A court in Istanbul arrested retired gendarmerie officers Brigadier General Hamza Celepoğlu, Lieutenant Muharrem Demirkale and Sergeant Yavuz Karakaya over the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
The prosecutor's office said in its indictment that it was impossible for Celepoğlu, who was serving as the intelligence assessment and analysis chief at the Gendarmerie Command at the time, to not have knowledge on the illegal activities carried out by officers at the Istanbul and Trabzon intelligence offices for the murder of Dink. Demirkale and Karakaya, who were caught on the putschists' side at the Gendarmerie Command in Ankara during the July 15 coup attempt, were serving at the Istanbul Gendarmerie Intelligence Directorate at the time of Dink's murder.
Dink was an outspoken advocate for the resumption of Turkish-Armenian relations and reconciliation between the two countries, whose ties were severed over the infamous Armenian allegations of "genocide" during World War I. Dink drew the ire of ultranationalists, and his murder was initially tied to the far-right, as the culprit was an ultranationalist teenager. Ogün Samast was arrested in Istanbul hours after he left the crime scene to travel to his hometown of Trabzon in northern Turkey and later was convicted for the murder. A former Trabzon police chief who later rose to police intelligence, together with other senior police intelligence officials, were arrested as part of the investigation into the murder. The police chiefs are linked to Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and stand accused of covering up or ignoring intelligence regarding the murder plot.
Hamza Celepoğlu was already convicted of his role in the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks case, which is attributed to the FETÖ. In January 2014, trucks belonging to the MİT carrying aid to Turkmens in Syria were stopped and intercepted by security forces upon the order of former Adana Public Prosecutor Özcan Şişman. The supplies in the trucks were seized and MİT staffers were handcuffed before they were detained, which prompted the government to reform its intelligence laws in an effort to avoid such situations in the future. The governor of the province was informed about the incident in its latest phase, and many believe the operation was aimed at creating a political crisis to deterioriate Turkey's image in the world through joint efforts by the Gülen Movement and anti-government media outlets that made the incident public, despite its highly confidential status.
Furthermore, an Istanbul court ruled in April for the arrest of 17 high-ranking military officers on charges of stopping and raiding trucks belonging to the MİT.
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