Turkey continues delayed, denied and partial justice in Hrant Dink assassination case, the International Christian Concern (ICC) says.
On March 26, 2021, a Turkish court handed down life sentences to two former police chiefs and two ex-security officers because of their role in the 2007 assassination of a Turkish-Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink. The court also dropped charges against several others involved, saying the statute of limitation has expired. There are an estimated 76 total suspects in this case, which has dragged on for 14 years because of stalling by the Turkish government. The family plans to appeal the decision.
Agos, a newspaper where Dink used to serve as editor, shared a statement from the family lawyer saying, “The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office did not prepare an indictment against a significant portion of the state officials who participated in this murder and had responsibility for this murder.” The family and their advocates further stated that the curtain has shut on the details of Dink’s assassination, and they pledged to “continue our struggle for justice.”
A representative of Reporters Without Borders further clarified, “Some of those responsible for this assassination, including the sponsors, have still not been prosecuted. This partial justice rendered after 14 years leaves a bitter taste and should not mark the end of the search for truth.”
Hrant Dink, through his profession as a journalist, was a lead promoter of reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian communities. He was addressing a need for relationship building following the 1915 genocide of ethnic Christian communities, including Armenians, by Turks. The Turkish government pursues a policy of genocide denial. Those following this case believe the Turkish government knew and approved of the assassination of Dink. The continued delays and conduct of the judicial process throughout the last 14 years give further fodder to this belief.
The court’s ruling on March 26th states that the murder is linked to the FETÖ, a Gülenist organization that the Turkish government blames for the 2016 coup attempt. Since then, it has become standard for the judicial courts to level FETÖ accusations.
Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Although Turkey’s courts are pushing the FETÖ narrative regarding the assassination of Hrant Dink, we cannot forget that there is a Grey Wolf element in this case and that the Grey Wolves are currently carrying out genocidal activities and plans intended to wipe out the Armenian Christian community. They are doing so with the approval and help of the Turkish government; this is not only a proven fact, the Turkish government is proudly claiming their role in this. Hrant Dink was murdered because he wanted reconciliation. Delayed, partial, and denied justice has defined this court case for 14 years. And now today, we see that same ideology responsible for his death also responsible for the displacement and deaths of more Armenian Christians. It is time to name the Grey Wolves for what they are: an entity of particular concern for religious freedom.”