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Turkey12 February 2009

Interior ministry reopens investigation of Hrant Dink murder

Reporters Without Borders said today it shared the hopes of the lawyers and family of Hrant Dink after the interior minister announced a new investigation into the role of the security forces in the case of the 2007 murder of the journalist of Armenian origin.

Interior minister, Basir Atalay on 4 February, following the publication of a report by the prime minister’s services (BTK), ordered the opening of an investigation into the responsibilities and negligence of Ramazan Akyurek, intelligence director of national security in Ankara and of Ali Fuat Yilmazer, intelligence head of Istanbul police.

Interior ministry inspectors will also question representatives of the gendarmerie and the police in Trabzon, from where the journalist’s murder was instigated and those in Istanbul, where Dink was murdered and from whom he had asked protection shortly before his death.

Investigators will also examine the activities of the extreme-right organisation, Foyer Alperen, of which the journalists’ two alleged killers, Ehran Tuncel and Yasin Hayal, were members.

The inspectors’ conclusions could, if they uncover mismanagement, lead to the opening of a judicial investigation for “negligence” against the police and the gendarmerie and a trial.

Hrant Dink, editor of the newspaper Agos, was shot dead on 19 January 2007. The trial of the two suspected killers opened in July 2007. The next hearing is due on 20 April.

“The interior minister’s decision represents a major step in the Hrant Dink case”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “We hope that new elements will appear and advance the trial. The opening of this investigation is the final chance to shed light on poor running of the police and the gendarmerie”, it added.




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