Political overtures against Gulen movement affected the investigation into Dink’s killing: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

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The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Ankara to ensure that a transparent investigation is conducted into the 2007 killing of a prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist by a Turkish nationalist.

“Turkish authorities must conduct an impartial and depoliticized investigation into the killing of journalist Hrant Dink, and ensure that all those involved in planning and committing the killing are held to account,” the CPJ said on Monday.

Dink’s killing prompted outrage after footage emerged of his assassin being congratulated and presented with a Turkish flag by smiling counterterrorism police officers.

On Friday, an Istanbul court acquitted 37 of 77 defendants on trial for Dink’s murder, and convicted 26, according to local independent news outlet Bianet, which reported that four of the convicted were sentenced to life in prison. Another 13 people were not handed verdicts because they did not appear in court.

The latest rulings are the result of a combination of the retrial of the original murder trial, and the merger of investigations into state and military officials, the CPJ said.

Among those convicted for the murder was Ercan Gun, a former news editor at Fox News Turkey whom authorities claimed conspired to blame the Turkish military for Dink’s assassination.

Gun pleaded not guilty, but was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “being a member of an armed terrorist organization.”

Both the CPJ and Dink’s family have expressed concern that Monday’s verdict did not expose the depth of the conspiracy against the slain writer. The family have promised to appeal the verdict.

“The prosecution of the murder of Turkish journalist Hrant Dink remains unsatisfactory, as voiced by the Dink family and their lawyers,” said Gulnoza Said, the CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator.

“Turkish authorities must allow an unbiased, comprehensive investigation into each actor suspected of involvement in the conspiracy and leave nothing in the dark. The family’s appeal should present authorities with a fresh chance to treat this case with the seriousness it deserves.”

Turkish authorities allege that people aligned with exiled preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom they blame for the attempted coup in 2016, played a role in Dink’s murder.

The CPJ has documented concerns that political overtures against Gulen have affected the investigation into Dink’s killing.

The CPJ and other rights groups have repeatedly expressed concern that Turkey is becoming an increasingly dangerous place for journalists to work independently.

Source: Arab News

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