Former Police Chief Detained as Key Figure in Dink Murder

A poster bearing a picture of Hrant Dink and a Turkish flag are pictured in front of an Istanbul court


ISTANBUL (Hurriyet Daily)—A high-ranking Turkish police chief has been detained in Ankara as part of the investigation into the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

Ramazan Akyürek, who was detained in Ankara on Feb. 26, had served as the head of the police in the Black Sea province of Trabzon between December 2003 and May 2006. He then served as the head of Police Intelligence between May 2006 and October 2009. Dink was murdered in January 2007.

Akyürek was removed from his position right after Turkey’s Dec. 17, 2013, corruption and graft operation, along with hundreds of other senior police officers allegedly linked to U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, the government’s ally-turned-nemesis. An Ankara court had rejected Akyürek’s dismissal in January 2014.

The Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office initially aborted an ongoing probe into the alleged negligence of nine public servants, but the 8th Heavy Penal Court in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district cancelled the decision, reopening the probe on June 6, 2014.

Akyürek was detained after all the criminal files regarding the Dink murder were combined into a single probe in Istanbul, as instructed by Istanbul Prosecutor Gökalp Kökçü.

In his testimony in October 2014, Akyürek had placed the blame of the murder on the Istanbul Police Director, while using the phrases “I don’t remember” and “I don’t know” a total of 27 times in response to the prosecutor’s questions.

Under Turkish law, the crime described as “committing a premeditated murder through an act of negligence” has the penalty of a maximum 20 to 25-year prison sentence.

Previously, three high-ranking police officials, Muhittin Zenit, Özkan Mumcu and Ercan Demir, had been arrested by the court in the Dink case.

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