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HomeHeadlineExamining the Contradictions in Fethiye Çetin's Views on the Hrant Dink Murder...

Examining the Contradictions in Fethiye Çetin’s Views on the Hrant Dink Murder Case

Hrant Dink’s lawyer, Fethiye Çetin, in her interview with Cansu Çamlıbel on T24, displays a critical approach to the view, confirmed by the Supreme Court, that the murder was committed by the Gülen Movement. However, it is necessary to state that some of Çetin’s remarks in the interview contain serious contradictions, as she believes that the murder was a complex event that cannot be reduced to a single group or movement.

Çetin thinks that prosecutors linked to the Gülen Movement played a role in hindering the investigation and that the conflict between the government and the Hizmet Movement affected the investigation. Most importantly, she accepts the thesis, central to the court’s decision and used by the political power, that “the Gülen movement wanted to take over the Istanbul Intelligence Directorate to carry out operations like Ergenekon and thus used the Dink murder as a tool.” Çetin says, “Looking back, we can see that they viewed the Hrant Dink murder as a means to take over the Istanbul Police.”

To understand why this assessment is incorrect, details are necessary. Allegedly, Intelligence Director Ramazan Akyürek and C Branch Director Ali Fuat Yılmazer organized the Dink murder to remove Istanbul Intelligence Director Ahmet İlhan Güler and to execute operations like Ergenekon. This claim is based solely on the statement given by Ahmet İlhan Güler nine years after the murder. Given Güler’s failure to prevent the murder, his statement appears to be an attempt to escape blame. The lack of any evidence or declaration supporting this claim in the case file is also significant.

In countries like Turkey, political opinions influence the appointment and dismissal of key public officials. However, linking a simple administrative decision to murder is illogical and based on forced reasoning. Akyürek had the authority to remove Güler through routine administrative procedures; thinking a murder was necessary for this requires substantial evidence, which is absent even in the legally flawed case file.

Linking a terrible murder plan to this simple fact, or easily accepting this narrative, is at best a logical error.

If Çetin sees the murder as linked to Ergenekon operations, as her emphasis on names like Veli Küçük, Kemal Kerinçsiz, and Levent Temiz suggests, and believes Yılmazer and Akyürek were behind the Ergenekon operations, then questioning Çetin’s discomfort with these two names in the murder case makes sense. The criticism of the pursuit of the Ergenekon structure, which she believes is behind the murder, contradicts her own thesis.

Çetin might view Ergenekon operations as a struggle between various powers within the state or believe the Dink murder was used for specific political purposes or group interests. In these cases, her arguments should be solidly grounded.

What information, served to whom in the Gülen Movement? The theory that the murder was committed by the Gülen movement is a thesis of the Erdoğan regime, and the court decision emerged accordingly. Hence, the trial can be seen as a ‘show trial’ within this context.

From the interview, it’s apparent that Çetin holds the Gülen movement responsible for the murder, but she bases her claim incorrectly. For instance, she mentions that the murder was planned by a widespread structure within the state but does not clarify which information was served to which members of the movement. Her silence on how the alleged information affected the investigation is notable. If she refers to the footage of Ogün Samast with the Turkish flag, for which Ercan Gün received a 10-year sentence, or Arat Dink’s statement, “I read so many files, I still don’t understand what crime Ercan Gün committed,” she should have asked them for a clear answer.

Furthermore, Çetin, responding to criticisms about her close relationship with prosecutors later accused of being part of the movement, said, “When I went to the prosecutors, they would call the Police and ask them to investigate ‘this and that’. One thing that caught my attention during these times was Zekeriya Öz’s agenda. He would note everything I told him. Of course, I return after 10-15 days to ask about the investigation results. Nothing – no information, no documents. When I insist, they call the Police again in front of me. Still no result. This is what we experienced repeatedly. And during these experiences, I realized; despite the big fights between individuals and institutions, everyone somehow protects the state structure.”

The investigation was open! Çetin seems to emphasize that the attitude of prosecutors linked to the Gülen movement was significant in hindering the investigation at the time. Her argument based on the agenda emphasis or lack of responses from the police does not seem sufficient to support her claim. According to the case file, the initial prosecutors opened the case alleging an organization, yet the court ruled no organization was involved.

One of Çetin’s theses is: “Then, the conflict with the government flared up when they tried to summon Hakan Fidan for testimony in 2012, peaking in 2014. That’s when the investigation suddenly opened. In other words, the opportunity to prosecute public officials became possible due to their internal conflict.”

The thesis of a conflict between the Gülen movement and the Erdoğan regime is a narrative used by the political power to legitimize the oppression of Gülen movement members.

Furthermore, the claim of an ‘opened investigation’ is a mystery. While Hrant’s friends recently described the trial process as a ‘shameful farce,’ Çetin’s claim that the investigation suddenly opened after certain political decisions seems to be a strange contradiction. The trial against public officials appears to be nothing more than a plot to pin the crime on the Movement, according to the government’s plan. Çetin herself should acknowledge that the trial’s purpose was not to find and punish the perpetrators or the negligent, but to target government opponents.

Ignoring the General Staff’s statement! Çetin’s comment on prosecutor Muammer Akkaş’s request for National Security Council minutes and his failure to obtain them suggests, “… that’s when I realized; they were actually using the Hrant Dink murder investigation to obtain the minutes of the National Security Council meetings. For the first time, I clearly understood their motives there. You know, they even entered the Cosmic Room. I went to Ankara and met with the Cosmic Room prosecutor. When I examined that process, I was sure they were after seizing the state’s inaccessible secret information. The Gülenists never cared about solving the Hrant Dink murder or uncovering the power behind it. They were using the Hrant Dink murder to take over institutions they couldn’t seize. I realized that then.”

With this claim, Çetin seems to overlook the role of the General Staff’s 2004 press release in making Dink a target. Linking the prosecutor’s attempt to access the minutes for the Gülen movement’s interests to the murder case seems baseless. The connection between the Cosmic Room issue and the Dink murder is unknown, and Çetin does not explain it, but her easy repetition of the Erdoğan regime’s discourse suggests that she is overly influenced by the political climate and has strayed far from the truth.

Moreover, Çetin’s response to Çamlıbel’s question, “Who could the Gülenist prosecutors have pursued but didn’t?” seems to contradict her earlier statements.

Who issued the ‘non-prosecution’ decision for Veli Küçük and Kemal Kerinçsiz? The decision not to investigate Erol Güngör was not made by the prosecutors but by the Istanbul Governor. Appeals against the Istanbul Governor’s decision not to allow investigations into public officials in Istanbul were rejected by the administrative court. Non-prosecution decisions regarding individuals alleged to have contributed to the murder were made in investigations opened by prosecutors, labeled Gülenists, against public officials. Çetin seems to forget that prosecutor Gökalp Kökçü, who issued the non-prosecution decision for people like Küçük and Kerinçsiz, was actually the prosecutor of the ‘opened (!)’ investigation she mentions.

Although Çetin is right in many respects, some of her ideas in the interview need clarification so as not to weaken the strength of other truths. Even if some of her emphases are mistaken, Çetin’s most valid point is: “If the murder was a ‘FETÖ’ plot and the Istanbul Police were unaware, why didn’t they do what they should have done, take precautions against threats? Why didn’t they prevent the murder? I don’t accept the argument that the murder was just a cult operation. It’s not possible to accept that. It’s a perception operation. In my opinion, the Hrant Dink murder was an operation of the ‘Special Warfare Apparatus’… They are trying to convince us that it was only the cult’s doing because that’s the current direction of the wind. We can’t know where it will come from tomorrow.”

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