New twist in Dink murder indictment with ‘parallel’ claims

After its approval, the indictment, which had earlier been rejected twice, was sent to the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court, which hears terrorism cases. Gokalp Kokcu, the prosecutor overseeing the investigation, however, requested that the trial be merged with the main Dink murder trial, held in the İstanbul 5th High Criminal Court.

There are 26 suspects in the 160-page indictment, while five people from the Dink family are cited as complainants.

The latest version of the indictment directed terrorism accusations against some suspects although there was no mention of such an accusation during the investigation phase. None of the suspects were referred to court for arrest over the terrorism charges.

In the indictment former National Police Department’s intelligence unit head Ramazan Akyurek, former İstanbul Police Department Intelligence Bureau Chief Ali Fuat Yilmazer and former İstanbul Police Department intelligence unit deputy chief Coskun Cakar are accused of being administrators of a terrorist organization related to the “parallel state.”

The “parallel state” or “parallel structure” is a term frequently used by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, its former leader President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his supporters to refer to the Gulen or Hizmet movement, inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen.

Despite the clear stance he has taken against terrorism and the lack of even a single piece of evidence to this effect, Gulen and the movement he inspired have been facing accusations of terrorism in Turkey for the past two years under the AK Party government.

The AK Party government and then-Prime Minister and current President Erdogan launched an all-out war against the Gulen movement following the revelation of a corruption probe in late 2013 implicating Erdogan’s close circle. Erdogan accuses the movement of masterminding the probe despite denials from the movement. Since then, individuals and organizations that are believed to be linked with the Gulen movement have been the target of a witch hunt.

In addition, pro-government newspapers and media that are known to be directly controlled by the government have also been publishing stories that seem to be part of the government’s attempts to associate the Gulen movement with several assassinations and attacks in the past. These include the murder of Dink, among other unsolved murders.

The indictment says the murder of Dink was a “side crime” in order to realize the “targeted crime.”

In the indictment Akyurek and Yilmazer are accused of “establishing a leading an armed terrorist organization, “voluntary manslaughter,” “fraud in official documents,” “distortion, destruction or hiding an official document” and “official misconduct.” They face aggravated life sentences. Additionally Akyurek faces a minimum prison sentence from 27-and-a-half years up to 56 years while Yilmazer faces a prison sentence of between 20 and 35 years.

Akar faces an aggravated life sentence and a prison sentence of between 24-and-a-half and 35 years.

Engin Dinc faces a prison sentence of between 20 and 26 years over charges of “voluntary manslaughter due to negligence” and

“official misconduct.”

Dinc, currently the head of the National Police Department’s intelligence unit, led the Trabzon Police Department’s intelligence unit at the time of Dink’s murder in 2007.

The indictment calls for a court decision to be issued to arrest 11 of the suspects including Akyurek, Cakar and Yilmazer on charges of “establishing and membership in a terrorist organization” and “voluntary manslaughter.”

Currently, suspects Muhittin Zenit, Ozkan Mumcu and Ercan Demir are under arrest due to negligence in the murder, while Yilmazer is incarcerated over charges of “leading an armed terrorist organization.”

The indictment being sent to the newly established İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court instead of the İstanbul 5th High Criminal Court also raised eyebrows. The court has 15 days to examine the indictment to either reject or accept it.

Lawyers for the Dink family also petitioned the İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office last week, saying the indictment prepared by prosecutor Kokcu should be sent to the İstanbul 5th High Criminal Court. They claimed efforts to remove some suspects from the indictment were behind the rejection of the indictment two times before.

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office returned Kokcu’s first indictment on Oct. 19 on the grounds that the indictment was “deficient.” After changing the indictment, Kokcu sent a new version of the 150-page document to the prosecutor’s office on Oct. 21.

In the altered indictment, Kokcu requested that the investigation be merged with the trial of those accused of Dink’s assassination. In this trial Ogun Samast, Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel stand accused.

On Nov. 2 the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office returned the amended indictment to Kokcu, again, on the grounds that the indictment was still “deficient.” It has been claimed that the prosecutor’s office returned the indictment because it included Dinc, who is known to be close to the AK Party, among other state officials who are suspected of negligence and engaging in misconduct regarding the Dink murder.

According to the claims, the prosecutor’s office allegedly pressured Kokcu to remove some names from the list of suspects including Dinc’s.

Media reports revealed Dinc testified to the İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office secretly in September and that the Trabzon Police Department’s intelligence unit received intelligence on a probable assassination of Dink in Trabzon that was sent to İstanbul police in a letter on Feb. 17, 2006. “I also called the chief of the intelligence unit of the İstanbul Police Department about the information,” Dinc said in his testimony.

However, during the trial in December 2014, Cerrah and Guler stated in their testimonies they had not received any intelligence about Dink’s assassination before the murder in 2007.

Dink was shot and killed by Samast, an ultranationalist teenager, in 2007. Later, Samast and 18 others were brought to trial. Hayal was sentenced to life imprisonment for inciting Samast to commit murder.

The retrial began in September 2014, when the İstanbul 5th High Criminal Court complied with a ruling from the Supreme Court of Appeals from May 2013, which overturned a lower court’s ruling that acquitted the suspects in the Dink murder case of charges of forming a terrorist organization. This decision paved the way for the trial of public officials on charges of voluntary manslaughter.