Security Forces At Fault Over Ethnic Armenian’s Murder: Report


Agence France Presse — English
July 23, 2008 Wednesday 1:48 PM GMT

A Turkish parliamentary commission Wednesday accused security forces
of "negligence" for failing to act on intelligence and prevent the
murder last year of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

The charge came in a non-binding report by a sub-committee of the
parliament Human Rights Commission after a nine-month investigation
into the 2007 murder.

The report, without giving names, says police and the paramilitary
gendarmerie, which polices rural parts of Turkey, failed to "properly
investigate and evaluate" a tip on a plot to kill Dink.

"Dink lost his life … because the authorities did not take the
requisite measures due to negligence by those in charge at all levels,"
it said.

Dink, 52, reviled by Turkish nationalists for describing the World
War I massacre of Armenians a genocide, was shot dead on January 19,
2007 outside the offices of his Agos newspaper in central Istanbul.

Self-confessed gunman Ogun Samast, 17 at the time of the murder,
and 18 accomplices went on trial in Istanbul last year.

The charge sheet says police received intelligence as early as 2006
of a plot to kill Dink, organised in the northern city of Trabzon,
Samast’s hometown.

Only four members of the securtity forces have so far been indicted
in connection with the murder.

Two of them — soldiers working at the Trabzon gendarmerie intelligence
department — testified in court in March that they had passed on
to their superiors information of a plot to kill Dink, but said no
action was taken.

They accused their superiors of fabricating documents after the murder
to create the impression they had no prior knowledge of the plot.

Two policemen are on trial in the northern city of Samsun for their
part in a scandal that erupted when it was revealed that security
forces posed for smiling "souvenir" pictures with the gunman after
he was captured there a day after the murder.

The investigation is seen as a test of Ankara’s resolve to eliminate
the "deep state" — a term used to describe security forces acting
outside the law to preserve what they consider Turkey’s best interests.