EYÜP SERBEST – ISTANBUL
Speaking at a hearing of the case on Dec. 5, former Trabzon Gendarmerie Intelligence head Lt. Col. Metin Yıldız said the authorities knew of a plot to assassinate Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink six months before he was shot dead in 2007.
“We heard from Coşkun İğci, who worked at the Soil Products Office, that [Yasin] Hayal was planning the killing of Hrant Dink,” Yıldız, who is being tried under arrest in the case, said at the 14th Istanbul Heavy Penal Court.
“I briefed Ali Öz about this. He gave me no orders. It was busy in the department at the time, so I focused on other tasks. But it was certain Hayal and three or four others would be carrying out this act. There was an intelligence loop,” he added.
However, former Trabzon Gendarmerie Chief Ali Öz, who is also being tried under arrest, said in the same hearing that he “does not recall being conveyed this information.”
“My fault is not ordering the personnel to write down such allegations at the time. My mistake is that I trusted the office. I believe the personnel had no bad intentions. Information was skipped in this matter but that information was not on the records,” Öz added.
Dink, the former editor-in-chief of weekly Agos, was shot dead outside his office in Istanbul’s Şişli district on Jan. 19, 2007 by 17-year-old Ogün Samast, who had traveled to Istanbul from the Black Sea province of Trabzon before the murder.
Relatives and followers of the case have claimed government officials, police, military personnel and National Intelligence Agency (MİT) officials played a role in Dink’s murder by neglecting their duty to protect the late journalist.