Turkey Denies Focus on Top Officials in Dink Murder Probe

ANKARA (AFP)–Turkey’s interior minister Tuesday denied that an investigation had been launched into senior officials for negligence in the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

“There are petitions to prosecutors, but an investigation has not been launched yet. We have to see what the prosecution will do now,” Beşir Atalay told reporters in televised remarks.

He spoke after a lawyer of the Dink family said Monday that prosecutors had opened a probe into about 30 officials, among them Istanbul’s former governor and police chief.

Lawyer Fethiye Çetin said the move followed Turkey’s condemnation in September by the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that the Turkish authorities had failed to take adequate measures to protect Dink.

She was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

A prominent member of Turkey’s Armenian community, Dink, 52, was shot dead outside the office of his bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos in downtown Istanbul on January 19, 2007.

A total of 19 people have been on trial since July 2007 for his murder, including Ogün Samast, who has confessed to pulling the trigger.

The probe has proved to be a serious embarrassment for Turkish security forces as it emerged that they had received a tip-off of a plot to kill Dink but did not follow up on the intelligence.

The authorities are also under fire for having failed to grant Dink special protection even though the journalist mentioned in his articles about receiving threats and hate mail.

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