Gendarmerie officer Birol Ustaoğlu, who is a defendant in the Hrant Dink murder case, gave testimony at the ongoing trial into this case, in Istanbul.
Ustaoğlu, who is detained by court decision, said after arresting Dink’s murderer Ogün Samast, they had taken him to the gendarmerie, and then to a police precinct, according to Cumhuriyet (Republic) daily of Turkey.
The gendarmerie officer stressed that the infamous photo of Samast and the police officers with a Turkish flag was taken at the police station, and on the day of his arrest.
“It was apparent that they had instructed him [Samast] to say nothing,” noted Birol Ustaoğlu. “Subsequently, a camera came to the room, Samast asked whether he could take out a [Turkish national] flag, [and] the prosecutor instructed to allow raising the flag and to definitely take a picture of this instant.”
According to the gendarmerie officer, a national intelligence officer also was in the room during the interrogation of Dink’s assassin.
Hrant Dink, the founder and chief editor of Agos Armenian weekly of Istanbul, was gunned down on January 19, 2007, outside the then office of this newspaper.
In 2011, the perpetrator, Ogün Samast, was sentenced by a juvenile court to 22 years and ten months for the murder.
After long court proceedings and appeals, however, a new probe was ultimately launched in this murder case, and regarding numerous former and serving senior Turkish officials’ complicity in this assassination.