A court on Tuesday ruled that the fatal shooting of a Turkish private of Armenian descent in 2011 was an accident and sentenced the man who shot him to four years, five months' imprisonment.
The defendant was found guilty of involuntarily causing the death of Pvt. Sevag Şahin Balıkçı.
Earlier this month, a military prosecutor demanded up to two years, six months' imprisonment for Kıvanç Ağaoğlu, accused of accidentally shooting Balıkçı during their military service as privates. Balıkçı's family and lawyers believed the young man being an ethnic Armenian might have been the motive for the fatal shooting.
In Tuesday's decision the judge ruled for a lengthier four years, five months of prison time for Ağaoğlu. But considering the time served awaiting trial, he will only be staying in prison for three additional years.
Pvt. Balıkçı was killed on April 24, 2011, the date the Armenian diaspora has chosen to commemorate the incidents of 1915, when hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Officers and other privates in Balıkçı's unit, which was stationed in Batman province, testified that he was shot accidentally while “joking around” with a close friend, Ağaoğlu. The two were serving at the Kozluk Gümüşgörü Gendarmerie Station at the time of the incident.