Ocaktan: Course of Dink murder trial may change
A confirmation by two soldiers of an earlier testimony by a witness that they had been clearly warned about a plot to assassinate ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink might change the course of the Dink trial, according to a member of Parliament’s Human Rights Commission.
Sgt. Maj. Okan S. and Special Sgt. Veysel Şahin appeared in a Trabzon court on Thursday on charges of dereliction of duty by failing to take the necessary measures to prevent the murder of Dink, gunned down outside his office in early 2007. They testified for the first time at the hearing, corroborating the earlier testimony of witness Coşkun İğci, the ex-husband of a relative of one of the prime suspects in the Dink murder, that they had previous knowledge of the plot.
They also said they had informed their superior, Trabzon Provincial Gendarmerie Commander Col. Ali Öz. The two suspects testified that they had previously given false statements during the course of the investigation after being pressured to do so by Öz.
Speaking to Today’s Zaman about the testimony, Human Rights Commission member and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Bursa deputy Mehmet Ocaktan said: “We have investigated whether there was any neglect or failure to act on the part of the senior officials in this murder. We received a lot criticism for not listening to the two gendarmes; however, our authority was limited. We made a decision not to listen to people who were charged by the court; those individuals would already be questioned in court, so we did not include them in the scope of our investigation. We also were careful not to talk about the involved subjects as the judicial process was still in progress.”
Ocaktan pointed out that the soldiers’ confession of having been informed about plans to kill Dink may change the course of the murder trial. “This has been a total surprise for us. To be frank, we did not expect these gendarmes to make such a deposition. It seems that the gendarmerie acted more negligently than the police [in not preventing this murder]. This may change the course of the Dink trial. From now on, people will want to know if there are other facts that need be uncovered in this murder,” he stated.
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