ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)—Turkish news agencies reported Monday that defendants facing charges in the Hrant Dink murder trial has connections to six suspects under investigation in the ongoing case over the Ergenekon coup plot.
In a statement sent from the Istanbul police for Monday’s hearing of the Dink trial, authorities said infamous Ergenekon suspects Veli Kucuk, Kemal Kerincsiz, Mustafa Levent Goktaş, Muzaffer Tekin and Erbay Colakoglu spoke on the phone to the suspects in Dink’s murder. Dink was a Turkish journalist of Armenian origin.
Kucuk and Kerincsiz were closely linked to a case in which Dink was tried for insulting Turkishness in one of his articles; before his death, the journalist said he had felt threatened by the pair’s presence at the hearings.
Alleged members of the suspected Ergenekon gang are accused of plotting to overthrow Turkey’s government by sowing chaos in society.
Prior to the start of Monday’s 13th hearing at the Besiktas courthouse, friends of the murdered journalist gathered to issue another demand for justice in the long-running case.
Dink was gunned down in broad daylight on Jan. 19, 2007, in front of the offices of his bilingual daily, Agos.
Roughly 200 people gathered Monday in Besiktas and held posters saying “For Hrant for Justice,” in Turkish and Armenian. Dink’s wife, Rakel Dink, and his brother, Hosrof Dink, were also present on Monday.
“This case has been taking place for three-and-a-half years now, and we will be here as long as it takes,” said Tulin Ozen, reading a press statement on behalf of Dink’s friends.
“Those who protest the public officials involved in Dink’s murder, should know that the number of people who ask for justice will increase in this country,” she said.
Ozen said the state could help serve justice by bringing to light the damaged video recordings of security cameras around the crime scene.
“The Internet café the murderer entered turned out to be related to a security company – they can investigate that,” she said. “They can investigate who encouraged the security forces in Samsun that took pictures with the murderer smiling following the killing.”
She also said a special prosecutor for the case should be nominated. “The state officials said ‘this case is an honor case’ at the beginning. We call them to protect their honor.”
The families of others killed in political assassinations were also present to support the Dink family and watch the trial. The families included murdered journalist Ugur Mumcu’s son and daughter, Ozgur and Ozge Mumcu, murdered Public Prosecutor Dogan Oz’s wife, Sezen Oz, as well as murdered journalist Metin Goktepe’s mother, Fadime Goktepe.