ISTANBUL — A confidential National Intelligence Organization (MIT) document published by the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos has revealed that the intelligence organization had closely monitored a trial related to the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and regularly recorded the details in a document titled “ethnic separatist activities.” Cihan news agency reports based on Today’s Zaman article.
The document dates back to 2011 and is titled “Other ethnic separatist activities” with a subtitle “Armenianism.” The details about the Dink trial are written under this subtitle.
The document, which is included in a new indictment recently prepared on the murder of Dink, also reveals that MIT regularly monitored non-Muslim minorities in addition to Armenians and that the intelligence agency documented their activities similar to the way they documented Dink’s murder case.
According to the Agos report, the document in question was sent by MIT to police departments across Turkey and to police intelligence units in order to contribute to police activities. The document recorded certain activities of Armenians, Greeks, Syriac Christians and the other non-Muslim minorities living in Turkey between March 1 and 30, 2011.
The classified MIT document also reveals that the intelligence organization also regularly monitored and documented the activities of various civil society organizations and initiatives, such as People’s Houses, Student Collectives, the Mothers for Peace initiative, the Brotherhood of the Rivers Platform and the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP).
The document also shows that MIT monitored how Dink’s family spent compensation money paid to them by Turkey as a result of a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling.
The ECtHR delivered its judgment on the Dink v. Turkey case on Sept. 14, 2010. In its ruling, the ECtHR found Turkey in violation of Articles 2 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). These articles are related to the “right to life” and “freedom of expression,” respectively.
The MIT document states that Turkey paid 105,000 euros in compensation to Dink’s family on March 8, 2011, following the court’s ruling. “In this context, it was learned that the Dink family donated the compensation in question to the Hrant Dink Scholarship Fund established by the Community Volunteers Foundation to be used in educational activities; to Getronagan Armenian High School for the purpose of supporting the continuation of Armenian culture and education of the Armenian language in Turkey; and to the Gedikpasa Armenian Protestant Church to support educational activities for Armenian immigrant children in Turkey,” the confidential document states.
Dink was shot by 17-year-old Ogün Samast on Jan. 19, 2007 in front of the office of Agos weekly, where Dink was the editor-in-chief. Samast had links to ultranationalist organizations. Samast was given a 22-year prison sentence, while another suspect, Yasin Hayal, was sentenced to life in prison for inciting Samast to commit murder.
A retrial began in September 2014 at the Istanbul 5th High Criminal Court after the Supreme Court of Appeals in May 2013 overturned a lower court’s ruling that acquitted the suspects in the case of charges of forming a terrorist organization. This decision paved the way for the trial of tens of public officials on charges of voluntary manslaughter.
In December 2015 the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office accepted an indictment against a number of public officials on charges of negligence and misconduct in the Dink murder. Previously, the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office twice returned the indictment to prosecutor Gökalp Kökçü, who is overseeing the investigation, allegedly for including the names of pro-government police officers as suspects, such as National Police Department Police Chief Engin Dinç, and demanding a prison sentence of up to 25 years for him.
Dinç was the head of the Trabzon Police Department’s intelligence unit at the time of the murder.