ISTANBUL—Hrant Dink murder mastermind told the daily Taraf newspaper that Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk was to have been the next target, reported Today’s Zaman.
Yasin Hayal, who is serving a life sentence for his role in the Dink murder, said the plan to assassinate Pamuk was foiled when the Dink murder caused public and international outrage.
When Hayal was detained and appeared in court in 2007, he had said, “Orhan Pamuk should be careful.”
Hayal elaborated on these statements five years later from his prison cell. He explained that Erhan Tuncel, who worked as an informant for the Trabzon Police Department and was arrested after the Dink murder of Dink but subsequently released, told him: “Hrant Dink and Orhan Pamuk are dangerous to this nation. They should be killed. But Dink has priority.”
In January, Samast was sentenced to 22 years, 10 months in prison, while Hayal was given life imprisonment for inciting Samast to murder. Tuncel was found not guilty of murdering Dink.
Hayal said he made the threatening statement against Pamuk due to Tuncel’s remarks.
According to Taraf, Hayal expressed regret for having made the statements about Pamuk, which he said were a result of ignorance.
“They [the remarks] were due to youth and ignorance. If I happen to get out of this place one day, I will visit him [Pamuk] and kiss his hand [a show of respect in Turkish culture] and apologize to him. I am really sorry,” he said.
In February 2005, Pamuk told a Swiss newspaper, “Thirty-thousand Kurds and one million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it.” Six individuals launched a lawsuit against the novelist, including the ultra-nationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz who is a suspect in the alleged Ergenekon coup plot against the Turkish government. The five others are said to be relatives of soldiers killed during Turkey’s fight against “terrorism.” They claimed Pamuk “accused all Turkish people” in his words.
Initially, the suit was rejected by the court in Sisli, a district in Istanbul. The plaintiffs then appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeals. In 2009, the court deemed the case worthy of consideration. The Sisli court then reevaluated the case, and on March 27, 2011, ordered Pamuk to pay compensation to the plaintiffs.