Secret witness ready to tell all about network that killed Dink
Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was shot dead on Jan. 19, 2007 by the ultranationalist Ogün Samast outside the offices of his newspaper in İstanbul in broad daylight. (Photo: Today's Zaman)
An inmate who wrote to prosecutors earlier this year saying they had comprehensive information about the background of the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was the editor-in-chief of the Agos weekly, has said they are willing to share everything they know about the network behind the murder in return for witness protection.
The secret witness, who is an inmate at a prison, claims that they worked for JİTEM, an illegal organization that was established in the gendarmerie in the 90s to fight terrorism but employed illegitimate and often brutal methods. They also say they were involved in the planning phase of the murder and have valuable information regarding the planning and the aftermath of the assassination, but stated that they fear their fate might be like that of Mustafa Duyar, one of three members of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) who were involved in the 1995 murder of businessman Özdemir Sabancı. Witnesses have claimed Duyar was killed because he knew too much about the real people behind the Sabancı murder.
The secret witness, who said that they had various phone conversations with high-ranking military officers prior to and after the assassination, also claim that they can provide evidence to back their claims. However, they want assurances that they will be taken under a witness protection program.
The secret witness sent a letter to the İstanbul 2nd Juvenile Criminal Court, which tried Ogün Samast, Dink's hit man, who was a minor at the time of the murder. The person also stated that they had been imprisoned after being convicted of homicide. Their initial letter of confession was relayed to Prosecutor Muammer Akkaş, who is conducting the investigation into the Dink murder.
The letter also mentions Erhan Tuncel, another suspect in the Dink murder trial, accused of soliciting Samast to the murder. The secret witness says they planned the details of the assassination together with Tuncel and came to İstanbul and surveyed the area around the Agos office. However, they also say they weren't notified before the murder took place.
The Dink murder case is currently being processed by the Supreme Court of Appeals.
The local court delivered its controversial ruling in the Dink murder case on Jan. 17, 2012, acquitting all 19 suspects of charges of membership of any kind of criminal organization. The court's decision drew widespread ire in Turkey as people took to the streets to protest the verdict.
The local court handed down a sentence of life imprisonment for Yasin Hayal, a prime suspect in the murder of Dink, for inciting murder, while Tuncel was acquitted of murder charges. Tuncel received 10 years and six months for an unrelated bombing of a McDonald's restaurant in 2004.
Dink, the late editor-in-chief of the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, was shot dead in broad daylight on Jan. 19, 2007, by an ultranationalist teenager outside the offices of his newspaper in İstanbul.