‘Punishing Dink murderer just the tip of the iceberg’

Friday, October 05 2007 @ 11:55 am UTC

Capturing and Istanbul office in January would only eliminate the "tip of an iceberg," a German politician has said, calling for a thorough investigation into the murder and removal of the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), under which Dink had faced trial for "insulting Turkishness."
Claudia Roth
Claudia Roth said her presence at the second hearing of the Dink murder trial earlier this week was first of all "a matter of solidarity to support his family and friends."
Beyond that, she said “it was a political signal. We have to show that we will not forget what happened. Europe is closely watching how the investigation proceeds and takes this as a first test for the government to show how serious they really take their promises.”

Roth, co-chairperson of the German Alliance ‘90/Green Party and deputy chair of the German-Turkish Parliamentary Friendship Group, was in Turkey to attend the trial and meet with Turkish leaders, including President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was re-elected to power in the July 22 elections.

A 17-year-old suspect, identified as O.S., has confessed to killing Dink on Jan. 19. But controversy over the case continues to grow, with critics complaining of a state cover-up and judicial negligence in finding and punishing possible accomplices within the police department. Audio recordings of a phone conversation between a police officer and one of the key suspects in the crime, suggesting that the police officer was aware of the planned killing, were released by Turkish media over the weekend, but authorities refused to allow an investigation into the police officer concerned.

Punishing O.S. would mean “just eliminating the tip of the iceberg,” Roth said in an interview with Today’s Zaman. “But as we all know, the Titanic didn’t sink because of that top. Rather it was due to what was hidden below the water’s surface. It is necessary to illuminate the background, to reach the actual wirepuller behind this abhorrent crime.”

Roth is convinced that a “deep state” -- referring to shadowy elements of the state cooperating with criminal gangs in order to “protect the interests of the state” -- was involved in the crime, citing media reports that showed police officials in O.S.’s hometown of Trabzon were aware of the crime long before it took place. “The ‘deep state’ is not just a conspiracy theory, but [it] really exists. Turkish security institutions and judicial apparatuses need to be cleansed of such elements by someone who will act in this task decisively and adamantly,” she said. “Otherwise it will undermine this country one day.”

According to the German politician, if there is any positive thing about the Dink murder, it is that it showed removal of Article 301 of the TCK is now a matter of urgency. Roth, after meeting with Prime Minister Erdoğan on Wednesday evening, said he told her Article 301 would be changed.

“Turkey has to understand that freedom of speech and press is one of the most urgent preconditions for any democratic society and a developing civility,” she said, emphasizing that the government has no excuse after its election victory on July 22 and the election of Gül as president in August. “With the government majority and the presidency in one hand, it is time now to prove the true will to bring the necessary and essential reforms,” she remarked.

Responding to a question about those opposing Turkey’s EU membership, particularly French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Roth said she had been given homework by President Gül when they met in Ankara earlier this week, which is that she would raise her voice against anti-Turkey rhetoric, including that from Sarkozy. “And I promised to do my homework,” she stated.


German immigration law: ‘The topic is not yet finished’
German politician Claudia Roth expressed solidarity with Turks living in Germany in their opposition to a new immigration law that is considered discriminatory against Turks.

Roth, who has joined a Turkish boycott of an “integration summit” hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel in protest of the immigration law, said there was no doubt that the law was “discriminatory and not in accordance with human rights principles at all.”

The law makes it compulsory that future spouses can only come to Germany if they can prove knowledge of German, a rule that does not apply to Americans, Japanese or European Union citizens and seems to have been created with Turks in mind.

“We have to answer honestly the question of why these tightened rules are restricted to just some countries. The situation as it is now obviously [favors] a Japanese immigrant over a Turkish one. The topic is not yet finished -- also because the treatment of this matter is just a mirror reflecting the question of what kind of country Germany wants to be,” Roth explained.

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