The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has urged Turkish authorities to find “the masterminds” and all those involved in the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink following the conviction, last week, of seven defendants in the high-profile case.
In a statement, the OSCE’s representative on freedom of the media, Harlem Desir, welcomed a Turkish court’s decision a day earlier to sentence seven people to lengthy prison terms for their roles in Dink’s killing.
But Desir stressed that “more needs to be done” and expressed hope that “all others involved in this murder will face justice.”
“After 12 years, Hrant’s family, friends, and fellow journalists deserve to know the full truth behind this heinous killing,” Desir said. “It is therefore of utmost importance that the Turkish authorities identify and bring the masterminds of Dink’s murder to justice.”
The 52-year-old Dink, a leading member of Turkey’s ethnic Armenian community who was also involved in Turkish-Armenian reconciliation efforts, was gunned down in broad daylight by purported ultranationalist Ogun Samast on January 19, 2007.
Dink’s murder became a greater scandal after it emerged that Turkish security forces knew of a plot to kill him but failed to act.
The court ruled that the murder was an “organized crime”, and sentenced Erhan Tuncel to 99 years and six months in prison for his connection to Dink’s murder and being a member of an armed group. Yasin Hayal, who was previously sentenced to life for instigating the murder, received seven years and six months in prison for forming and leading an armed group. The assassin, Ogün Samast, who was previously sentenced to 22 years and ten months, received another two years and six months in prison for membership of an armed group.
Ersin Yolcu and Ahmet Iskender each received jail terms of just under two years for their role in the murder, while Tuncay Uzundal and Zeynel Abidin Yavuz were sentenced to more than ten years in prison. Two defendants were acquitted.
“After twelve years, Hrant’s family, friends and fellow journalists deserve to know the full truth behind this heinous killing. It is therefore of utmost importance that the Turkish authorities identify and bring the masterminds of Dink’s murder to justice,” Désir said.
The Representative will continue to monitor developments as the trials of further suspects continue.