the time, in broad daylight on a busy street outside the office of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos in Istanbul’s Şişli district on Jan. 19, 2007. The assassination caused outrage across the country, leading to hundreds of thousands rallying in the streets.

Ergun Güngör, the Istanbul deputy governor at the time, testified on Dec. 9 at an Istanbul court as a suspect accused of negligence.

A day earlier, Ahmet İlhan Güler, the then-chief of police intelligence, testified. The then-Trabzon police chief Reşat Altay has also been called to testify.

A Bakırköy district court in Istanbul canceled the dismissal of charges against officials on June 6, handing the case to the Istanbul chief public prosecutor’s office. Another court decision ruled to combine convicted assailant Samast’s case at the juvenile court with a case at the fifth high criminal court, in which Yusuf Hayal and Erhan Tuncel are accused of convincing Samast in the Black Sea province of Trabzon to shoot Dink in Istanbul.

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