ANKARA—Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was not efficiently probed and the rights of his family were therefore violated.
The unanimous verdict came after an individual application to the Court from Hrant Dink’s family, Anadolu Agency reported. The family had applied to the court on the grounds that they had not been adequately informed about the investigation and that the probe was neglected.
The ruling came just days after an Istanbul court opened the path for the investigation of key officials regarding Dink’s murder on accusations of either intent or negligence. The Istanbul court lifted a previous decision that ruled there was no need for sanctions against the former deputy governor of Istanbul, Ergun Güngör, Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah, former Istanbul Police Department
Intelligence Head Ahmet İlhan Güler and six police officers regarding the 2007 assassination.
The local court recommended an investigation into nine officials following a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision. A lawyer for the Dink family, Hasan Bakırcıoğlu, confirmed that it was now legally possible for a probe against Güngör, Cerrah, Güler and the six police officers.
Dink, the highly esteemed former editor-in-chief of weekly Agos, was murdered in broad daylight in front of his newspaper’s building on Jan. 19, 2007, by a 17-year-old Turkish nationalist. The triggerman, Ogün Samast, was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to 22 years and 10 months of prison after a two year-trial, but lawyers representing the Dink family have repeatedly expressed their dismay over the way the investigations and the trial were conducted.
His assassination sent shockwaves through Turkey and grew into a wider scandal after it emerged that the security forces knew of a plot to kill Dink, but failed to act.
Backing up widespread accusations of a state conspiracy, another key figure in the trial, Erhan Tuncel, claimed in December 2013 that he had informed the police of the plan, but that his warnings went unheeded.
There have been suggestions that the killing was a result of “deep state” work, but the court said there was no organization behind the murder. According to reports, Dink was called to a police department and “warned” about the plot against him, fueling belief that the murder was known by some institutions within the state beforehand.
The top court’s decision came as an Istanbul court has once again postponed the hearing of the case, despite Dink’s lawyer’s calling for an urgent and just verdict.
The hearing was postponed from July 17 to Oct. 30 on the absence of Ahmet İskender, one of the main suspects in the case, and the other 18 suspects who did not appear at the hearing.