ISTANBUL – Almost five years on there is still a lot that is not clear about the shadowy network that ordered the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. However a start has been made in dealing with the ‘deep state’, the ‘state within the state’ that is widely held responsible for the killing. Thursday marks five years since Dink was shot by a young nationalist.
Today such a murder is no longer possible in Turkey, according to prominent human rights activist and lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz. ‘I’m sure of that. The atmosphere has changed since the probe into Ergenekon started’.
Ergenekon is a gang of highly placed people inside the state apparatus that defends the state by any means, and protects itself against prosecution. The ‘deep state’ is responsible for dozens of murders.
The murder on Hrant Dink, on 19 January 2007, was one of the last Ergenekon killings. In April 2007 three employees of a Christian publishing house were murdered in the city of Malatya, most likely also by Ergenekon. Cengiz: ‘That was the last Ergenekon murder. After that the investigation into the deep state started and since then actually some murders have been prevented.’
The connections between Ergenekon and the perpetrators of the Dink murder were never confirmed. The trial against the suspects has been constantly frustrated by the deep state, which still has a lot of influence behind the scenes. Documents have disappeared or were held back and key figures were never called to testify or otherwise held to account.
Tuesday was the last hearing in the court case. After five years some judicial procedures can not be prolonged. Cengiz: ‘It is a great pity that the case has come to a premature closure. It would be good for the fight against the deep state if all the structures and responsible people behind it were brought out into the open.’
The case can continue if the prosecutor finds new evidence. But he is not known for trying his very best to get to the truth. Cengiz: ‘Ergenekon is also suspected of planning a coup, and the prosecutor is concentrating on that, not on the murders Ergenekon committed.’
Cengiz was threatened himself by the deep state some years ago. Is he still afraid? Cengiz: ‘I’ve never been afraid. There was a real danger, but I don’t feel that anymore.’