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Turkish authorities charge 6th suspect in ethnic Armenian journalist's killing

Turkish authorities charge 6th suspect in ethnic Armenian journalist's killing

Turkish authorities charged a sixth suspect Friday in the slaying of prominent ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, police said.
Dink, who spoke out about the mass killings of Armenians in the early 20th century, was gunned down outside his newspaper a week ago in a killing that raised fears that Turkey may continue to be a dangerous place for intellectuals who openly express their ideas.
University student Erhan Tuncel was formally arrested Friday on charges of instigating the killing, at the end of the legal four-day detention period, police said. A seventh suspect, detained along with Tuncel, was released without being charged.
Five other suspects, including alleged gunman Ogun Samast and Yasin Hayal, a nationalist militant who served time in prison for a 2004 attack and who police say confessed to inciting the slaying and to providing a gun and money to Samast, were charged Wednesday.
Also Friday, the government sacked the governor and the police chief of the Black Sea city of Trabzon, where all the suspects were based. Both men had come under criticism after Dink's killing for allegedly not closely surveilling Hayal despite his conviction for bombing a McDonald's restaurant in 2004.
It was in their city last year that Rev. Andrea Santoro, a 60-year-old Italian Catholic priest, was shot dead by an apparently Islamist youth angered by the publication in Europe of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Authorities, meanwhile, launched a separate investigation into Hayal for what appeared to be a threat against Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk _ who like Dink has been vocal about the killings of Armenians, police said.
Hayal shouted: "Orhan Pamuk, be smart! Be smart!" as he was being brought to an Istanbul courtroom with his hands cuffed behind his back Wednesday. The investigation could lead to Hayal's prosecution if it concludes that his words amounted to a threat against the novelist.
Dink, the 52-year-old editor of the bilingual Ago newspaper, had been brought to trial numerous times for allegedly "insulting Turkishness," a crime under Turkey's penal code.
Pamuk, who won the Nobel Prize in literature last year, also had faced trial in Turkey for his comments on the Armenian killings and had been accused of treason for doing so. His case was thrown out on a technicality.
Dink's murder inspired a massive outpouring of support for liberal values, including freedom of expression, tolerance and reconciliation between Armenians and Turks,
But the killing also pointed to Turkey's continuing problems with extreme nationalism. Most Turks suspect the killing might be linked to ultra-nationalist groups.


Updated : 2021-03-06 07:33 GMT+08:00