Istanbul court issues ruling in Hrant Dink murder case

An Istanbul court has issued a detailed ruling in the case of the murdered Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink that accuses the followers of Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating his killing, Bianet English reported on Wednesday. 

In a massive 4,532 page ruling, the Istanbul 14th Penal Court attributed the murder to the "Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ)," and former police chiefs Faruk Sarı, Ramazan Akyürek and Ali Fuat Yılmazer in particular. Members of the so-called Gulen movement are accused of orchestrating the failed July 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Followers of the U.S based cleric were present throughout the ranks of the Turkish police force prior to their falling out with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).  Akyürek and Yılmazer were singled out as acting together to devise the murder plot and hinder any investigation to further the "'interests of FETO". 

"It has been understood that instead of taking the necessary precautions and making an intervention with respect to their positions, they ensured that the murder took place...and recordings and documents are destroyed..." the court stated.

The report says that Yılmazer was in contact with Muharrem Demirkale, a former commander of İstanbul Gendarmerie Intelligence, who had his subordinates track Dink up to the day of his murder on January 19, 2007. It added that the Gulenists intended to defame the Gendamerie by connecting with Dink's killing.

Dink served as editor in chief of Agos, a bilingual publication in Turkish and Armenian, when he was shot in broad daylight outside his office by a teenage gunman identified as Ogün Samast. His death sparked an outpouring of sorrow and support within Istanbul, but the subsequent investigation into the crime has gone into its fourteenth year. 

A previous ruling in March found 26 defendants accused of involvement in Dink's killing guilty, and six were sentenced to life imprisonment. Following this announcement, Dink's family made a statement that they did not believe the trials captured the whole truth behind his death.

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