ANKARA: Officers Were Silenced By Colonel In Dink Murder Case


Zaman Online
July 26 2008

The testimony of an ex-gendarmerie officer has indicated that former
Trabzon Gendarmerie Commander Col. Ali Oz disregarded information
related to the murder of Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink
prior to the assassination.

Retired Lt. Col. Ali Oguz Caglar, former Trabzon gendarmerie public
security branch director, yesterday confirmed the testimonies of two
gendarmes who said they had informed their superior officer, Col. Oz,
but had given false statements during the course of the investigation
under pressure from Oz. Caglar said they could not understand why Oz
was disinterested in the information. "His orders were definite. We did
not dare challenge him," Caglar said in his deposition at the Ankara
Second Criminal Court of Peace after a court in Trabzon ordered him
to testify.

Facing an investigation over suspicions of "hiding information and
failing to act" on reports Dink was in danger, Oz gave his testimony
on July 21 and responded by stating either "I don’t remember" or
"I don’t know them" when asked about the intelligence information
related to Dink’s murder and the two gendarmes who said they had
informed him about the murder.

Gendarmes Okan Å~^imÅ~_ek and Veysel Å~^ahin testified that they
knew about the plot to kill Dink six months before the murder took
place and recounted that they had informed Gendarmerie Intelligence
Director Capt. Metin Yıldız, who, in turn, informed Col. Oz. The two
officers testified that Oz did nothing upon receiving the information.

Confident about his statement, Caglar stated at court: "Two of our
intelligence officers worked hard to obtain for me highly credible
information that the murder was likely to happen, and they passed the
information to the troop commander, Col. Ali Oz, but the commander,
either knowingly or unknowingly, did not proceed with the procedures
he had to go through after obtaining such information. Gendarme
Sgt. Å~^ahin and Sgt. Å~^imÅ~_ek were sincere in their most recent

Caglar said that upon receiving the intelligence, Col. Oz had said,
"Let’s talk about this later," and the matter was not discussed
again. People who attended the briefing where the intelligence
was discussed later debated about "how such information can be

Caglar also said, as the news of Dink’s murder was revealed on
television on Jan. 19 of last year, that Col. Oz had told them in
the next briefing that informant CoÅ~_kun Ä°gci should be contacted
and silenced.

Ä°gci, who testified for the first time on July 7, is the uncle of
murder suspect Yasin Hayal. Ä°gci said he tried to prevent Hayal from
murdering Dink but could not, so he informed officials and gendarmerie
officials, who told him that they had already been monitoring Hayal.

Caglar said he told provincial intelligence chief Metin Yıldız that
he would tell the truth if he was asked and that he was not invited
into the briefings from then on. Caglar named another gendarmerie
officer, Husamettin Polat, who had said he would tell the truth,
whereupon he was also excluded from the briefings.

Dink was gunned down by a teenager outside his newspaper’s Ä°stanbul
office in January 2007, but the ensuing investigation has been highly
controversial. The investigation made it obvious that the young man
hadn’t acted alone but was in fact driven by a group of people whom
he called older brothers who had plotted for more than a year.

In addition to shady links between the suspects and security
institutions, lawyers representing the Dink family at various times
have accused the police of destroying vital evidence and concealing
crucial information from the court and the prosecution.

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