İstanbul 14th Criminal Court Chief Public Prosecutor Hikmet Usta on Monday said connections exist between members of the military and two men who incited Ogün Samast to murder Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink outside the office of the Agos weekly in 2007.
Usta said Samast and instigators Erhan Tuncel and Yasin Hayal had unusual connections to three members of the military: Spc. Sgt. Satılmış Şahin, Pvt. Ünsal Gürel, Pvt. Resul Kütükoğlu and Pvt. Ahmet Faruk Aydoğdu.
A former police informant, Tuncel is believed to have supplied the hitman with a gun while Hayal is accused of having acted with Tuncel in masterminding the Dink murder. Among other key suspects is Samast, an ultranationalist teenager who pulled the trigger. Samast stood trial at the İstanbul 2nd Juvenile Court because he was a minor at the time of the murder. He was recently sentenced to 22 years, 10 months in prison by the court.
The statements of the suspects in the Dink case did not satisfy the public and prosecutors. The Dink indictment, which was prepared before the Ergenekon case come to light, does not reflect the background of Dink’s assassination. Usta’s latest announcement is the first dictum which drew attention to the murder’s ties to Ergenekon. The prosecution has pointed to an Ergenekon cell in the Black Sea province of Trabzon as being behind the murder.
Ergenekon is a clandestine underground network accused of creating chaos and plotting to overthrow the government. The prosecutor also demanded a life sentence for seven suspects, including key suspects Hayal and Tuncel, on charges of attempting to destroy the constitutional order.
Usta’s words show the connection between Spt. Sgt. Şahin and Tuncel. Investigators found that Şahin was in İstanbul on the day of the incident, whereas Tuncel claims he was outside İstanbul. In addition, Şahin in his statement on March 30, 2007, stated that he had met Tuncel through Tuncay Uzundal while doing random ID checks. Şahin states that he saw Uzundal again a few times when he was carrying out inspections at Internet cafes, where Uzundal requested Şahin’s cell phone number. A report provided by the prosecutor’s office states that Şahin had called Tuncel 45 times and Uzundal 48 times.