Hrant Dink assassination organised by civil servants, says prosecutor

Ogun Samast posing with arresting officers after being detained as the main suspect of the Hrant Dink murder.

The Terror and Organised Crime Bureau of the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s office issued an arrest warrant for six more people including Fethullah Gulen, the exiled cleric accused by Turkey as the mastermind behind the 15 July 2016 coup attempt and Ekrem Dumanli, former general editor of the daily Zaman, associated with the Gulenist movement.

“Some civil servants who took part in the execution of the Dink murder had planned and monitored the assassination from the beginning to the end, assisted the actual execution of the assassination and therefore had not prevented the assassination of Dink in conjunction with the aims of Fethullah Gulen’s armed terror network despite their knowledge of the potential suspects who were planning to carry out the murder; therefore participating in the execution of the crime,” said Chief Prosecutor Gokalp Kokcu, responsible for investigating the murder, in the arrest warrant.

The warrant asks for the arrests of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, former chief prosecutor Zekeriya Oz known for conducting the Ergenekon investigations, journalists Ekrem Dumanli, Faruk Mercan and Adem Yavuz Aslan, and lawyer Halil İbrahim Koca all of whom are on the run and believed to be outside Turkey.

The arrest warrant also associates the images of the assassin Ogun Samast, with whom security officers posed together holding a Turkish flag right after Samast was caught on his way back to Trabzon after the assassination, with the Ergenekon trials.

“The photos and videos of Ogun Samast holding a Turkish flag alongside some gendarme officers were produced and leaked to the press in order to prepare public opinion for the Ergenekon operations,” the warrant said.

Photos of Samast holding a Turkish flag among two gendarme officers were leaked to the press right after his detention and were met with outrage. A video taken in the same room was leaked to the press nine years after the murder itself. Several police officers and other security personnel are seen in the video posing with Samast after convincing him that they want a souvenir with him and that the images would never appear in the press.

The original photo (with gendarme officers) had first appeared in media outlets associated with Fethullah Gulen. The arrest warrant claims this was done to associate the gendarme force with the murder, whereas the photos and video were taken in a police station. The warrant claims that both the murder itself and the photo shooting with Samast was organized by an illegal branch of the Police Intelligence Department (called ‘C-5’) in order to start conspiratorial investigations and trials aiming to get rid of non-Gulenists occupying key positions within the police and armed forces.

The video of the photo shooting in the police station was leaked to the press 7 weeks after the failed coup attempt of 15 july 2016. Two police officers seen in the video had already been discharged from the police force because of their alleged links to the Gulen movement.