ISTANBUL: Dink murder case should go back to square one – Aslan

Sunday’s Zaman, Turkey
Feb 5 2012

Dink murder case should go back to square one, says journalist Aslan

5 February 2012 / FATÄ°H UÄ?UR, Ä°STANBUL
Considering the fact that the final court ruling in the murder case of
Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007 has not fulfilled the
public’s sense of justice, Bugün daily Ankara representative Adem
Yavuz Arslan said the investigation into the murder case of Dink
should be taken back to square one and this time handled with
determination to thoroughly resolve the case.
`What actually needs to be done now is to re-handle the Dink murder
case as if the murder took place today, and to do this with
determination to resolve it,’ Arslan told Sunday’s Zaman.

The late editor-in-chief of the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, Dink was
shot dead in broad daylight on Jan. 19, 2007, by an ultranationalist
teenager outside the offices of his newspaper in Ä°stanbul. The gunman,
Ogün Samast, and 18 others were brought to trial. The investigation
into his murder was stalled, but the suspected perpetrator and his
accomplices were put on trial. However, the final ruling of the
Ä°stanbul 14th High Criminal Court issued last month failed to please
those expecting justice to be served. During the process, lawyers for
the Dink family and the co-plaintiffs in the case presented evidence
indicating that Samast did not act alone. Samast stood trial in a
juvenile court because he was a minor at the time of the murder. He
was recently sentenced to 22 years, 10 months in prison by the court.
In a separate trial, two gendarmerie officers were convicted on
charges of dereliction of duty in the run-up to the Dink murder.

Another suspect, Yasin Hayal, was given life in prison for inciting
Samast to murder. However, Erhan Tuncel, who worked as an informant
for the Trabzon Police Department, was found not guilty of
masterminding the murder. The prosecution believes the killers are
affiliated with the Ergenekon network, a shadowy crime network that
has alleged links within the state, whose suspected members are
currently standing trial on charges of plotting to overthrow the

Arslan is also the author of the book, `Bi Ermeni Var: Dink
Operasyonunun Å?ifreleri’ (There’s this Armenian: The Codes of the Dink
Operation), which was published last year seeking to shed light on
some of the shady aspects surrounding Dink’s murder. According to
Arslan, the court made its final ruling exactly in line with the
expectations of those who masterminded Dink’s murder, which he
described as the indisputable success of Ergenekon. `Although five
years have passed since the murder, the big brothers, I mean the real
masterminds of the murder, could not be reached. Those who planned and
masterminded the murder and prepared the groundwork for it were not
even investigated. Such a professionally committed murder has been
covered up by attributing it to several boys who were playing football
on a field. The court’s ruling has confirmed how Ergenekon is still
very strong,’ said Arslan.

Considering the fact that the prosecutor conducting the investigation
into the assassination of Dink, Hikmet Usta, announced his opinion
last September as to who masterminded the assassination and said the
murder was committed by Ergenekon’s cell in the Black Sea province of
Trabzon, Arslan commented on the court ignoring the prosecutor’s
opinion by not finding any connection to an organized gang in the Dink
murder and pointed out some misfortunes during the trial.

`One of the misfortunes of this case was the replacement of
prosecutors and judges during the trial. The former presiding judge of
the case [Erkan Ã?anak] was taken off the case due to his alleged
relations with drug barons. The former prosecutor of the case was also
taken off the case for another reason. The name of this prosecutor was
on the list of members of the judiciary who would benefit from the
Sledgehammer coup case. This detail is important and because of this,
both the court and the prosecutor’s office skillfully warded off
attempts to deepen the case during the five-year-long trial. They
either rejected such attempts or left them to time. Another misfortune
was the conduct of another operation over the Dink murder. Ergenekon
circles diverted our attention to another point. They diverted our
attention to other points that hypnotized us and made us fail to see
the obvious,’ explained Arslan.

Elaborating on the point Ergenekon circles tried to attract the
public’s attention to, he said these circles tried to undermine those
carrying out the Ergenekon investigation and damage the prestige of
the court hearing the Ergenekon trial.

`Unfortunately, they have been successful in their attempts to a
certain extent. So, everyone had their own `gang’ and suspects they
wanted to see in that gang. Or else, it is very obvious that the Hrant
Dink murder is an operation included in the Cage Operation Action
Plan,’ he said.

The Cage Operation Action Plan is an alleged military plot to
intimidate the country’s non-Muslim population by assassinating some
of their prominent community figures. It was uncovered by the Taraf
daily in late 2009. The Cage plan was detailed on a CD seized in 2009
from the office of retired Maj. Levent BektaÅ?, who was arrested in
April 2009 for suspected links to a large cache of munitions buried in
Ä°stanbul’s Poyrazköy area. That discovery came as part of an
investigation into Ergenekon. The CD exposed the group’s plans to
assassinate prominent Turkish non-Muslim figures and place the blame
for the killings on the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). The
desired result was an increase in internal and external pressure on
the party, leading to diminishing public support for the government.

The Cage plan called the killings of Dink, Catholic priest Father
Andrea Santoro and three Christians in Malatya an `operation.’
According to the police report, the mastermind behind the Cage plan
was Ä°brahim Å?ahin, the former deputy chief of the National Police
Department’s Special Operations Unit.

`When we look at the murder of Dink in general and its planning in
Trabzon and Ä°stanbul, we see the signs of Cage Operation Action Plan.
Let’s remember those days. In 2003 and the ensuing period, there was a
debate that could not be well understood on missionary activities and
loss of religion. These debates culminated in 2004 and 2005. ¦ The
necessary environment [for the attacks on non-Muslims] was prepared in
this way. There was an aim to create a neo-nationalist front against
the AK Party. There was a need to create a public unease over the
prospects of losing religion. When we look at the murder of Father
Santaro [in Trabzon in 2006], Hrant Dink and the killing of three
Christians in Malatya [in 2007], we see that the perpetrators were all
influenced by this wave. They attacked churches and killed
missionaries out of fear that religion [Islam] was slipping from the
hands of the nation. In brief, in order to understand Dink’s murder
and its goal, we need to look at the game that has been skillfully
played since 2003,’ Arslan said.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS