Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Will the Malatya massacre be also covered up after Dink?

When I first heard the final verdict on the Hrant Dink murder case, a couple of thoughts crossed my mind. I thought the case had been completely covered up.
The court delivered such a terrible judgment, in which they went so far as to say that there was no “organization” behind this murder. This verdict was the worst of the worst that the court could ever deliver in this case. Does this mark a turning point in dealing with deep state-affiliated cases, or was it incidental?

Not only did I think all this, but I was also seriously concerned with other future developments that could occur in other cases, specifically the Malatya massacre case, in which three missionaries were barbarically killed in Malatya in 2007. We have been waiting for a second indictment in this case for a very long time. As you know, this case continued like the Hrant Dink case for a long time, focusing on a few hitmen without gaining any insight into the identities of the real perpetrators behind the murders. Then, last year help came from an Ergenekon prosecutor, Zekeriya Öz, who acted on information given to him by a “secret witness” who worked for gendarmerie. This secret witness told prosecutor Öz that he was a gendarmerie officer who had infiltrated the Protestant community upon the orders of his superiors. He even became a pastor. Upon a second order from a gendarmerie commander, he appeared on TV on Feb. 28, 2005 and explained how he had become “enlightened” about the evil in the activities of Protestants in Turkey, so had decided to become Muslim. He was very popular during this time, appearing on TV stations one after another, warning Turkish society about “missionaries” and about their terrible intentions in Turkey. This was, of course, a part of a huge anti-Christian campaign by Ergenekon circles. Luckily, gendarmerie sergeant, İlker Çınar, also gave other information to Öz, who then decided to arrest the former Malatya gendarmerie commander and other gendarmerie officers. Öz also ordered police to carry out searches of the homes of theology professors who were appearing on TV channels with Çınar and conducting a hate campaign against Christians.

Çınar explained that he was receiving a salary from the Malatya gendarmerie, which was quite active in anti-Christian campaigns across the country. Çınar also gave some specific details on how the Malatya gendarmerie had prepared the groundwork for the Malatya massacre.

As you know Öz was “promoted” and lost contact with the Ergenekon file. Following this, an İstanbul prosecutor sent all these investigation files to a Malatya prosecutor who had been working on this file for a long time. When I talked to him three or four months ago, he told me he was going to introduce a second indictment in the Malatya massacre case that would uncover the whole network behind the massacre. However, I also learnt that the Malatya massacre file was taken from him recently and given to another prosecutor who had prepared the Kurdish Communities’ Union (KCK) indictment before. I am now seriously concerned by the possibility that this second indictment will never be delivered or that it will be very weak. We will see what happens.

If there is no serious policy change, the second indictment in the Malatya massacre should introduce fairly new angles, from which we will be able to gain new perspectives to understand all the other attacks on Christians in the last decade. I also strongly believe that if we could get a proper second indictment in the Malatya case, it will have a serious effect on the Dink case and it will also force the prosecutors and judges to look at the case files from a different perspective.

Will Turkey progress in uncovering the real network behind the murders in the past? The Malatya massacre case and this second indictment will be a turning point in this struggle. We will soon see how it unfolds.

1 comment:

roye said...
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