ISTANBUL (Hürriyet Daily News)—The Trabzon Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has accepted a request for some police officers to be questioned within the scope of the Hrant Dink murder investigation.
Turkish-Armenian journalist Dink was killed on Jan. 19, 2007 in Istanbul. Former Trabzon Chief of Police Reşat Altay and his deputy Levent Yarımel are among the officers facing questioning. Lawyers representing the Dink family had made the request earlier, claiming that certain public officials are being protected by the state, but the prosecutor’s office had denied the request twice before.
The officers are among public officials suspected by the family’s lawyers of neglect of duty or of knowingly not taking action to prevent the murder of Hrant Dink. Erhan Tuncel, a former police informant and suspect arrested in the case, claims his innocence, alleging that he did his job and told police Dink was going to be murdered months before the incident. Recent evidence that has entered the case file lends support to the argument that the police were in contact with Tuncel on the very day of the assassination despite earlier statements that contact with him had been terminated months earlier.
Dink family lawyer Fethiye Çetin spoke to Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review on Tuesday and said the testimony of Deputy General Chief of Police Emin Aslan caused the request to be accepted this time when the previous ones had been denied. “The court evaluated the testimony as new evidence,” she said; this affected the decision of the Trabzon prosecutor.
Meanwhile, the Presidency’s State Audit Board, or DDK, which began to investigate the murder at the president’s request about a month ago, has asked the lawyers to submit their requests on paper.