The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) convicted Turkey in the case concerned with the files of Hrant Dink. The Turkish-Armenian journalist was assassinated on 19 January 2007 in Istanbul.
According to news obtained by bianet, the ECHR chamber decided for a violation of the right to life because Turkey did not prevent the murder of the journalist and did not carry out an effective investigation afterwards. One of the files tried in the scope of this case was related to the punishment handed down to Dink prior to his death based on Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Law which bans "insults" to the Turkish state. The ECHR saw a violation of freedom of expression in the sentence.
In the defence recently submitted by Turkey to the Strasbourg court, Dink was compared to a Nazi leader and he was accused of publishing "hate speeches". Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin had both distanced themselves from the defence.
After the defence made the headlines, President Abdullah Gül admitted that Dink died because the necessary precautions had not been taken. Subsequently, he invited Hosrof Dink, brother of the killed journalist, to a meeting on 20 August.
The court decision is expected to be announced in September after the reasoning will have been prepared.
If Turkey should appeal, the ECHR Great Chamber will give the final decision.
Prime Minister protects MIT
At the same time, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dismissed the request of the Istanbul Chief Prosecution to launch an investigation into alleged negligence of members of the National Intelligence Service (MIT) related to the Hrant Dink murder.
As reported by Radikal newspaper, the Prime Ministry replied in writing to the Prosecution, saying that they would not issue permission for an investigation about the MIT members, whose lowest rank is that of a Head of Operations.
"We have no information, no documents"
The Prime Ministry had forwarded the request of the prosecution to the MIT Undersecretary and had asked for their opinion on the matter. In the response of MIT it was said, "We have no information and no documents about the Hrant Dink murder".
President Erdoğan had the prosecutor's request reviewed by the Prime Ministry Law Undersecretary. While one of the experts apparently said the investigation should be permitted, another one spoke out against it.
In a final evaluation, permission was not issued for a probe into the MIT members.
No permission for Atasagun either
Previously, Prime Minister Erdoğan had also declined permission for an investigation requested by the Ankara Public Chief Prosecution into alleged connections of MIT Undersecretary Şenkal Atasagun to the preparation of the Ergenekon Scheme. Erdoğan said that Atasagun fulfilled his duty and decided that there was no reason for a further investigation. (TK/BB/VK)