Eighteen men have gone on trial in Istanbul in connection with the murder of ethnic Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink. The trial is throwing the spotlight on Turkey’s justice system and the issue of freedom of speech. Dink had angered hardline nationalists over comments about the killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915.
The Dink family’s lawyer says they continue to doubt whether the trial can be fair. They also demand that “control over the legal system be removed”. Supporters of Dink have complained that death threats against him were not taken seriously enough by the authorities. There have also been accusations that people in positions of power may be implicated in the killing, claims denied by officials.
Dink was shot outside his Istanbul office in January. A 17-year-old man later confessed to the killing. As the trial opened against him and his alleged accomplices, about a thousand protesters gathered outside the court demanding a fair trial. Security was tight, with about 500 extra police officers drafted in.