New Agos Editor Koptaş Says Ergenekon Behind Dink Murder

By Zamet Altintas
Zaman Jan 1st, 2011

ISTANBUL–Rober Koptaş, the new editor-in-chief of the bilingual Armenian Weekly Agos, says the murder of Hrant Dink, who was fatally shot in front of Agos offices in January 2007, was connected with the plans drafter by some defendants in the trial of Ergenekon, a clandestine network charged with plotting to overthrow the government.

“In his last two articles Dink had commented about how threats against him had become unbearable, and he was talking about names. We would like to achieve a widespread public understanding that Ergenekon was behind his murder,” Koptaş said.

A police investigation into a new-nationalist group called Ergenekon believed to be the extension of a clandestine network with members in the armed forces, revealed a couple of years ago that the group was plotting to stage a coup against the government. Revelations emanating from the investigation thus far have shown that many of the attacks attributed to separatists or Islamists groups or seen as hate crimes against minorities were actually ‘inside jobs’.

The March 2010 indictment of many active duty and retired members of the Naval Forces Command, who are believed to be behind a plan targeting Turkey’s non-Muslim residents, directly linked the suspects to Ergenekon.

According to the indictment, the Naval Forces Command suspects had been working for a long time in line with the aims of Ergenekon. The suspects have been accused of working to undermine the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) by intimidating and even killing non-Muslim figures in the country.

“The desired result was to create chaos in the country in order to eventually lead to a coup d’etat. The indictments tell us about all of those plans,” Koptaş said.

He added that Dink’s murder was planned to send a message to society that the nation-state was against pluralism and that people like Dink, who had been serving as a bridge between people of various identities, would not be tolerated.

Koptaş noted that such notorious plans may still be drafted but said today’s Turkey is different. He emphasized that following the arrests in the Ergenekon case, the threat messages to Agos from certain people ceased.

“The state tradition is problematic when it comes to the view of non-Muslims in Turkey,” Koptaş said. He added that the general public represents common sense against prejudiced state approaches. He indicated that changing discriminatory words in textbooks would help to have healthy generations in that regard.

Opening the border between Turkey and Armenia would also be constructive in that case.

“As long as people do not know each other, they will carry in current problems into the future. Only when there are exchanges in the areas of culture, sports, and economics will relations be normalized. Turks and Armenians will realize that they are not each other’s enemies. This realization will eventually lead to peace,” he said.

It has been three years since Turkish-Armenian journalist Dink was assassinated by an ultra nationalist teenager, and the investigation into his murder has now stalled. His suspected killer and immediate accomplices have been put on trial, but those who master minded the plot to kill him are yet to be uncovered.

There is a lengthy list of suspicious irregularities in the investigation of Dink’s murder, including deleted records and hidden files, suggesting an attempted police cover-up. The Dink family’s lawyers have said much of the evidence indicates that the murder could have been prevented.

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