Turkish High Court Urges Probe of Civil Servants for Dink Murder

Demonstrators rally for justice for the murder of Hrant Dink as trials continue almost eight years after his death. (Photo: Hurriyet)

ANKARA (Hurriyet Daily)—Civil servants and institutions allegedly implicated in the murder of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink should be investigated, the Constitutional Court of Turkey stated in its detailed ruling on the case on Nov. 12.

The top Turkish court said the case was not probed efficiently and the victim’s rights were violated, in a ruling issued last July.

In its detailed ruling, the Court insisted that civil servants should not be spared from the investigation, a thorny issue that has long been one of the backbones of Dink’s lawyers’ criticism regarding the judicial process.

The court stressed that “despite a long time having passed since the murder, civil servants who allegedly committed negligence regarding the incident and whose identities were revealed have not been interrogated and there responsibility regarding the incident was not determined.”

The ruling added that because of this, it should be accepted that the investigation was not conducted with a “reasonable care and speed, therefore was inefficient.”

The detailed ruling comes only three weeks after nine key civil servants, including the former police chief of Istanbul, were authorized for investigation by the Justice Ministry almost eight years after the murder.

The move may shed light on many aspects of the murder that remain unknown. Dink had been called to a police department and warned about a possible plot against him, and it is therefore thought that the murder was known about within some state institutions before it happened. Up to now, the investigation has failed to focus on the links between suspects and state officials.

“In this kind of cases, the conditions in which the incident took place and flaws in the monitoring system should be tackled first. Secondly, an ex officio investigation should be launched to determine the institutions and civil servants that were responsible,” the detailed ruling stated.

Dink was shot dead by Ogün Samast in broad daylight on a busy street outside the offices of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, in central Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007. The assassination caused outrage across the country, sending hundreds of thousands to the streets in mass rallies.

Samast was sentenced to over 22 years in jail for the murder, but lawyers representing the Dink family have repeatedly expressed their dismay over the lack of investigation regarding individuals or groups who allegedly commissioned the murder.

After a long battle, former Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah, former Istanbul Deputy Governor Ergun Güngör, former Istanbul Police Department Intelligence Head Ahmet İlhan Güler and six other officials are set to testify at court.


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