Remembering Agos editor Hrant Dink

Agos editor Hrant Dink was killed in Istanbul 16 years ago.

Prominent Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was murdered in Istanbul on 19 January 2007. 
He was Agos newspaper editor and had written and spoken at length about the 1915 Armenian Genocide. He was well known for his efforts for reconciliation between Turks and Armenians.

At the time of his death, he was on trial for violating Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and "denigrating Turkishness". 

Dink was assassinated in Istanbul at around 12:00 GMT on 19 January 2007 as he returned to the offices of Agos. 

The killer was reported to have introduced himself as an Ankara University student who wanted to meet with Mr. Dink. When his request was rejected, he waited in front of a nearby bank for a while. According to eyewitnesses, Dink was shot by a man of 25 to 30 years of age, who fired three shots at Dink's head from the back at point blank range before fleeing the scene on foot. According to the police, the assassin was a man of 18 to 19 years of age. Two men had been taken into custody in the first hours of the police investigation, but were later released.

One day after the assassination, the police announced that the shooter had been identified from video footage collected through both the Istanbul MOBESE electronic surveillance network (4,000+ cameras throughout the city) and local security cameras. They later released photos to the public while urging every citizen to aid with the investigation. 

News agencies reported that the shooter had been identified as "Ogün Samast", a teenager born in 1990 and registered as residing in Trabzon.

Samast's father identified him from the publicly released photos and alerted the authorities. Six people, including Samast's friend Yasin Hayal, who had been involved in a bombing of a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon in 2004, were taken into custody and brought to Istanbul.

On 25 July 2011 Samast was convicted of murder and possession of arms by the Heavy Juvenile Criminal Court. He was sentenced to 22 years and 10 months in prison.

On 16 January 2012 Istanbul 14. Heavy Criminal Court ruled that there was no conspiracy behind the assassination and stated that the murder was an ordinary killing. Yasmin Hayal was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, while two other men were found guilty of assisting him and sentenced to 12 years and 6 months in prison."

In 2013 a secret witness told prosecutors of JITEM and Gendarmerie involvement in Dink's murder.

On 12 January 2015, arrest warrants were issued for two police officers, making them the first public servants arrested in the investigation.

A Turk convicted of aiding and abetting the murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink has begun serving his prison sentence after years on the run. Ahmet Iskender was found guilty by an Istanbul court in 2012 of helping the ultranationalist Ogün Samast, who was convicted of the murder of Armenian paper Agos editor-in-chief Hrant Dink. Iskender received twelve and a half years in prison because he disposed of the murder weapon, gave the assassin money and provided him with his telephone. This sentence was confirmed by the Turkish Court of Cassation in 2013. In 2019, he was given another two years in prison for membership of an armed terrorist organization.

However, Ahmet Iskender, who was arrested together with the assassin and three other accomplices a few days after the murder of Hrant Dink on January 24, 2007, had already absconded abroad shortly after his release from custody in July of the same year. In 2015, it emerged that he was staying in Belgium. In early March, the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry then announced that it had apprehended Ahmet Iskender in the capital Bishkek on February 26. The 38-year-old used a forged identity card and driver's license to identify himself and was subsequently arrested for illegal possession of weapons, organized crime and document forgery.