Turkish court has launched an investigation into involvement of “parallel state” in murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink after former senior police officers linked to parallel state were accused of premeditated attempt in the murder.
Dink who was the chief editor of Armenian-Turkish weekly newspaper Agos, was assassinated in 2007 by Trabzon local Ogun Samast, who was 17 years of age at the time of the incident, near the office of the Agos in Istanbul.
Though Samast has been jailed for seven years for plotting the murder of Dink and shooting him to death, he gave names of police chiefs that allegedly knew about the plot in his recent testimony, changing the course of the investigation.
An Istanbul court issued an arrest warrant on May 29 for the former head of Turkish police intelligence department Ali Fuat Yilmazer, who was already under arrest over his alleged involvement in “parallel state” probe.
The “parallel state” state is purported to be comprised of a group of bureaucrats embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and the police, which are suspected to be part of the "Gulen movement" led by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and his supporters which the Turkish government alleges are plotting to undermine it.
Yilmazer whom the 5th Penal Court of Istanbul described as the founder of a secret unit named “C-5” inside the police department consists of some police captains and their deputies, was arrested on July 22.
The C-5 unit is alleged to have looked into the cases of the Dink murder, the Father Santoro murder in 2006, the killing of a German and two Turks in the Zirve Publishing House in 2007 and the attempted coup cases of Ergenekon and Sledgehammer.
Following the surface of the “parallel state” claims inside many public institutions including judiciary and the police department in 2014, the lawyer of Dink’s family, Fethiye Cetin, had requested the court to reconsider the case.
Yilmazer is also an independent deputy candidate in Turkey’s June 7 general election.
Former intelligence unit police chief Ramazan Akyurek was also arrested on Feb. 27 on charges including neglect of duty and forgery of official documents as part of an investigation into Dink murder.
Following the Dink murder, Ogun Samast and four others were arrested on Jan. 24, 2007. The first trial of the case was on July 2, 2007, which was a closed session because of Samast’s age and took 12 hours long.
For four years, 20 people were included in the case without any penalty until a juvenile court sentenced Samast to 22 years and 10 months of imprisonment on July 25, 2011.
The other suspects of the case were released at the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014, which Dink’s family and friends protested.
Several former police force chiefs and officers have previously been detained and questioned on suspicion of neglect of duty as suspects in the assassination of Dink. Police officers Muhittin Zenit and Ozkan Mumcu as well as Cizre police chief Ercan Demir were arrested as part of the investigation.