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Top Turkey court rules Dink murder probe was flawed

ANKARA: Turkey’s top court Thursday ruled that the investigation into the killing of an ethnic Armenian journalist had been flawed, paving the way for potential further trials against new suspects.

The constitutional court unanimously decided that the authorities had failed to carry out an effective investigation into the 2007 killing of journalist Hrant Dink.

Dink was shot dead in broad daylight by a teenage ultranationalist outside the offices of his bilingual Agos newspaper.

Ogun Samast, a 17-year-old high school dropout at the time, confessed to the murder and was sentenced to almost 23 years in jail in 2011.

However, supporters of Dink’s family believe that those behind the murder were protected by the state and have asked for a deeper investigation to uncover officials who were allegedly involved.

In 2012, an Istanbul court sentenced Yasin Hayal to life in prison for planning the killing but the family is concerned that those who ordered the killing have never been brought to justice.

It was Dink’s family who made the formal complaint that prompted the ruling by the constitutional court.

Bahri Belen, lawyer for the Dink family, said that the decision was in line with a previous verdict issued by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights which found Turkey guilty of failure to prevent the journalist’s murder and carry out an effective probe.

Belen said the latest verdict paved the way for the trial of state officials who could be implicated in the murder and had so far been protected by a cover-up. “I hope there will be positive developments and the court decision will be implemented.”

Dink, 52, had campaigned for reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, but incurred the wrath of Turkish nationalists for calling the mass killings of Armenians during World War I a genocide.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 18, 2014, on page 10.
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Summary

Turkey's top court Thursday ruled that the investigation into the killing of an ethnic Armenian journalist had been flawed, paving the way for potential further trials against new suspects.

The constitutional court unanimously decided that the authorities had failed to carry out an effective investigation into the 2007 killing of journalist Hrant Dink.

However, supporters of Dink's family believe that those behind the murder were protected by the state and have asked for a deeper investigation to uncover officials who were allegedly involved.


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