Accusations Fly Between Suspects in Dink Murder

ISTANBUL–A prime suspect in last month’s murder of journalist Hrant Dink Wednesday put the blame on another arrested suspect, who has turned out to be a police informant, for the murder, New Anatolia news agency reported. Yasin Hayal, the alleged second man in the murder who ordered gunman Ogun Samast to kill Dink, claimed during interrogation at prison that Erhan Tuncel engineered both Dink’s murder and a McDonald’s restaurant bombing three years ago, private news channel CNN Turk reported. Tuncel was arrested on charges of soliciting the murder but it latter came to light that he was once a police informant and passed a tip-off to the police about the murder almost one year before the killing. Hayal was convicted on charges of bombing a McDonald’s restaurant in the northern province of Trabzon. He had said that he committed the crime under influence of personal hatred towards the U.S. Dink was gunned down last month by Samast, a teenager who was caught by police a day after the murder. Hayal’s father said earlier in the week that his son called him and said that if he talks Tuncel would spend a lifetime in prison. Hayal was charged with providing money and the murder weapon to Samast, who is also a Trabzon resident. The testimony of a relative of Hayal’s also stirred the country as he claimed that Hayal had spent quite a long time in acquiring a weapon and that certain Gendarmerie officers were informed about Hayal’s quest. Hayal was given a six-month prison sentence for the bombing but the decision was appealed based on insufficient investigation and evidence. The Court of Appeals started to hear the appeal case on Tuesday after the file had waited almost seven months in the archives. It was alleged last week that Tuncel told police last February that Hayal planed to kill Dink, but that police didn’t give any credit to the tip-off. In related news, the Interior Ministry late on Tuesday gave permission to launch a probe into Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah after intense political and public pressure. Earlier this week Istanbul police head of intelligence Ahmet Ilhan Guler, who said, "I admit all my guilt for not sharing the intelligence I received regarding the assassination plot," was removed from office, following the suspension of five police and five Gendarmerie officers in Samsun. Trabizon Governor Huseyin Yavuzdemir and Police Chief Resat Altay were also suspended soon after the murder.

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