Hayal says ready to testify if gendarmes stand for Dink trial

March 02, 2012, Friday/ 15:48:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Yasin Hayal, who received a life sentence for his involvement in the killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, has said some gendarmerie officers in Trabzon should stand trial for their involvement in the murder of Dink and added that he is ready to testify whenever needed.

Hayal, who claims that he received the instructions to murder Dink from Erhan Tuncel, has said that gendarmerie officers in Trabzon insistently told him to stay in contact with Tuncel, who they called a good man, the Taraf daily reported on Friday.

Tuncel, the controversial Trabzon police informant who was sentenced to 10 years for his role in the 2004 bombing of a McDonald's in Trabzon, was acquitted of all charges regarding the Dink murder, including the prosecutors' claim that he was the one who gave orders to Hayal.

Adding that he went to the Trabzon Gendarmerie Command many times after the murder, Hayal said he would testify if prosecutors investigate the gendarmes. “The court has asked for the gendarmerie command's guest book to see whether or not I went there, and they could not see my name in the book; this is because I was allowed to move freely about the post, and officers told me that I didn't need to sign the book.”

Explaining his relations with the gendarmes before the murder, Hayal says a high-level gendarmerie officer named Nazım gave orders to privates in the office to pay great respect to Hayal. “When someone in his 20s gets praised like that all time, he would blindly do anything for a person of such rank. They used to provide everything for me, including food and clothing,” he added.

Hayal says he previously provided evidence of gendarmes' involvement in the murder case but that the court has not investigated the documents he provided.

The late editor-in-chief of the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, Dink was shot and killed in broad daylihgt on Jan. 19, 2007 by an ultranationalist teenager outside the offices of his newspaper in İstanbul. Evidence discovered since then has led to claims that the murder was linked to the “deep state,” a term used in reference to a shady group of military and civilian bureaucrats believed to have links with criminal elements.

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