New accusations and revelations in the Hrant Dink assassination case
In a fresh turn of events surrounding the assassination of Agos Newspaper's Editor-in-Chief, Hrant Dink, 11 individuals, including Erhan Tuncel, Ramazan Akyurek, Yasin Hayal, and Ali Fuat Yilmazer, have been indicted on charges ranging from "Attempting to overthrow the constitutional order" to "Intentional murder."
The 14th High Criminal Court in Cağlayan Courthouse saw a tense atmosphere today as the second session of the new lawsuit got underway.
Former Intelligence Department Head Ramazan Akyurek, participating remotely, claimed he had informed the Istanbul Intelligence Directorate about the imminent assassination threat while leading the Trabzon Intelligence Department. He pointed fingers at the Istanbul police, suggesting they anticipated Dink's assassination. Dink, who had reportedly faced threats in Istanbul for allegedly "insulting Turkishness," became a focal point for Yasin Hayal, who, after an 11-month stint in prison, reportedly threatened Dink's life. Despite the supposed warnings by Akyürek, the murder ensued, which he attributes to the negligence of police in both Trabzon and Istanbul.
In a twist, the court asked Akyurek to pivot his defense to his actions. He quickly denied any association with Ogun Samast, Yasin Hayal, and Erhan Tuncer and rebuffed their claims of having the Trabzon Police's support. Post his defense, Akyürek asked for an acquittal.
The session briefly paused when defendant Ersin Yolcu's defense had to be postponed due to his lawyer's absence. Another defendant, Ahmet İskender, took the stand, vehemently denying any affiliations with FETÖ and questioned his implication in the case. The judge explained that the murder investigation did allude to potential FETÖ connections.
Iskender wrapped up his defense by emphasizing his lack of connection with FETÖ. The session saw another plea for release by Adem Saglam.
Adem Saglam was granted conditional release in a subsequent development, paired with a travel ban. The court indicated that the next session, scheduled for December 6 at 10:00 a.m., would hear testimonies from the remaining defendants, with Ali Fuat Akdag listed as a witness.
Dink's assassination, which took place outside Agos Newspaper's Sisli office in 2007, led to a trial that spanned 14 years, concluding in 2021. The lengthy trial saw 37 officials acquitted, while 26 were incarcerated, with notable life sentences handed to former police chiefs Ali Fuat Yilmazer and Ramazan Akyurek. Decisions related to the statute of limitations drew attention, with specific charges against former police chiefs being dropped.
The Dink family's lawyers, discontent with the trial outcomes, lodged an appeal, which was subsequently denied. They and their legal team remain steadfast in their quest for justice, vowing to continue their legal battle.
The saga continues as, on June 14, 2023, the court maintained the arrest warrants for Faruk Sari and Yahya Ozturk in a lawsuit that saw charges of "violating the Constitution" and ties to the Gulenists. The trial is set to resume on September 20.