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Why the Hrant Dink case is not going anywhere ?

Tuesday 11 October 2011, by Orhan Kemal Cengiz

Last Monday the prosecutor read out his final opinion in the Hrant Dink case, meaning the case has approached its final stages. Basically, the prosecutor said that the Trabzon cell of the Ergenekon terrorist organization carried out this murder. But he also said that he is unable to establish concrete links between Ergenekon and Dink’s murderers.

We can interpret his remarks as a confession of a failure to identify the real perpetrators of this murder. However, in spite of this failure, he explained his final opinion in the case and requested the court to proceed to deliver its judgment.

In my view, there are two main factors that render the courts unable to solve the murders of Christians, which started in 2006 with the murder of father Santoro in Trabzon, followed by the murder of Hrant Dink in January 2007 and the Malatya massacre in April that same year, in which three missionaries were killed.

The first reason is the simple fact that the whole system is involved in these murders. The gendarmerie’s illegal JİTEM unit prepared the groundwork for these murders. Police intelligence had been following their every step, but they just turned a blind eye. During this period there persisted a very intense anti-Christian hysteria throughout Turkey and I think the police was also influenced by it. The Malatya massacre, however, became a turning point. After that, the police caught potential murderers in Samsun, Diyarbakır, Mersin and İzmir before they could even attempt to kill Christians.

In these cities murderers of exactly the same profile (very young ultranationalists with connections to youth groups of ultranationalist parties) as the murderers of Santoro, Dink and the missionaries were preparing for the assassination of selected Christian targets. But the police, who somehow could not manage to stop the Malatya and Dink murders, were this time successful in acting on the intelligence they had gathered.

If you ask me, they had similar intelligence for the Santoro, Dink and Malatya murders but somehow decided against acting upon it. This is a serious obstacle for us to shed light on these murders because we are unable to get any useful information from the police, whose hands are dirty as well.

Another reason why we cannot solve these murders is this: The courts hearing the Malatya and Dink cases do not have the “big picture” (extensive knowledge about Ergenekon network) whereas the courts and prosecutors involved in the Ergenekon case — too obsessed with the alleged coup attempts — have not paid any attention to Ergenekon’s anti-Christian activities that may potentially shed light on the Malatya massacre and the Dink murder case.

Look at Dink’s murder from this perspective: Dink himself knew very well who was after him. He knew the deep state was lobbying in the high court behind closed doors to make sure he would be convicted for “insulting Turkishness,” which made him a target for ultranationalist groups in Turkey. He knew that lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, who brought this case against him, had very strong connections with the deep state. Kerinçsiz is now behind bars in the Ergenekon case. Dink was very concerned when he saw retired Gen. Veli Küçük, one of the main figures in the Ergenekon network, visit the courtroom where he was being tried for insulting Turkishness.

Küçük, Kerinçsiz and the many others who carried out campaigns against Dink and Christians across the country had their meetings in the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate, which is very famous for its long-standing battle with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey. Not only Kerinçsiz and Küçük, but also the founders of many ultranationalist associations that had waged war against Christians in Turkey had their meetings at the Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate. Sevgi Erenol, an Ergenekon spokesperson, was also arrested as part of the Ergenekon probe. None of these activities and connections have been properly investigated by Ergenekon prosecutors.

I think the Dink murder case and the Malatya massacre case are not going anywhere because we are looking for answers in the wrong place. We need to make connections between the real perpetrators and these murder cases in order to serve justice in the real sense of the word. We do not need to hear abstract connections between Ergenekon and the murder cases, like the Dink prosecutor presented.

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Source : Todayszaman.com / 22 September 2011, Thursday

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