ANKARA (AFP)–A Turkish parliamentary commission Wednesday accused security forces of "negligence" for failing to act on intelligence and prevent the murder last year of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
The charge came in a non-binding report by a subcommittee of the parliament Human Rights Commission after a nine-month investigation into the 2007 murder.
The report, without giving names, says police and the paramilitary gendarmerie, which polices rural parts of Turkey, failed to "properly investigate and evaluate" a tip on a plot to kill Dink.
"Dink lost his life…because the authorities did not take the requisite measures due to negligence by those in charge at all levels," it said.
Dink, reviled by Turkish nationalists for talking openly about Ottoman Turkey’s Genocide of its Armenian population, was shot dead Jan. 19, 2007 outside the offices of his Agos newspaper in central Istanbul. Self-confessed gunman Ogun Samast and 18 accomplices went on trial in Istanbul last year.
The charge sheet says police received intelligence as early as 2006 of a plot to kill Dink, organized in the northern city of Trabzon, Samast’s hometown. Only four members of the security forces have so far been indicted in connection with the murder.
Two of them – soldiers working at the Trabzon gendarmerie intelligence department – testified in court in March that they had passed on to their superiors information of a plot to kill Dink, but said no action was taken. They accused their superiors of fabricating documen’s after the murder to create the impression they had no prior knowledge of the plot.
Two policemen are on trial in the northern city of Samsun for their part in a scandal that erupted when it was revealed that security forces posed for smiling ‘souvenir’ pictures with the gunman after he was captured there a day after the murder.
The investigation is seen as a test of Ankara’s resolve to eliminate the ‘deep state’ – a term used to describe security forces acting outside the law to preserve what they consider Turkey’s best interests.