BURSA - Anatolia News Agency

A Gendarmerie officer has denied charges of negligence in the case of a murdered newspaper editor. A colonel and former Trabzon Gendarmerie Regiment commander, known by the initials A.Ö., said he did not recall having prior knowledge of the assassination of Hrant Dink, Agos newspaper editor-in-chief.
It was adjudicated that an investigation would be launched against A.Ö. on the charge that he acted negligently in the murder case of Dink.
In accordance with the decision of Trabzon Second Court for Serious Crimes, A.Ö. giving a deposition at the Bursa First Court for Serious Crimes as a witness, said he had inspected subsidiary units on Jan. 16 and Jan.17, 2007, with the Trabzon Gendarmerie regional commander. He said they had gone to Zigana Mountain on Jan. 20, 2007, met with the Gümüşhane regional commander, and spent the night there.
A.Ö. said Trabzon Gendarmerie Command Intelligence Department Director M.Y. had called him while they were in Zigana. He added, �He told me they had some information about the murder of Hrant Dink and asked me whether I would like them to send it. I told them to check and send it.�
The Trabzon police chief had called him the same day, said A.Ö., adding that a man named Ahmet Samast had told them that his son was the man that shot Dink. A.Ö. said, �Moreover, someone that called the 156 gendarmerie emergency hotline made the same denouncement. Upon this, I called the Intelligence Department director and Municipal Gendarmerie commander and ordered them to work in collaboration with the Police Department.� He added that he had later learned that the suspect was caught in Samsun. �Then the detectives arrived and necessary inquiries were made at our command. Before leaving, the detectives asked me for some information in sealed envelopes. I prepared and sent them this information,� said A.Ö.
After the reading of Gendarmerie Sgt. Maj. O.Ş. and Sgt. V.Ş.'s depositions A.Ö. said, �I do not remember receiving information prior to the incident as O.Ş. and V.Ş. have said. The issue was not brought up during the meeting. I honestly do not remember. If they had received such information, as these people have been trained on this topic, they should have known what to do. In the case such an issue is found out, it should immediately go on record. It is irrelevant whether it was brought up during the meeting.� He added that the personnel were responsible for informing the department director after the issue went on record. The department director would then take the issue to him, who would decide whether the information would be accepted and whether necessary measures would be taken. �Intelligence information goes on record before I receive it. This is the procedure,� he said.
Upon a question by the Dink family attorney Hakan Bakırcıoğlu as to whether A.Ö. knew Dink from before, A.Ö. said, �I knew neither Hrant Dink nor his newspaper before the incident. I was not informed.