An Istanbul court has ruled that Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was murdered upon the orders and goals of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
The court, in its justified decision of the ruling issued on March 26, said that the murder committed in 2007 was planned step by step by Gülen's network, which is officially called the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Dink, who was the editor-in-chief of Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, was shot dead outside his office in Şişli by then 17-year-old Ogün Samast on Jan. 19, 2007. After the murder, tens of thousands gathered in central Istanbul to mourn.
A total of 78 suspects, of whom 26 were handed sentences, were being tried in the case, including Gülen, prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, journalists, former gendarmerie and police officers.
Two people were sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment, two others were handed life in jail and the rest were sentenced to prison. The court separated the files of 13 fugitive suspects, including Gülen, on the grounds that their defense statements were not delivered.
In the 4,532-page justified decision, the court said that the murder was committed in line with the goals of the Gülenists, who tampered with evidence and hid reports.
The suspects within the police and gendarmerie forces didn't give necessary intelligence to their superiors and those under their command reconnoitered Dink's house, the court said.
Among those convicted by the court on March 26 former police intelligence chief Ali Fuat Yılmazer received a jail sentence without parole for murder. Another police chief, Ramazan Akyürek, was also handed a life sentence.
The Gülen movement was previously an ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Their relations soured in 2013 following a graft probe targeting ministers and figures close to the government.