Former Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler, who was the governor of Istanbul when Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink was shot dead outside his newspaper’s office in Şişli, Istanbul, on Jan. 19, 2007, may be tried on the charge of negligence in preventing the murder, but his case file has gone missing, Today’s Zaman reports.
Güler’s parliamentary immunity will automatically be lifted on June 7 when the elections are held in Turkey. The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had previously filed a complaint against Güler for negligence in preventing Dink’s murder when he was serving as İstanbul governor in 2007.
The complaint was sent to the Supreme Court of Appeals’ Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for an investigation to be launched against Güler as he was a minister at the time of the complaint. However, sources within the Supreme Court of Appeals’ Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office recently stated that they had never received the complaint sent by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
As part of an ongoing investigation into Dink’s murder, various high-ranking state officials have testified as suspects based on allegations of negligence and misconduct directed at them. Among them are two former heads of the National Police Department’s intelligence unit — Sabri Uzun and Ramazan Akyürek — a former police chief, Ali Fuat Yılmazer, former Trabzon Police Chief Reşat Altay, former Trabzon Police intelligence branch chief Faruk Sarı and former İstanbul Deputy Governor Ergun Güngör. Other high-profile figures have been called to testify as suspects, including former Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah and former İstanbul Police Department intelligence unit chief Ahmet İlhan Güler.
Dink was shot and killed by an ultranationalist teenager. The hitman, Ogün Samast, and 18 others were brought to trial. Since then, lawyers for the Dink family and the co-plaintiffs in the case have presented evidence indicating that Samast did not act alone. Another suspect, Yasin Hayal, was given a life sentence for inciting Samast to commit murder.
The retrial started in September of 2014, when the İstanbul 5th High Criminal Court complied with a ruling from the Supreme Court of Appeals in May of 2013 overturning 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 misconduct.