Top prosecutor on Gezi Park case criminalizes commemoration of Hrant Dink's death anniversary

In the written opinion of the Gezi Park trial, the Court of Cassation chief prosecutor has considered the discussions of defendants regarding the commemorations of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink’s death as an element of crime. The Dink family has expressed their resentment to the opinion.

Duvar English

In the written opinion presented by the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office of the Court of Cassation in the Gezi Park trial, the telephone conversations made by the defendant Çiğdem Mater regarding the commemoration of the murdered Armenian journalist Hrant Dink's death anniversary were considered as an element of crime, according to reporting of daily Agos

In the written opinion, the telephone conversation between Mater and another defendant, Can Atalay, on Jan. 14, 2014, was included. During the conversation, Mater asked Atalay whether a call should be made for the commemoration of Hrant Dink, and they exchanged information regarding a meeting to be held before the commemoration.

Çiğdem Mater

Mater also asked for a budget for the commemoration in his call with fellow defendant Osman Kavala; Kavala replied that “something could be arranged.”

The prosecutor claimed that these conversations is an evidence for “the continuous transfer of money from the Open Society Foundation to Anadolu Kültür Association during the Gezi protests,” and added, “This process was carried out in cooperation, and the defendant Can Atalay was aware of the whole process."

Osman Kavala (L) and Can Atalay (R)

The Dink family on July 13 made a statement on the issue and expressed their discomfort about the criminalization of the commemorations for Hrant Dink.

“Çiğdem Mater is one of our friends who was always with us before and after the murder of our Hrant, and who put in the most effort. Osman Kavala is also one of our friends who has been with us from the beginning of the process with his labor, humanity, and material and moral support,” the family stated. 

Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of Agos Newspaper, was shot dead 16 years ago on Jan. 19 in front of the newspaper building in Istanbul by then 17-year-old Ogün Samast.

In April 2022, a Turkish court sentenced Mater, Atalay, Mücella Yapıcı, Hakan Altınay, Mine Özerden, Tayfun Kahraman and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi to 18 years in jail for aiding the alleged attempt to overthrow the government during the 2013 Gezi Protests. Human rights defender Kavala, on the other hand, was sentenced to life imprisonment as he faced the charge of “attempting to abolish the government.” 

In the ongoing trial at the Court of Cassation, the prosecutor has demanded the approval of convictions of all Gezi Park defendants except Yapıcı.