YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Capturing and punishing the teenager who shot Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink would only eliminate the “tip of an iceberg,” Claudia Roth, a German politician has said, calling for a thorough investigation into the murder and removal of the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, under which Dink had faced trial for “insulting Turkishness.”
Claudia Roth said her presence at the second hearing of the Dink murder trial earlier this week was first of all “a matter of solidarity to support his family and friends.”
Beyond that, she said “it was a political signal. We have to show that we will not forget what happened. Europe is closely watching how the investigation proceeds and takes this as a first test for the government to show how serious they really take their promises.”
Roth, co-chairperson of the German Alliance %u21890/Green Party and deputy chair of the German-Turkish Parliamentary Friendship Group, was in Turkey to attend the trial and meet with Turkish leaders, including President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after the Justice and Development Party was re-elected to power in the July 22 elections.
Roth is convinced that a “deep state”–referring to shadowy elemen’s of the state cooperating with criminal gangs in order to “protect the interests of the state”–was involved in the crime, citing media reports that showed police officials in Samast’s hometown of Trabzon were aware of the crime long before it took place. “The %u218deep state’ is not just a conspiracy theory, but [it] really exists. Turkish security institutions and judicial apparatuses need to be cleansed of such elemen’s by someone who will act in this task decisively and adamantly,” she said. “Otherwise it will undermine this country one day.”
According to the German politician, if there is any positive thing about the Dink murder, it is that it showed removal of Article 301 is now a matter of urgency. Roth, after meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan on Wednesday evening, said he told her Article 301 would be changed.
“Turkey has to understand that freedom of speech and press are one of the most urgent preconditions for any democratic society and a developing civility,” she said, emphasizing that the government has no excuse after its election victory on July 22 and the election of Gul as president in August. “With the government majority and the presidency in one hand, it is time now to prove the true will to bring the necessary and essential reforms,” she remarked.
Agos bilingual newspaper editor-in-chief, Hrant Dink was killed outside his newspaper office in Istanbul by 17-year-old Ogun Samast on January 19, 2007. After two court sessions, four suspects were released. The next session is due in 11 February 2008. Samast has admitted to the murder, justifying it as an act committed under the influence of Ecstasy.