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Last Updated: Monday, 1 October 2007, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Dink suspect 'was high on drugs'
Suspect Ogun Samast (left). File photo
Ogun Samast has reportedly confessed to killing Mr Dink
A Turkish teenager accused of killing Hrant Dink has told a court in Istanbul he was high on drugs when he shot the Turkish-Armenian journalist in January.

Ogun Samast said he had been "scared" into pulling the trigger by some of the 18 alleged accomplices in the dock, a lawyer for Mr Dink's family said.

The murder of Mr Dink, 53, triggered widespread anger and shock in Turkey.

His family has accused the authorities of collusion, and the court is considering allegations of a cover-up.

On Saturday, Turkish media aired a recording of a telephone conversation between one of the suspects and a police officer that suggested the police knew about a plan to kill the journalist and may have been able to prevent it.

The court indictment also states that one of the defendants was a police informant who twice told the police of a plot to kill Mr Dink.


In Monday's court session, held behind closed doors because Mr Samast is a minor, the teenager said he regretted killing Mr Dink because the journalist had a family, according to Bulent Akbay, a lawyer representing Mr Dink's relatives.

Hrant Dink, in November 2006
Hrant Dink was one of Turkey's most prominent Armenian voices

Mr Samast said he had taken Ecstasy tablets and other drugs beforehand and claimed he was intimidated into carrying out the murder by two of the other defendants, Mr Akbay said.

A defence lawyer, Fuat Turgut, confirmed the teenager had testified to taking drugs.

The 17-year-old teenager from the town of Trabzon is believed to have been a member of a Turkish ultra-nationalist group led by two of the defendants, Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel.

Mr Dink was a hate figure for hard-line nationalists and had received multiple death threats.

He was well-known for writing articles about the mass killing of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 - a very controversial issue in Turkey.

Armenians have campaigned for the killings to be recognised internationally as genocide - and some countries have done so.

Turkey admits that many Armenians were killed but it denies any genocide, saying the deaths happened during widespread fighting in World War I.

Q&A: Armenian 'genocide'
12 Oct 06 |  Europe
Obituary: Hrant Dink
19 Jan 07 |  Europe

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