A Turkish court handed down prison terms to former police chiefs, gendarmerie officers and others linked to FETÖ for a cover-up related to the murder of Hrant Dink, a prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist who was shot dead in front of his Istanbul office in 2007, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
A separate trial will be held for FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen and 12 other fugitive defendants including former prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, Ekrem Dumanlı and Adem Yavuz Arslan.
A total of 76 defendants were on trial, but only six were in custody while others were released previously pending trial.
Ramazan Akyürek, former head of police intelligence, was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment on murder charges and an additional sentence of five years and seven months for destroying official documents on a charge related to the cover-up of intelligence tip-offs for murder.
Ali Fuat Yılmazer, former police chief, was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment on murder charges and an additional sentence of four years and six months for destroying official documents in a charge related to the cover-up of intelligence tip-offs for murder.
Ali Öz, former Trabzon Provincial Gendarmerie commander, was sentenced to 28 years imprisonment. Ahmet İlhan Güler, former Istanbul head of police intelligence, and Engin Dinç, former Trabzon head of police intelligence, were acquitted of “murder by negligent behavior,” and the “neglect of public office” charges against them were dropped for statute of limitations.
While Ercan Gün was sentenced to 10 years in prison for membership in an armed terrorist organization, the case in which Celalettin Cerrah, former Istanbul Police chief, was charged with neglect of public office was dropped due to the expiration of statute of limitations.
Charges against Sabri Uzun, a senior police intelligence official, were also dropped for the same reason.
Yavuz Karakaya, a petty officer who was serving for the Istanbul Gendarmerie Intelligence at that time, was sentenced to life imprisonment for “violating the Constitution” and to 12 years and six months in prison for “helping to kill deliberately.”
Muharrem Demirkale, a former soldier, was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment twice.
With the conviction that the murder was committed in line with the purposes of FETÖ, the court decided to file a criminal complaint against Ogün Samast, Erhan Tuncel, Yasin Hayal and Tuncay Uzundal on charges of “FETÖ membership.”
In addition, an arrest warrant was issued for six more defendants.
On Jan. 19, 2007, Dink was assassinated by Ogün Samast on Halaskargazi Street, a busy thoroughfare in Istanbul’s Şişli district.
Fleeing the city after the murder, Samast was caught the next day by police in the Black Sea province of Samsun.
Through deeper investigation, Turkish judicial and security authorities discovered a FETÖ connection behind the assassination.
Turkish authorities thus started a new investigation into the role in the assassination plot of senior FETÖ terror group figures, including cult leader Gülen, Öz, and former senior police officers Yılmazer and Akyürek.
According to an indictment by Istanbul prosecutors, Dink’s assassination constituted an important milestone which sparked a series of events leading to the defeated coup of July 15, 2016.