ISTANBUL — A chief police inspector has claimed that phone recordings of Yasin Hayal, a suspect in the 2007 assassination of Hrant Dink, were erased by the Ankara Police, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
The statement by the inspector, a witness in the case, comes following a request to have alleged gunman Ogun Samast’s father heard as a witness in order to explain his son’s relationship with a “gendarmerie commander” that he mentioned before.
Critics of how the case is being pursued say the state is continuing to drag its feet on broadening the investigation despite the new allegations.
The Ankara chief prosecutor received testimonies from former Trabzon Police Directorate authorities, including former Deputy Police Chief Emin Aslan and Chief Police Inspector Levent Yarimel, who were asked to be tried on accusations of neglect of duty in Dink’s murder.
Yarimel, who testified to the Prosecutor’s Office in Trabzon regarding the murder case, claimed phone recordings of suspect Hayal had been erased by the Intelligence Unit of the Police Directorate in Ankara. He also said the Intelligence Unit’s official report saying there had not been any investigation conducted regarding the telephone owned by Hayal did not reflect the truth.
According to Yarimel, erasing the phone recordings might have been done when investigations started into the inspectors regarding Dink’s murder. He claimed that something like that could not have been done without the order of the police chiefs in the Intelligence Unit of the Police Directorate.
The Trabzon Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had accepted a request in February for some police officers to be questioned within the scope of the murder investigation.
Dink, was killed 19 January 2007 in Istanbul.
Former Trabzon Police Chief Resat Altay and his deputy Yarimel are among the officers facing questioning in connection with the case. The officers are among public officials suspected by the family’s lawyers of neglecting their duty or knowingly not taking action to prevent the murder.

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