‘Undercover agents surveilled Dink’s murderer before, after attack’

Six undercover agents were monitoring Ogandun Samast, the hitman who killed Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on Jan. 19, 2007, before and after the assassination took place, a daily claimed on Friday. Milliyet reported that according to an investigation conducted by public prosecutor GandOkalp KandOkandcandu, who is overseeing an ongoing probe into state officials facing charges of misconduct and negligence in the murder of Dink, six government officials were present around the area where Dink was killed right before and after the attack. It said one of these officials was a non-commissioned officer working for the Istanbul Gendarmerie. Commenting on the report, Bayram Kaya, the author of book and”KandOrdanduiandum: 21 Numarali Suikast Yolcusuand” (Gordian Knot: The assassin passenger at seat No. 21), a detailed study on how Dinkand’s murder happened based on official documents, said Milliyetand’s story provided a partial glimpse of the plot but fell short of giving the whole picture on how the assassination plot took place. According to Kaya, five people were scouting the area and monitoring Samast before, during and after the assassination of Dink. He said three of these people were connected to the National Intelligence Organization (MiT) while the other two were working for the Gendarmerie intelligence out of its Istanbul and Trabzon branches. Kaya also questioned why the report did not even mention that a police inspector identified as Selim Kutkan, known to be a close associate of the ultranationalist Homeland Party (VP), previously called the Workersand’ Party (iP), played a role in the destruction of security camera footage of the automated teller machine (ATM) of a bank on the street where Dink was shot and killed. Kaya said if the footage had not been destroyed, it would have been much easier to identify these five undercover individuals reportedly working for the government. In fact, Hakan Bakircioilu, a lawyer representing the family of the slain Turkish-Armenian journalist, said all of the footage from the ATMand’s camera that was saved in police computers went missing at the time when Kutkan was the investigating officer as the head of the Istanbul Police Departmentand’s Anti-terrorism Unit. Bakircioilu said police officials had saved all of the footage from the ATMand’s camera onto their own computer storage devices and later deleted the video recorded between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the day of the murder, as well as the footage of the days preceding the murder. and”Video footage from the Akbank ATMand’s camera between morning and noon is missing. This incident took place when Selim Kutkan was serving in the anti-terrorism unit. The footage went missing. We filed a criminal complaint about this but did not get any results. Akbank says it gave the police all the footage,and” he said. Kaya said Kutkan and his team never submitted the video footage to the prosecutor at the time. and”He also prevented the anti-terrorism and intelligence units of the police force from being involved in the investigation,and” Kaya recalled. In 2012, another lawyer representing the Dink family claimed Kutkan, who conducted the investigation into Dinkand’s murder, had links to Ergenekon, a shadowy crime network, and accused him of leaking information to the terrorist organization and of spoliation of evidence in the case. Lawyer ismail Cem Halavut claimed Kutkan had given information related to Ergenekon to Ergenekon suspects and tampered with evidence in Dinkand’s case in order to aid those suspects, raising suspicions that Ergenekon was responsible for Dinkand’s murder. Kaya also noted Milliyetand’s story did not identify the police officer who kept contact with Erhan Tuncel, an informant and a key suspect who is accused of initiating efforts to have Dink murdered. Tuncel was recruited by Engin Dinandc, the head of the National Police Departmentand’s Intelligence Unit who led the Trabzon Intelligence Unit at the time of the murder. In his book, Kaya said he had detailed how Dinandc kept in close contact with Tuncel for two years and had private meetings with the informant that were not recorded or reported. It turned out Dinandc, a key suspect in the murder trial of Dink, recently gave his testimony to the Istanbul Public Prosecutorand’s Office and revealed they had received the intelligence of a probable assassination of Dink in Trabzon, which was sent to the Istanbul police in a letter numbered 027248 on Feb. 17, 2006. and”I also called the chief of the Intelligence Unit of the Istanbul Police Department about the intelligence,and” Dinandc said in his testimony. However, former Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah and former Istanbul Police Department Intelligence Unit Chief Ahmet ilhan Ganduler stated in their testimonies before the court during the trial in December 2014 that they had not received any intelligence about Dinkand’s assassination before the murder in 2007. Three police officers — Ercan Demir, andOzkan Mumcu and Muhittin Zenit — who worked under Dinandc in the Intelligence Unit of the Trabzon Police Department were arrested in January as part of an expanded probe into Dinkand’s murder. All three police officers had said in their testimonies Dinandc was the highest authority at the Trabzon Police Departmentand’s Intelligence Unit, adding the intelligence reports about Dink had been prepared by Dinandc. Former Trabzon Police Chief Reiat Altay, summoned by Prosecutor Yusuf Hakki Dogan to testify in Dinkand’s murder trial in December 2014, named Dinandc during his testimony. According to media reports, Altay said Dinandc had never presented intelligence reports that warned that a possible attack would target Dink, before the reports were sent to the National Police Department. Altay reportedly said, and”Apart from the reports, I also do not remember Dinandc ever briefing me with any intelligence that Yasin Hayal was preparing to attack Dink.and” Despite a collection of testimonies pointing the finger at Dinandc and requests from the lawyers of the family of murdered journalist Dink, Dinandc seems to have been protected by the government. He was also promoted and has been the chief of the National Police Departmentand’s Intelligence Unit since April 2013. As part of the same investigation, two former heads of the National Police Departmentand’s Intelligence Unit — Sabri Uzun and Ramazan Akyandurek — and a former police chief, Ali Fuat Yilmazer, have testified as suspects. Journalist Kaya also questioned why there was no investigation conducted into the performance of MiT when the errors committed by the police and the gendarmerie after the murder was committed were scrutinized. He also pointed out the fallacy in Milliyetand’s Friday story that suggested the telephone records were deleted in 2011 when Akyandurek was the head of police intelligence. Kaya said this claim was absurd because Akyandurek was removed from his position on Oct. 16, 2009 by then interior minister Beiir Atalay and Handuseyin Namal was appointed as the head of police intelligence.


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