ISTANBUL (Combined Sources)–The Trabzon Governor’s Office has not given permission for its security officers to be questioned in relation with the Hrant Dink murder.
Lawyers for the Dink family are appealing this announcement made on August 7 at the First Administrative Court in Trabzon.
The governor’s office has based its decision on a report by investigators of the Ministry of the Interior, which had decided that eight security officers, including the then Police Directors Ramazan Akyurek and Resat Altay, were "not at fault."
Fethiye Cetin, one of the Dink family’s lawyers evaluated the investigators’ report and the decision as "very saddening". She explained the importance of questioning the police officers:
"One of the defendants in the trial, Erhan Tuncel, was working as a police informant. He had told intelligence officers that Hrant Dink would be murdered, indeed that he would be killed with a shot in the neck."
"One of the most important duties of police officers is to prevent crimes. In the first place, there is negligence, because despite of being informed they did not act."
"Apart from the negligence, the relations that were built before the murder look like an attempt to hide the murder. This investigation was very important. The fact that ‘no fault has been found’ is very saddening."
Cetin emphasized that the new Minister of the Interior, Besir Atalay, needed to start a new, serious investigation into the Dink murder.
"The gendarmerie is also attached to the Minister. This investigation has to be run by people with special authority, who will be able to investigate independently and effectively."
She continued, "Police officers must do their duties without any blots. Otherwise, we will continue to suffer greatly in Turkey."
The Istanbul Public Prosecution, which has been running the investigation into the murder, had sent files to the Trabzon Public Prosecution, arguing that the Trabzon security officers had "neglected their duties" and had not "fulfilled their duties as civil servants to prevent a crime". Istanbul had called for an investigation of the officers.
According to Turkish law, the prosecution sent the files to the Trabzon Governor’s Office and civil service chief inspectors of the Ministry of the Interior had been assigned to an investigation.
In a preliminary report, the inspectors had said:
"Contrary to claims made, there has been no fault found with the Trabzon Police Directorate officers as far as the fulfillment of civil servant duties to prevent crimes is concerned. In addition, the claim that there were 17 warnings of Firat (Hrant) Dink’s planned murder is not true."
As a reaction to this preliminary report, the Trabzon Governor’s Office has decided not to allow the questioning of Ramazan Akyurek, Resat Altay, Engin Dinc, Faruk Sari, Ercan Demir, Ozcan Mumcu, Muhittin Zenit and Mehmet Ayhan.
Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of the weekly Agos newspaper had been murdered on January 19. The first hearing of the murder trial took place on July 2.