BuLENT – As time passes by Dink murder

As time passes by Dink murderThe body of the former editor-in-chief of the Agos newspaper, Hrant Dink, still lies there, splayed out where he hit the sidewalk when seven bullets were shot into the back of his neck. The long process that brought Dink face to face with death played out in front of the eyes of everyone in this society.

As now-departed journalist Mehmet Ali Birand once noted, andldquoThe blood from Dinkand#39s murder is on all of our hands.andrdquo Here is what Birand wrote: andldquoIt is we who are Dinkand#39s true killers.

We nurtured this murder in an atmosphere and mentality created by our Article 301 [of the Turkish Penal Code].andrdquoThe display of societal grief we saw right after Dinkand#39s murder was of a sort that seemed to lighten the punishments coming to us collectively.

People from every walk of life stepped up to denounce the murder and Dinkand#39s funeral turned into almost a national ceremony. The hit man himself was captured a short while later But when it comes to figuring out who the background players in this all were and the type of conditions that were in place to make this murder easier to carry out, well, no real progress has been made on these fronts to date.

And now, some eight years after the murder took place, the Dink case has once again been taken down from the shelf where it sat. But sadly, the possibility that this caseand#39s trajectory might bring us deeper than just finding the identities of the hit men involved, instead of researching the conditions in place at the time that made this shocking killing possible, look set to be postponed.

Because this case has now turned into a simple apparatus employed by calculations based on the emergence of the Dec. 17-25, 2013 corruption investigations.

Just eight months ago, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered these comments on the Dink case in conjunction with the andldquoparallel caseandrdquo: andldquoTo reduce it to the same level as the Dink case is, I believe, to belittle it. After all, the Dink case was, I believe, a personal case.

The murder happened because there was a lack of acceptance of Dinkand#39s writings, for the way he thought. In the meantime though, the parallel structure case is one that concerns an attempt to take over the state it has the goal of actually threatening national security.

In the Dink case, there was nothing present on the state level that would have made it easier for Dinkand#39s murderers to carry out their goals. These types of theories should not divert us from our struggle against the parallel structure.

andrdquoNow, however, President Erdogan is saying the exact opposite. Accusations are being made against the Hizmet movement via former intelligence unit chief Ramazan Akyurek.

This is most likely an obligatory turnaround, one made when it became clear that no one was going to believe the allegations of an assassination attempt on Sumeyye ErdoIan. The first questions that now need to be asked is who holds the authority to initiate an investigation and trial and who it was who didnand#39t allow this to occurIn the targets of nationalist frontIt is not possible to analyze the Dink case without thinking about some of the most important moments from our lives in past years.

It is helpful, from that angle, to roll back the film for a moment. There were two levers in particular used by those who couldnand#39t deal with the Justice and Development Partyand#39s (AKP) rise to power these levers were used to manipulate society and to andldquomake conditions ripeandrdquo for certain undemocratic interventions.

One of these was to show national interests and secularity as being under serious threat, thereby weakening societal support for the ruling party. The nationalist front was laying the groundwork for its claims that national values had been eroded and that missionary activities could not be curbed.

Ironically, these accusations were aimed not only at the AKP, but also at both Fethullah Gulen and the Hizmet movement. There was wild talk about thousands of churches that no one could actually see, with the political leg of this andldquotreasonandrdquo portrayed as the AKP while the Hizmet movement was labeled as supporting the social leg of this development.

In the meantime, this nationalist wave had a concrete enemy: Hrant Dink. The Sabiha Gken news and, right after that, the andldquobloodandrdquo column — which brought him into court for trial — were precisely the sorts of reasons sought by those wanting to target him A case was taken out against Dink on the basis that he had andldquoinsulted Turkishnessandrdquo (based on the infamous Article 301).

The hearings for this case turned into lynch shows. No one was able to shout out a clear andldquostopandrdquo to the clear and open threat being displayed by those flocking to these hearings.

In a Jan. 12, 2007 column in Agos bearing the headline andldquoWhy was I chosen as a target,andrdquo Dink explained how he had received a andldquowarningandrdquo from the deputy governor and two National Intelligence Organization (MIT) officers.

andldquo[I] went to the deputy governor with the documents I had. He was very polite.

When he invited me in, I noticed that two other people — a man and a woman — were in the room as well. He told me that they were his close acquaintances and asked if it was okay with me if they stayed during our meeting.

I had already realized how delicate the situation was and so said that that I had no objection and took a seat. The deputy governor immediately came to the point.

andlsquoMr Hrant,and#39 he said, andldquoyou are a highly experienced journalist. Wouldnand#39t it be better if you wrote your stories more carefully? And also, what use are these kinds of stories anyway? You see what a commotion it has caused.

