The Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office has called on the former Istanbul Chief of Police Celalettin Cerrah and former Intelligence Department Chief Ahmet İlhan Güler, who were in office at the time of the assassination, to provide statements. Public officials stationed at the Trabzon Police Department and Gendarme Commanderie are also expected to be invited to provide statements in the coming days.
The judicial process regarding public officials named in the Hrant Dink murder has accelerated. Following decisions by the European Court of Human Rights and also the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, the Ministry of Justice and the Bakırköy 8th High Criminal Court, the Istanbul Public Prosecution Office continues to take the statements of the named public officials. The Prosecution Office has taken a number of statements from public officials including Sabri Uzun and Ramazan Akyürek.
Prosecutor Yusuf Hakkı Doğan, in charge of the Hrant Dink murder investigation, has called on the former Istanbul Chief of Police Celalettin Cerrah and former Intelligence Department Chief Ahmet İlhan Güler, who were in office at the time of the assassination, to provide statements. Public officials stationed at the Trabzon Police Department and Gendarme Commanderie are also expected to be invited to provide statements in the coming days. Public officials stationed at the Istanbul Police Directorate will face the prosecutor on charges of failing to implement the necessary protective measures in the lead-up to the murder.
‘An indictment is necessary’
Hakan Bakırcıoğlu, a lawyer of the Dink Family, pointed out that the Chief Editor had received more than one death threat, and that no measures had been implemented for the protection of Dink. Bakırcıoğlu also drew attention to the ECHR decision, and added: “The ECHR declared in its decision that the danger Hrant Dink faced was clear and immediate, that the public officials were either aware of this, or were in a position that enabled them to gather the necessary information; and that there had been no attempt to prevent the murder. The responsibility and involvement of public officials in the Dink murder has been shown with evidence, court rulings and reports. The prosecutor’s office is under obligation to make out an indictment with charges in accordance with Article 83 of the Penal Code regulating the crime of premeditated murder by negligence.”
Provocation step by step
Following the appearance of the Sabiha Gökçen article in other media, and newspapers carrying headlines targeting Hrant Dink, provocative actions took place in front of Agos newspaper, and after a lawsuit was filed against him, at the court house during hearings, and Hrant Dink had also suffered physical attacks during these actions. In addition to all this, the Istanbul Police Directorate also received numerous notifications regarding the issue. In the 7-year judicial process of the Hrant Dink murder, it was later revealed that the officials at the Istanbul Police Directorate had done nothing about notifications of an assassination against Hrant Dink.
On 2 March 2003, a communiqué sent out by Istanbul Police Directorate Deputy Chief Hakan Aydın Türkeli to the Counterterrorism Branch and the Şişli and Bakırköy Police Directorates asked for the implementation of protective measures and included the following statements: “On 26 February 2004, the Istanbul Provincial Chairman of Ülkü Ocakları [the Youth Branch of the Nationalist Movement Party, MHP] declared ‘From now on, Hrant Dink is a target of ours. He is on the target board of the Turkish nation’, and it is also known that unidentified persons calling the Agos newspaper have made death threats. I request the implementation of the necessary measures around his residence and the newspaper offices to prevent any negative event.”
The letter containing a death threat to Hrant Dink, sent from Bursa on 2 February 2006 and signed Ahmet Demir, had been submitted to the Şişli Public Prosecutor’s Office. Following the assassination of Priest Santoro in 2006, the attack on an exhibition about the September 6-7 Istanbul Pogrom on its 50th anniversary, and the increase of demonstrations against Dink, Mesrob Mutafyan, the Patriarchate of the Armenians of Turkey, wrote a letter to Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler requesting he provide the security of all the schools, hospitals and institutions of the Armenian community.
‘An action that will have a resounding effect’
In October 2006, a communiqué sent out by the Security General Directorate to intelligence departments in all provinces stated “Intelligence indicates that reactionary actions might be carried out against our Armenian citizens and Christian temples” and a warning was issued “to focus on intelligence work to closely monitor groups that might display extreme reaction and to provide information regarding developments”.
Again, on 17 February 2006, the Trabzon Intelligence Department Directorate sent a report to the Istanbul Intelligence Department Directorate that “an action with resounding effect was about to be carried out against Dink” and that Yasin Hayal could be involved in such an action. The report also mentioned that Yasin Hayal would be staying with his brother Osman Hayal who resided in Istanbul, and his address details were added. The Istanbul Intelligence Department Directorate then prepared an official report that an investigation had been carried out at the addresses where Osman Hayal could be residing, and that he was not found at these addresses. This official report was later revealed to be a fabrication in the process of the lawsuit. The police officers responsible of monitoring were proven to have investigated a different address on the day the report was prepared. Former Intelligence Department Head Ramazan Akyürek, who was in office at the time of the murder, had said in his statement to the prosecutor that he was shown the notification by the former Trabzon Police Intelligence Branch Chief Engin Dinç, and that “an action with resounding effect meant a grave and serious action against Hrant Dink”.