Thursday, January 25, 2007
A Turkish prosecutor has said five people were charged in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, Turkish media reported on Thursday.
Istanbul’s chief prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin charged Ogun Samast, a 17-year-old unemployed man from the Black Sea coast, with premeditated murder and membership of an armed group.
Four others were charged with forming an armed organization and incitement to murder.
Samast, who is reported to have been close to an ultranationalist group in his home town Trabzon, has admitted to shooting Dink in daylight as he left his newspaper Agos in Istanbul last Friday.
The murder brought 100,000 mourners to Istanbul’s streets for Dink’s funeral on Tuesday and has reignited debate about hardline nationalism in a country seeking European Union membership.
"From the quality and the nature of the crimes attributed to the suspects it is clear the result emerges that they formed an armed group," Engin told reporters late on Wednesday in comments reported by the NTV Web site.
Engin said the fact that the suspects were remanded in custody did not mean that a case would be opened soon. Prosecutors will now prepare an indictment against the suspects.
Samast has confessed to killing Dink for "insulting" Turks in his writings and statements on the massacres of Armenians during World War One — a highly sensitive issue in Turkey.
Yasin Hayal, a known nationalist militant, has admitted to inciting his friend Samast to kill Dink, the police said.
Hayal served 11 months in jail for the 2004 bombing of a McDonald’s restaurant in Trabzon.
Dink, who worked for reconciliation between Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks, had been prosecuted for his views on the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915.
He was among intellectuals, including Nobel Literature Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, who have been prosecuted under laws restricting freedom of expression in Turkey.
Turkey denies claims by Armenia and other countries that 1.5 million Armenians died in a systematic genocide at Turkish hands, saying large numbers of both Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks perished during the break up of the Ottoman Empire.
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