ISTANBUL (Combined Sources)—Hrant Dink’s defense attorney said that the time has passed for a proposed “amicable [compromise] solution” in his client’s case at the International Court of Human Rights, where the slain Armenian journalist is being charged by official Ankara for “insulting Turkishness,” reported the Turkish-Armenian newspaper Maramara.
Dink’s defense attorney Fettiyeh Cetin said that the time has long passed for a compromise solution and that the Dink’s family has rejected any such offer, according to Marmara.
This comes on the heels of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s announcement Wednesday that the government was willing to entertain an “amicable solution” to the Dink case, after Turkey’s representatives at the European court compared Dink with a Neo-Nazi.
In a televised interview with Bugün TV, Davutoğlu said Turkey is planning to take steps to handle cases against it at the European court – in particular, the Dink case – in compliance with contemporary and universal law, reported the Hurriyet daily.
“There are applications on two issues regarding the Hrant Dink case; one concerning the protection of the right to live, and the other one is about freedom of expression. The state should fulfill its all responsibilities both on right to live and freedom of expression — we don’t even make such thing a subject for discussion,” Davutoğlu said, while recalling that Turkey, as a founding member of the Council of Europe, has abided by the jurisdictions of the European Court of Human Rights and is “intertwined” with this institution, reported Today’s Zaman.
“There will be steps that we will take for Turkey to handle these issues, and in particular this issue [the Dink case], in a contemporary way and in compliance with international law. We are especially focused on the matter of a friendly settlement,” Davutoğlu said, noting that Turkey’s permanent representative to the Council of Europe also participated in the meeting earlier on Tuesday. During the meeting, ministers decided to establish a working group on the matter in order to prevent having to defend any further similarly humiliating cases before the European Court of Human Rights, Today’s Zaman learned from reliable sources.
Without mentioning the working group, Davutoğlu said they would conduct a study to determine where mistakes have been made in cases before the European court. Underlining that these issues are not related to the Foreign Ministry or the Justice Ministry, Davutoğlu suggested that certain problems have been stemming from dis-function within the entire legal system and delays in legal processes.
Under the terms of a “friendly settlement,” the state must admit it violated the principles of the right to life and free speech set out in the European Convention on Human Rights and pay compensation to the victim’s family. Rıza Türmen, Turkey’s former judge at the European court, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Monday that the European court also must find any settlement suitable, so that the file can be dropped from the court agenda.
The European court is set to deliver its final verdict in September and Turkey needs to inform the court of any settlement before then.
Commenting on the controversial Neo-Nazi defense, the foreign minister also said that “such defenses are prepared at the technical level without any need for signature from any minister” and said the statements were “not an appropriate defense in the context of our current criteria.”
“But are those who wrote that defense bad? No,” Davutoğlu added. “They are in a position to defend the state practice. This has nothing to do with the executive, but as the judiciary is a state institution, we need to take this into account.”
Dink’s lawyer Cetin said that not only her client’s freedom of expression was violated, but also his right to life was not protected by the Turkish government. He demanded that Article 301 be erased from the Turkish penal code, according to Marmara.