Three gendarmerie officers were remanded in custody on Friday to stand trial in connection with the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, a judicial official said.
Brig. Gen. Hamza Celepoglu and two other officers -- Muharrem Demirkale and Yavuz Karakaya -- were remanded on charges of being members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group run by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen that is said to be behind planning the July 15 coup attempt.
They appeared before Istanbul’s 7th Court of Peace.
Nineteen suspects in the Dink case, which is being investigated by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, have now been remanded for trial, the official said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
Dink was murdered outside his office in Istanbul in January 2007. He was the founding editor of the Turkish-Armenian Agos weekly newspaper and was considered one of the most prominent Armenian voices in Turkey.
Ogun Samast, 17 at the time of the killing, claimed he murdered Dink for “insulting Turkishness” and was jailed for 23 years in 2011.
Since then, several prosecutors have taken on the investigation into whether Samast acted alone.
In July 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled the murder case had been an “ineffective investigation” and last December another indictment was filed calling for the prosecution of 26 former police officers on charges of establishing an armed organization and dereliction of duty.
Recently, the murder case has been expanded to the gendarmerie and fresh claims of links between the case and FETO have added a new dimension to the investigation.
Celepoglu was arrested last November in another high-profile case -- that of Turkish intelligence agency trucks stopped in Adana and Hatay provinces as they allegedly headed to Syria loaded with weapons in January 2014.