The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has asked Turkey to provide its defense for an investigation into two National Intelligence Organization (MİT) employees in relation to the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink 14 years ago, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Wednesday.
The 52-year-old Dink, editor-in-chief of the Turkish-Armenian bilingual Agos weekly, was shot dead with two bullets to the head in broad daylight outside the newspaper’s headquarters in central İstanbul on Jan. 19, 2007 by then-17-year-old Ogün Samast, an ultranationalist.
The slain journalist’s wife Rakel Dink and other complainants applied to the Strasbourg court after an investigation into MİT employees Özel Yılmaz and Handan Selçuk was launched in early 2011 and dropped later the same year by the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office due to a decision of non-prosecution.
Following the prosecutor’s decision, the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court also reversed its decision to hear the two MİT employees as part of the trial concerning Dink’s murder.
Following a press statement released by the General Staff that targeted Dink over a news report claiming that Sabiha Gökçen, the adopted daughter of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was Armenian, the journalist was called to the İstanbul Governor’s Office for a meeting in February 2004.
Among those who met with Dink were MİT employees Yılmaz and Selçuk. İstanbul’s then-deputy governor Ergun Güngör, who later admitted in a statement that the meeting the İstanbul Police Department was not informed about was arranged to warn the journalist of “possible danger if he continued to make controversial statements” about Gökçen.
Dink later described the meeting as an attempt to “teach me a lesson” and wrote, “I am a target now.”
Regardless of the reason for it, the meeting revealed that MİT knew, back in 2004, that the journalist’s life was in danger.
Rakel Dink and other complainants, who accuse MİT employees of negligent homicide due to the 2004 meeting, argued in the application that the prosecutor’s decision of non-prosecution violated the second article of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which protects the right to life.
The ECtHR ruled in 2010 that Turkey “failed to protect him, violating his right to life.”
More than 75 people have been accused of involvement in the murder in the last 14 years, and a series of trials have been held without a clear and satisfactory conclusion because links between hitman Samast and officials in the police and Turkey’s intelligence have proven to be complex and subject to political manipulation.