We know who you are, but the ordinary people on the street donand#39t. They may think that you have other intentions in writing this kind of news.

andhellip Shouldnand#39t we be more careful about writing this kind of news?and#39andldquoThe male guest took over the discussion completelyandhellip He said that I had to be careful, that I should avoid doing anything that would create tension in the country and among people. He was repeatedly warning me by saying, andlsquoEven though we do not agree with the tone of your writing, it is clear to us from much of what you have written that you do not have bad intentions.

However, this might not be the case for everyone, and so the consequences for you could be negativeand#39.andrdquoLater, after the fact, the MIT agents present that day, as well as the deputy governor, were all to assert that they had definitely not threatened Dink, but they had just warned him to be more careful.

Of course the truth of the matter is that what falls to the state in these cases is not to warn, but to protect.The shared sin of 301 paranoiaCommented Cemil iek, who was the justice minister at the time the Dink murder took place: andldquoIf Article 301 is lifted, then what we will face is a regime debate.

There are suggestions that we remove the expression andlsquoTurkishnessand#39 from the law, but then wonand#39t people ask us if we are embarrassed about being Turkish?andrdquoThe Republican Peopleand#39s Party (CHP) and other political parties were also doing everything in their power to make sure the 301 paranoia continued. And the justice system was becoming a partial participant in the lynching campaign against Dink by handing down decisions against him Just a brief look at all this is enough to make one see that Birand was right in his observations about the situation.

Right around that same time, people were making assassinations plans in a town outside of Trabzon. Various units of the state were aware of preparations made by Ogun Samast to carry out the murder of Dink on Jan.

19, 2007. Both the gendarme and police intelligence units knew that Dink had been targeted.

They were following the case. While the actual hit men were captured in the wake of the Dink murder, the state protective reflex moved into action after the event, blocking the questioning of state employees.

At the same time, various ideologically driven defense fronts moved into cover-up action the gendarme, police and MIT all moved to try and blame each other As for the government, it took all these units under its wings. The court rendered this strange decision: andldquoThere is an organization herein, but we canand#39t determine what it is.

andrdquoIn the meantime, those hiding behind police chief Hanefi AvcI and his expert witnessing were all busy putting forward simple and personal reasons for this murder Here is how AvcI described a theory which Erdogan himself backed until recently: andldquoComing to the Hrant Dink case. If you heat a room enough, everyone in that room will eventually remove their jackets.

The prosecutors in this case even found the person who sold the murderer his bullets everything here has been determined, even what simit he bought that day, etc..

So what are you pushing here? Hrant Dink elicited negative reactions from some people in the state, itand#39s true. But the true murderer here is clearandrdquoIn a case like this, where the murder was so clearly coming, units of the state ought to have at least been questioned and tried on negligence.

But just as this has never happened, we are also seeing a line of investigation in accordance with orders given from up high in this case. One scapegoat has been chosen — and we all know the real sin does not lie with him — and it is simply just this one chain in the link that is being pursued.

Here is a great summation of the situation done by Esra Alus of the Milliyet newspaper last week: andldquoWhen it comes to a news headline that says andlsquoThey are all blaming each other,and#39 we can also read this as meaning andlsquoThere is no one who is innocent.and#39 When we consider that everyone might be a little bit right, we are pushed to recognize the responsibility shared by everyone in all this.

andrdquoIn the meantime, a story carried by the Bugun newspaper brings to light some new allegations about this: The article says information sent from Trabzon to Istanbul was lacking in certain information as well as misleading, and that carelessness by the Trabzon intelligence unit director at the time, Engin Din, makes it necessary to re-open the investigation.How Din misled AltayAnother notable detail contained in the article by Alus in Milliyet is this: The Trabzon police chief at the time of the murder, ReIat Altay, alleged that the report written up by Din with regards to plans to kill Dink was never shared with him And as for the source of intelligence on the assassination, Erhan Tuncel, Altay had a conversation that reportedly went like this: andldquoReferring to Erhan Tuncel, Din had said: andlsquoWe are using an informer who is problematic he is aggressive and always asks for more money.

He might get involved in business we donand#39t really like.and#39 I asked what this individual was providing us information us on.

Din told me Tuncel had information regarding extremist nationalist groups working in Chechnya and other places.andrdquoSo it is a relevant to ask: why didnand#39t Din, who shared misleading information about Tuncel with his superiors, find a new source of intelligence?To return to the words spoken earlier by Birand on this case, the fact is, we all have blood on our hands when it comes to Dinkand#39s death.

In order to cleanse this blood, we need an investigation that will bring in for questioning everyone who bears some responsibility.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman