Dink Lawyers Press for Judicial Probe into Official Involvement in Dink Murder

(AP)–Lawyers for the family of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on Thursday filed a motion for a judicial probe into officials they accused of being implicated in the murder. "We submitted to the prosecutor a request for a (judicial) investigation against all public officials already facing administrative charges in connection with the case," Lawyer Bahri Bayram Belen told reporters in Istanbul. "We believe it will not be possible to shed light on this political assassination if all the blame is put on a few children from poor families," he added. The January 19 murder of the editor of the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos is the work of a "well-structured organization… that aims to prevent democracy from functioning in Turkey," Belen said. Police have so far arrested 11 suspects in connection with the killing, including Ogun Samast, an unemployed 17-year-old a high school dropout who, officials say, has confessed to gunning down Dink, 52, outside the Agos offices in Istanbul. Most of the suspects are from the Black Sea city of Trabzon–a bastion of nationalism–and are believed to be close to ultranationalist groups who hated Dink for his views on the Armenian Genocide. Interior ministry inspectors are currently looking into allegations that Istanbul police received a tip-off last year about a plot to kill Dink being organized in Trabzon, but did not follow up. Showing a copy of a note from Trabzon police informing their colleagues in Istanbul of a plot to murder Dink, lawyer Fethiye Cetin said 17 similar messages in all had been sent to the Istanbul police. "These prove that it was not negligence or forgetfulness, but the conscious participation of the authorities in this crime," she said. A preliminary investigation has been launched against Istanbul police chief Celalettin Cerrah and another senior officer on charges that they failed to act on the intelligence received from Trabzon. Another investigation is under way against Trabzon’s governor and police chief, already removed from office amid accusations that they failed to seriously investigate groups of ultra-nationalist youths in the city.

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