Court’s judgement is far from the truth, Hrant Dink’s family says

The family of the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, who was shot dead in broad daylight outside his office in Istanbul in 2007, denounced an Istanbul court’s final ruling over Dink’s murder on Friday as “far from the truth.”

“Not the evil itself, but its leakage was punished,” Dink family said in a written statement, following the court’s ruling, news website Bianet reported on Friday.

Fourteen years after Dink’s assassination, Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court convicted 26 defendants, while acquitting 37 others. Four defendants sentenced to life imprisonment and two to aggravated life imprisonment, Bianet said.

Dink was serving as editor-in-chief of Istanbul’s Armenian language newspaper Agos when he was gunned down outside its offices on Jan.19, 2007. Teenager Ogün Samast shot Dink three times in the head at close range. Samast, a Turkish ultra-nationalist was convicted of Dink’s murder in 2011 and sentenced to 22 years in prison but questions remain over the alleged involvement of state security forces.

The murder came after a three-year-long of targeting and threats, Dink family said.

Reiterating Hrant Dink’s article titled "Why have I been chosen as the target?" which he wrote a week before his assassination, saying “This is an operation of the depth of the state to make me know my place,” the family said that none of the events, persons or relations that he mentioned in his last article had been included in the investigation.

“The operation didn't end with the killing; it continued with neglect, cover-up, evidence spoliation and misdirection. It is not possible for a trial that does not address all this mechanism to convince either us or the public,” family said.

“In today's environment where the reputation of the judiciary is in the lowest, what court can make a fair judgment, what sort of a truth and justice can we talk about, could anybody say that being an Armenian has nothing to do with the killing of Hrant Dink, how racism ingrained in this mechanism can be denied,” family asked.

Reminding that the Gülen Movement which Turkey blames for orchestrating the failed coup attempt of July 2016 was said to be the killer of Hrank Dink, “If this case is closed in its current state with no effective investigation carried out, who will be responsible for the lives that will be lost in the years to come,” family asked.

Considering the Gülen movement as a child, likewise the gunman Ogün Samast, the family said that the mechanism on the other hand is much more older.

“This mechanism should not be allowed to continue taking other lives,” they said.

“We, as his family, together with his friends and lawyers, with the strength of our friends whom we carried his coffin together with, will never give up our efforts to understand and tell and our legal struggle. Until the whole mechanism is exposed and made unusable."

At the 131st hearing of the trial of 77 public officials, including police officers and intelligence agents over the killing of Dink, no ruling has been handed down for one person as he has lost his life. The files of 13 defendants have been separated as their defence statements could not be taken, Bianet added.

"Hrant Dink case is not over. This is the third trial and it does not comprise behind-the-scenes actors who threatened him with a statement, threw him before violent groups as an object of hate or failed to act so that he would get killed,” said Erol Önderlioğlu, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) representative to Turkey, to Bianet over the final ruling.

"We will keep on supporting the Dink family until all these processes leading to the death of a journalist and a person of peace are revealed and all responsible parties are put on trial," Önderlioğlu said.

Before his assassination, Hrant Dink received numerous death threats from Turkish nationalists after a series of articles he wrote on Armenian identity.

"I feel like a pigeon," Dink wrote in his last article published the day he was gunned down.

“Like a pigeon I wander uneasily amidst this city, watching my back constantly, so timid and yet, so free.”