Judge in Hrant Dink trial detained over FETÖ links
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULDec 03, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Dec 03, 2016 12:00 am
The trial on the murder of a prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist, which features an ongoing blame game between defendants, was the scene of a surprising development on Friday. Bünyamin Karakaş, a member of the board of judges presiding over the trial, was detained in an investigation involving the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). The detention came after the presiding judge ordered an unexpected break in the hearing, followed by the detention of Karakaş in his room at the courthouse in Istanbul. He was not in attendance for Friday's hearing on the murder of Dink in 2007.
Gülenist links and allegations of a cover-up in the case were in the spotlight after the 2013 coup attempts by Gülenist prosecutors and police. An Istanbul court reopened the case, and the subsequent legal process saw former-police chiefs detained for negligence and cover-ups in the case once handled by prosecutors with links to FETÖ.
Most recently, several gendarmerie intelligence officers were arrested for negligence. The gendarmerie's role in the alleged cover-up has never been investigated thoroughly, according to lawyers of the Dink family, after photos showing several gendarmerie intelligence officers at the crime scene shortly before the killing were recently published by media outlets.
Dink was murdered by a teenager, Ogün Samast, outside the offices of the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, where he served as editor-in-chief. Samast was captured after the murder, which was initially blamed on ultra-nationalists angered by Dink's views on the Armenian "genocide."
Ramazan Akyürek and Ali Fuat Yılmazer, two former police chiefs with links to FETÖ, are accused of deliberate negligence in the case. Media outlets reported that FETÖ sought to stoke ethnic tensions in the country by using the murder of a prominent Armenian figure by a nationalist, blaming the murder on Ergenekon, an alleged gang of generals, journalists and academics. All Ergenekon defendants were released after a few years in jail when a new investigation revealed they were imprisoned on trumped-up charges and evidence forged by Gülenist officials.
Turkey has stepped up the crackdown against FETÖ following the July 15 coup attempt blamed on officers linked to the terrorist group. Hundreds of judges and prosecutors were detained or dismissed for links to the group after July 15.
Anadolu Agency reported that Karakaş was among 192 judges and prosecutors the Ankara Chief Prosecutor's office was investigating for FETÖ issued detention warrants.
Thirty-five defendants, including former bureaucrats, face charges of negligence and cover-up in the Dink case, but none accept the charges, blaming each other for the faults in the investigation of the murder.