Footage broadcast by a pro-government TV channel appears to show that six former gendarmerie intelligence officers who are currently on trial over links to the faith-based Gülen movement were complicit in the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, a claim already raised by two journalists several years ago who are now under heavy government pressure due to their links to the movement.
In the footage broadcast by A Haber, the gendarmerie officers can be seen near the scene at the time of the murder of Dink on Jan. 19, 2007.
The footage was uncovered in the course of an investigation into the gendarmerie officers’ alleged involvement in a failed military coup attempt on July 15, which the government accuses the Gülen movement of having masterminded, showing the six officers currently under arrest close to the scene when Dink’s murder took place, strengthening the suspicion that they were in close contact with the perpetrator of the murder, Ogün Samast.
Journalists Adem Yavuz Arslan and Bayram Kaya, who used to work for the Bugün and Zaman dailies, respectively, wrote about the involvement of gendarmerie officers in the Dink murder in books they published several years ago. Both Zaman and Bugün were closed by the government following the failed coup attempt on the grounds that they had links to the Gülen movement.
Arslan, currently abroad, is being sought under an arrest warrant, while Kaya is among the dozens of journalists jailed after the coup attempt.
In his book, titled ”Bi Ermeni Var” (There is an Armenian), published in 2011, Arslan wrote about the involvement of gendarmerie officers in the Dink murder, but no legal action has yet been taken against them.
Using it for the witch-hunt
Writing from his Twitter account on Monday, Arslan said: ”Those who committed the murder yesterday are now seeking to gain benefits over Dink today. They present things which I have been talking about with evidence for years as new information and evidence today in a bid to make use of them in their witch-hunt.”
Kaya’s book, ”Kördüğüm” (Gordian Knot), about the murder of Dink, was published last year. Kaya claimed in his book that officers from the Trabzon Gendarmerie Command had knowledge of the details of the murder.
Samast, a radical nationalist who was 17 at the time of the murder, had been found guilty of shooting Dink and was sentenced to nearly 23 years in prison by a juvenile court in July 2011.
In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights found that Turkey had failed to properly investigate the role of state officials in the murder.
Numerous irregularities in the Dink murder investigation have been pointed out by lawyers and human rights groups since the trial began in July 2007, including deleted evidence and security and police officials misinforming the court, as well as “lost” security camera footage from cameras around the scene of the murder.
In the meantime, one of the lawyers representing the Dink family, Hakan Bakırcıoğlu, told the Dicle News Agency (DIHA) on Tuesday that it was important that the new footage was uncovered; however, it was insufficient to ascertain those responsible for the murder.
”The person or persons who gave the order to kill [Dink] should be revealed,” he said.