ISTANBUL - A Turkish court convicted one man on Tuesday of instigating the 2007 murder of a prominent editor, but acquitted all 19 suspects on charges of being members of a terrorist organization, rejecting claims the murder was an act of conspiracy by an illegal network within the Turkish state.
The verdict was met with outrage by relatives and supporters of Hrant Dink, an ethnic Armenian who edited a bilingual weekly in Turkish and Armenian called Agos and was a leading spokesman of the Armenian community in Turkey.
“This verdict is certification of the ongoing state tradition of political murders and its alienation of some citizens as the enemy,’’ Fethiye Cetin, a lawyer for the Dink family, told television reporters at the scene.
The trial did not involve the gunman who shot Dink outside his office on Jan. 19, 2007; he was convicted and sentenced separately last July. Rather, it turned on charges of a widespread conspiracy to terrorize and kill journalists for political reasons, and on the state’s negligence in failing to protect journalists.
The court Tuesday convicted Yasin Hayal and sentenced him to life in prison for his role in the murder, and as a lesser offense, for threatening another writer, the Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk. Both Pamuk and Dink spoke out about the killing of ethnic Armenians by the Ottoman army in the early 20th century.