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Police destroy file on Dink murder suspect
The police file on a prime suspect in the murder case of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink has been destroyed on grounds that the file was a “state secret,” the private NTV station reported on Wednesday.

Erdal Doğan, lawyer for Dink’s family
The İstanbul court, which is currently trying 19 suspects in the murder of Dink, who was shot outside his newspaper’s office by an ultranationalist teenager in January of this year, had not demanded to see the police files on Erhan Tuncel, a former police informant facing trial for having incited the gunman to kill Dink. The court’s request was turned down by the Intelligence Department, where Tuncel’s file is stored, which said the document was destroyed to protect state secrets.

The prosecutors carrying out the investigation had seen the police file on Tuncel, a former informant who worked for the Trabzon police. However, the file was apparently destroyed before the court had a chance to see the document. Erdal Doğan, a lawyer representing the Dink family, said this was a “legal scandal.” The court denied Doğan’s request for the file a second time, saying it was “confidential.” Doğan said their demands would continue. “This secret cannot be hidden from the court even though it is a state secret. This is a violation of the Law of Procedures,” he said.

Prior to the second hearing of the trial, which was on Monday, tape recordings of a phone conversation between police officer Muhittin Zenit and Tuncel were leaked to the media. The conversation suggests that Zenit knew about the plot to murder Dink earlier. However, the request of Dink’s family lawyers to start an investigation into police officer Zenit in Monday’s hearing was overruled, the report said.

The controversy over Tuncel’s file is likely to deepen concerns over a possible cover-up by state authorities in the murder. Dink’s lawyers have complained that the murder has not been properly investigated and have expressed fears for the independence of the court, reflecting concerns about the possible involvement of Turkey’s so-called “deep state.” The “deep state” is a term coined to describe hard-line nationalists in the bureaucracy and security forces who are prepared to subvert the law for their own political ends.

There were also reports in the Turkish press suggesting that the teenager accused of killing Dink, identified as O.S., was probably attempting to mislead the judges in hopes of winning a reduction in his sentence when he told the court during Monday’s hearing that he regretted his actions and claimed he had carried out the slaying under the influence of drugs.

Blood tests taken immediately after his arrest less than 24 hours after the murder revealed that he had not taken drugs prior to the crime, the reports said.


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