ANKARA (Hürriyet Daily News)—Turkey’s prime minister has said he never depicted his deputy, Cemil Çiçek, as a “suspect” in Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink’s murder during a conversation with Dink’s son in 2007.
The claim was made Arat Dink in a column for the liberal daily Taraf on Friday. “We asked Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] during his visit to our house to express his condolences whether we could mention about former Justice Minister C.Ç. [Cemil Çiçek] as a ‘murderer’” in pointing to Hrant Dink as a target, Arat Dink wrote in his piece.
“The prime minister rightly guided us by saying, ‘Don’t call him a murderer, call him a suspect.’”
Erdoğan denied the conversation with Arat Dink in a speech he made in Kars on the Armenian border.
“If this boy said so, then I deplore him. But I condemn this newspaper for this story,” he said during an election campaign. “I have never used such an expression for my deputy prime minister.”
A lawyer for the Dink family refused to make comments on Erdoğan’s denial on Arat Dink’s claims when approached by the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.
Erdoğan criticized the newspaper for being a part of a mindset advocating for the Armenian diaspora while Turkey was awaiting Armenia’s step for reconciliation. “We have extended our hand to Armenia for peace. Now it’s Armenia’s turn,” he said.