FETO linked to 2007 murder of Hrant Dink

4 Istanbul-based prosecutors investigating assassination of Turkish Armenian suspected of being linked to Fetullah Gulen

Ayşe Hümeyra Atılgan, Burcu Arik   | 05.08.2016
FETO linked to 2007 murder of Hrant Dink



Links between the U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen and four prosecutors investigating the assassination of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink have been found.

Dink was murdered in broad daylight in front of his office in Istanbul on January 19, 2007. He was one of the founders of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly, Agos, and was considered one of the most prominent Armenian voices in Turkey.

Istanbul prosecutors Fikret Secen, Cihan Kansiz, Muammer Akkas, and Mustafa Cavusoglu allegedly made little progress in the case.

On April 20, 2007, Istanbul Public Prosecutors Selim Berna Altay and Fikret Secen prepared an indictment of over 18 suspects, including Dink's assassin Ogun Samast.

Ogun Samast, a Turkish man from Trabzon on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, was jailed for 23 years in connection with the murder in 2011. Samast, who was aged 17 at the time of the killing, claimed he killed Dink for "insulting Turkishness".

Istanbul High Criminal Court had accepted the indictment. However, the indictment was criticized since it only focused on Samast and could not reach the main perpetrators responsible for Dink's murder.

After Secen was appointed as Istanbul deputy chief public prosecutor, the case was sent to another prosecutor Cihan Kansiz. Soon after Kansiz was also appointed to the same position and later the case was transferred to another prosecutor Cavusoglu. Later, Akkas was made in charge of the case, which he investigated for three years. However, he only heard two suspects, Ogun Samast and Erhan Tuncel.

In 2013, Akkas was dismissed from duty following a graft probe when some prosecutors accused family members of several ministers of bribery, corruption, and fraud.

The investigation into Dink's murder gained another dimension when Yusuf Hakki Dogan took over the case in 2014. Dogan firstly questioned the personnel in public institutions.

The same year in July, Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled the murder case had been an "ineffective investigation".

Following Dogan getting elected to the apex court, the case was assigned to Gokalp Kokcu, a prosecutor at Istanbul’s Anti-Terrorism and Organized Crimes Unit.

In December 2015, an indictment linked to the 2007 murder called for the prosecution of 26 people on charges of "establishing an armed organization" and "neglecting their duties".

The indictment, which had been rejected twice before due to an apparent lack of information, called for life sentences be handed down to Ramazan Akyurek, a former head of Turkey's police intelligence, as well as Cosgun Cakar and Ali Fuat Yilmazer, both senior police intelligence officers. The three have been accused of intentionally causing Dink’s death and forming an "armed organization".

The prosecutor also expanded the case to the gendarmerie in light of new evidence.

As part of the investigation, 27 suspects were held, while two gendarme officers, Abdullah Dinc and Yusuf Bozca, were arrested and remanded on July 3.

In his testimony to the police, Bozca said: “The Dink assassination was organized by members of FETO/parallel state structure and his murder then formed the basis of the [July 15] coup attempt.

“When we look at the period we have come through since 2007, the basis of the July 15 coup attempt was laid in this murder.”

He blamed Captain Muharrem Demirkale and his supporters in the Turkish army for being allegedly involved in the assassination.

The three prosecutors, Secen, Kansiz, and Akkas remain at large and have been suspended by the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors, also known HSYK, while Cavusoglu is retired and waiting to stand trial.

They are all suspected of having links to Fetullah Terrorist Organization, or FETO, which Turkish state accuses of being behind the deadly July 15 coup attempt.

*Reporting by Hani̇fe Sevi̇nc and Si̇bel Kurtoglu; Writing by Ayse Humeyra Atilgan,Burcu Arik

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