ANKARA, Turkey : Police in Istanbul were questioning four right-wing politicians on Monday in connection with the killing of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, news reports and officials said.
Police were interrogating Yasar Cihan, head of the local branch of the conservative and nationalist Great Unity Party, and three other party officials, the party’s leader, Muhsin Yazicoglu, confirmed Monday.
The private Dogan news agency said Cihan’s son and two party officials were detained along with the local party leader in the Black Sea port of Trabzon late Sunday.
Hours earlier, Patriarch Mesrob II, the spiritual head of the Armenian Orthodox community in Turkey, had criticized authorities for failing to find those who ordered Dink’s killing.
It was not immediately known on what grounds the politician was detained. But shortly after Dink’s killing, Cihan had admitted having given money to one of the suspects’ families but had insisted it was part of charity money he regularly donates to needy families.
Dink was killed outside the offices of his paper, Agos, in Istanbul on Jan. 19. Prosecutors have pressed charges against 10 suspects, including some former members of the youth wing of Great Unity. Most of the suspects are from Trabzon.
Dink, the 52-year-old editor of the bilingual Agos newspaper and an outspoken activist for minority rights and free expression, had been brought to trial several times for allegedly "insulting Turkishness," a crime under Turkey’s penal code.
Dink’s killing prompted international condemnation as well as debate within Turkey about free speech, and whether state institutions were tolerant of militant nationalists.
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