4 Top Ex-Security Officers Sentenced to Life for Dink Murder

Dink supporters gather outside courthouse (AFP photo by Ozan Kose)
Dink supporters gather outside courthouse (AFP photo by Ozan Kose)

Dink supporters gather outside courthouse (AFP photo by Ozan Kose)

Turkish judges on Friday handed life sentences to two former police chiefs and two top ex-security officers over the 2007 killing of a Agos editor Hrant Dink, local media reported.

According to Agence France Presse, 76 suspects were facing charges including failing to uncover the plot to Dink’s murder.

His murder plunged Turkey’s Armenian community into mourning and sparked a sprawling trial that lasted over a decade and involved senior security officers who were accused of being aware of the murder plot but failing to act.

Istanbul’s main court sentenced the city’s former police intelligence chief Ramazan Akyurek and his former deputy Ali Fuat Yilmazer to life in prison for “premeditated murder,” according to Agos.

Former top Istanbul interior ministry officers Yavuz Karakaya and Muharrem Demirkale were also jailed for life while charges against another top city police chief were dropped due to the statute of limitation.

Ogun Samast, who was an unemployed 17-year-old at the time, had confessed to the murder and was sentenced to almost 23 years in jail in 2011.

Ali Oz, a former interior ministry commander of the Black Sea region of Trabzon where the gunman came from, was sentenced to 28 years in jail on Friday.

Dink’s supporters and human rights activists still believe that the most senior police officials have gone unpunished and want the investigation and trials to run on.

“Some of those responsible for this assassination, including the sponsors, have still not been prosecuted,” Erol Onderoglu, Turkey representative for Reporters Without Borders (RSF), who has closely followed the trial told AFP. “This partial justice rendered after 14 years leaves a bitter taste and should not mark the end of the search for the truth.”

The Istanbul court on Friday ruled that Dink’s murder was committed “in line with the objectives of Feto” — an acronym Ankara uses for Fetullah Gulen’s banned movement, NTV reported.

Dink’s widow, Rakel, had said in January that blaming the Gulen movement for her husband’s death nearly a decade before the failed coup was like “I didn’t kill him, but my hand did,” AFP reported.


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