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How was the Hrant Dink Murder Attempted to be Pinned on the Gulen Movement?

For a long time now, perceptions have replaced realities, and involuntarily, it is perceptions, not realities, that are being discussed. The discussion continued to be about perceptions even after the conditional release of Ogün Samast, who brutally murdered Hrant Dink.

Looking at the statements, talks, and related programs, we see once again that even those who claim to know the subject well are unaware of what was discussed during the trial, what the accused said, what the accusers explained, who was convicted and who was acquitted, and on what grounds the court made its decision.

On June 21, 2023, the 3rd Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation, with its decision, left the crime on public officials, who they said were members of the Gulen Movement, and for now, the curtain has closed. Applause for the mediocre acting of the judges, the prosecutors who wrote the script, and of course, the ruling regime that has been the producer of various theatrics, including coups, for the last ten years…

Hrant Dink was murdered on January 19, 2007. The trial process initiated for the illumination of the incident became a tool for the political purposes of the government after the 17/25 December corruption operations. We know this from the 2014 security document that said, “The Zirve, Priest Santaro, Dink cases will be pinned on the Gulen Movement,” and from the Dink family, who said, “This case is being used for political purposes.”

We know why the government did this. Their effort to portray the Gulen Movement as a structure that commits murders. We know that they chose certain public officials and wrote a suitable scenario for this purpose.

Since the issue is back on the agenda these days, let me briefly explain how the crime was attempted to be pinned on the Gulen Movement with a few absurdities in the court’s decision;

What is the shocking thesis of the court? Do you know the thesis of the court and the prosecution? According to the court, why did the Gulen Movement kill Dink?

The prosecution and the court explain this in their reasoned decision as follows; Intelligence Department Chief Ramazan Akyürek and Deputy Chief Coşgun Çakar wanted to remove the Istanbul Intelligence Branch Director from his post and replace him with Ali Fuat Yılmazer, the Branch Director at the Intelligence Department, and they planned this murder to achieve that.

“You can’t believe it’s that absurd, right?”

“You would say they could easily change their personnel if they were already the head and deputy head of the Intelligence Department, such nonsense couldn’t be true,” but unfortunately, that’s the reality. Those who want to see with their own eyes can look at the indictment and the court’s reasoned decision.

Why didn’t you provide protection?

The court asks Ramazan Akyürek, whom it says organized the incident on behalf of the Gulen Movement and was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment for intentional murder, and who is forced to live in a cell in prison for life, “Why didn’t you provide protection? Weren’t you the Head of the Intelligence Department?” The court is not interested in what Ramazan says, and curiously, it does not ask the Istanbul Intelligence Branch Director, the provincial police chief who received the intelligence letter before the murder, nor does it ask the Intelligence Department Head Sabri Uzun.

Again, the court does not ask the Istanbul governor or the provincial police chief, who did not provide protection despite Dink being targeted in the entire media before the murder, being protested outside the courthouse by a group including Kemal Kerinçsiz, Veli Küçük during the trial he was involved in, and saying in his own articles that he became a target.

Again, the court does not ask the MIT officers who indirectly threatened Dink in the governor’s office, saying, “Bad things could happen to you!” Instead, it only asks Akyürek and uses his response, “The Department of Protection looks after protection matters, and requests come from the person’s place of residence,” as a reason for punishment. Akyürek, as the Trabzon Provincial Police Chief, had reported to both Istanbul Intelligence and the Intelligence Department Head in February 2006 that Hrant Dink would be murdered.

Why did you dismiss Erhan Tuncel from intelligence work?

After the incident, it emerged that Erhan Tuncel had worked as an intelligence agent for the police for a period. However, three months before the murder, his service was terminated upon the request of the Trabzon police. According to the relevant directive of the police, the Intelligence Department Head who approves the request is the final authority, so Akyürek’s signature is on this document. The court does not ask the Trabzon Provincial Police Chief Reşat Altay, who prepared the request and signed and sent it, but accuses Akyürek of intending to obstruct information flow and uses it as a reason for punishment.

Why are the letters sent to Istanbul and the intelligence different?

A letter bearing Ramazan Akyürek’s signature, stating ‘Yasin Hayal will engage in a noteworthy action against Hrant Dink, this individual does everything he sets his mind to, and even caught by Istanbul Police for a bombing attack in Trabzon,’ is sent to Istanbul Police. On the same date, a more concise letter is sent to the Intelligence Department Head, saying ‘Yasin Hayal wants to kill Hrant Dink.’

Despite both letters clearly indicating imminent danger, the Istanbul Police are believed to have been misled, and the information tampered with! The same court, while holding the relevant branch director responsible for the statement of Trabzon Provincial Police Chief Reşat Altay, “I was not aware of Erhan Tuncel’s dismissal from intelligence work. My branch director wrote it, and I signed it,” does not feel the need to ask anything to Branch Director Engin Dinç and only goes after the approving authority, Provincial Director Ramazan Akyürek.

Why? Because Engin Dinç is a man of the government and is currently the Ankara Police Chief. And the court uses this accusation as a reason for punishment.

The decision is based on the triggerman’s statement

Triggerman Ogün Samast changes his statement after the decision is made to pin the Hrant Dink murder on the Gulen Movement. He reveals what he was afraid to say until then(!). He claims to have heard Erhan Tuncel and Yasin Hayal talking, saying, “Ramazan and Ali Fuat directors are behind us.” Neither Yasin Hayal nor Erhan Tuncel confirm this conversation; on the contrary, Erhan Tuncel denies such a conversation ever took place, saying that even if it did, it would be physically impossible for Ogün to hear it. Despite no evidence of Akyürek’s contact with the perpetrators and instigators, the court, in its reasoning, punishes Akyürek for ‘encouraging and supporting the perpetrators and instigators before the committed murder, according to the statements of the perpetrator Ogün Samast.’

Actually, more examples could be given, but I believe these observations are sufficient for those who want to understand the issue and see the realities.

On this occasion, as a lawyer following the case, I want to express my claim: If impartial people read the reasoned decision prepared by the 14th High Criminal Court President Akın Gürlek and given an aggravated life sentence on the grounds of being affiliated with the Gulen Movement, without taking any defense from anyone from the Gulen Movement; they would say, “What a ridiculous accusation and deduction! Such an accusation and punishment are unthinkable! It seems like they tried to justify a pre-made decision, but it is glaringly obvious.”

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NURULLAH ALBAYRAK
NURULLAH ALBAYRAK
Nurullah Albayrak is lawyer and columnist at TR724.com
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