ISTANBUL — (RFE/RL) — A Turkish court has handed life sentences to two former Turkish police commanders and two top ex-security officers over the killing of Istanbul-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink 14 years ago.

Dink was gunned down in broad daylight on January 19, 2007, outside the Istanbul offices of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian Agos newspaper, where he was the editor. He was 53.

Dink had been an arduous proponent of reconciliation between Armenians and Turks and was repeatedly prosecuted for insulting “Turkishness” over his comments on Armenian identity and the Genocide of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915.

After his killing, tens of thousands of people gathered in central Istanbul to mourn.

Seventy-six suspects were facing charges including failing to uncover the plot to kill Dink.

Istanbul’s main court on March 26 sentenced the city’s former police intelligence chief, Ramazan Akyurek, and his former deputy, Ali Fuat Yilmazer, to life in prison for “premeditated murder,” Agos reported.

Former top Interior Ministry officers Yavuz Karakaya and Muharrem Demirkale were also sentenced to life in prison.

In 2012, ultranationalist sympathizer Ogun Samast, who was 17 at the time of the killing, was sentenced to 23 years in prison for Dink’s killing.

Ali Oz, a former Interior Ministry commander of the Black Sea region of Trabzon where Samast came from, was sentenced to 28 years in prison on March 26.

Charges against another top Istanbul police chief were dropped due to the statute of limitation.

Dink Family lawyers plan to appeal the court decision

However, Dink’s supporters and human rights activists say the most senior police officials have gone unpunished and want the investigation and trials to continue.

“Some of those responsible for this assassination, including the sponsors, have still not been prosecuted,” said Erol Onderoglu, the representative in Turkey for Reporters Without Borders (RSF), who has closely followed the trial.

“This partial justice rendered after 14 years leaves a bitter taste and should not mark the end of the search for the truth.”

The accused in the protracted trial included U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016. Gulen has lived in the United States since 1999 and denies any involvement in the failed coup.

The Istanbul court on March 26 ruled that Dink’s murder was committed “in line with the objectives of Feto” — an acronym Ankara uses for Gulen’s banned movement, Turkey’s NTV reported.

Turkey claims Gulen’s network had widely infiltrated the country’s police and other state institutions over decades.

The court did not rule on the case of Gulen and 12 other fugitives and instead separated their cases.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the latest updates from MassisPost.

You May Also Like

NATO Week Kicks Off in Armenia with Exhibition Dedicated to Armenian Peacekeepers

YEREVAN (ARMENPRESS) — NATO Week kicked off in Armenia with the opening…

The Matenadaran Publishes New Volume of Catalogue of Armenian Manuscripts

YEREVAN — Yerevan’s Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts (the Matenadaran) published…

Armenian-Russian High-Level Talks in Yerevan: Putin Vows Stronger Russian Role in South Caucasus

YEREVAN — President Vladimir Putin on Monday pledged to strengthen Russia’s geopolitical…

Azerbaijani Family Seeks Political Asylum in Armenia

YEREVAN — A five-member Azerbaijani family has asked authorities in Armenia to…