A fresh indictment has been levelled against Ogün Samast, just released from prison after serving a 16-year sentence for the 2007 murder of Hrant Dink, the Armenian editor-in-chief of the Agos Newspaper. The indictment, lodged in Istanbul, accuses Samast of involvement with the Fethullah Gülen Organisation (FETÖ), the group accused of plotting the 15 July 2016 coup attempt, linking the murder to their objectives and seeking a sentence of between 7 years and 6 months to 12 years.
Samast, who was a minor at the time of Dink’s assassination, is classified in the indictment as a “child led into crime”. Despite the absence of direct evidence linking Samast to FETÖ, the prosecution argues his actions were in line with the organisation’s objectives. The document cites Samast’s 2014 testimony in the Dink murder trial, which details his interactions with his former co-defendants, Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel, both convicted, and an overheard conversation about support from key figures within the organisation.
The indictment also outlines FETÖ’s alleged strategy subsequent to Dink’s murder, including a takeover of the Istanbul Intelligence Directorate, part of a broader scheme to infiltrate state institutions, culminating in the controversial 2016 coup attempt.
The case, referred to the Istanbul 2nd High Criminal Court for Children, reflects Samast’s age at the time of Dink’s murder. Originally sentenced to a life term, his sentence was reduced due to his juvenile status at the time of the crime.
Meanwhile, Reşat Altay, Police Chief of the city of Trabzon at the time of the assassination, recently reflected on the murder, suggesting it could have been prevented. Altay stated that he had received no intelligence about the plot, which had been laid in Trabzon, Samast’s home town. He highlighted the lack of communication and follow-up on critical intelligence, pointing to systemic failures within the police department.
Altay’s revelations align with the ongoing scrutiny of the role of law enforcement in the case. The indictment’s focus on Samast’s alleged links to FETÖ adds a new dimension to the long-standing controversy surrounding Dink’s murder, a case that has become emblematic of issues within Turkey’s justice and law enforcement systems.
Hrant Dink’s widow Rakel Dink, speaking at a recent conference, emphasised the broader implications of the case for Turkey’s democratic development. Her comments underscore the ongoing public demand for accountability and transparency in the investigation of Dink’s assassination and the broader struggle for justice in Turkey.