The 19th hearing of the Hrant Dink murder trial is being heard at the Beşiktaş (Istanbul) Courthouse today (29 July). Dink, a Turkish journalist of Armenian ethnic origin, was killed in front of the Agos newspaper office in Şişli/Istanbul on 19 January 2007.
Erhan Tuncel and Yasin Hayal are detained defendants of the case that is observed by representatives of the Paris Bar Association and Claudia Roth, Co-Chair of the German Green Party and member of the European Union (EU) Greens.
Just like before every hearing of the trial, the Friends of Hrant Group gathered at the Beşiktaş Pier prior to the hearing this morning.
One group of the Friends of Hrant met in front of the Dolmabahçe Palace to join the group in Beşiktaş later, among them the wife of the slain journalist, Rakel Dink, MPs Ertuğrul Kürkçü, Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Osman Kavala, journalist Hakan Tahmaz, Bülent Aydın, human rights activist Zeynep Tanbay, Agos newspaper executive Robert Koptaş, politician Sema Solaklı, lawyer Turgut Kazan, Assoc. Prof. Ferdan Ergut and Masis Kürkçügil. They were carrying banners reading "We will not forget", "For Hrant, for justice" and "We will not forgive".
The group members were also carrying the small round black and white signs that became characteristic for the struggle for justice related to the Dink trial. The sings featured slogans like "This trial will not end like that", "Fascists strike, the AKP protect" or "Long live the brotherhood between the Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian people".
'We will not let go of the people behind Samast'
A press release on behalf of the Friends of Hrant was read out by Metin Eray. He said that the ones who believed that justice was delivered with the conviction of triggerman Ogün Samast were mistaken. Eray announced that they would not let go of the "big brothers" who masterminded the murder.
"In the darkness of unanswered questions our sense of justice is broken and our anger is growing constantly. But nobody should forget; this trial is not going to end that way! The ones who said that justice was delivered with the sentencing of Ogün Samast have to bear in mind that we will not let go of the "big brothers" who masterminded this issue. They are mistaken!"
"Who was under investigation until today?
Eray reminded that none of the persons responsible for the killing of Dink is on trial and that the court did not come anywhere near to the conviction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
"The Ministry of the Interior did not issue permission for an investigation about the police officers from the Istanbul Police who were responsible. And is there anybody who interrogated Celalettin Cerrah [then Chief of the Istanbul Police]? Istanbul Governor Güler hid behind his deputyship but he will have to face the truth sooner or later".
"Why don't we hear anything from the State Auditing Commission appointed by the President? Eventually, the Prime Ministry gave their permission for investigating the MİT [National Intelligence Agency]! Who is under investigation?"
Eran pointed out that the ones who thought that the Hrant Dink case was going to disappear in the "memory dump" like other trials were mistaken. He declared that they would continuously follow up the procedures.
"ECHR recommendations must be followed"
The group went to meet the others at the Beşiktaş Pier subsequent to the statement. There, Olivier Guilbaud, Member of the Paris Bar Association Steering Board, stressed again that justice has not been delivered yet with the conviction of Ogün Samast. Only with the prosecution of all the people responsible for the murder justice could be delivered, he said. "The entire number of recommendations made by the European Court of Human Rights must be followed. We will follow up this case until the end", Guilbaud declared. (NV/ŞA/VK)