Sevag’s Murderer Released While Trial Continues
DIYARBEKIR, Turkey (A.W.)—On Oct. 7, a Diyarbekir court will hear the testimony of Melani Kumruyan, the fiancé of 25-year-old Sevag Sahin Balikci, the Turkish Armenian soldier shot dead on April 24, 2011, on the commemoration day of the Armenian Genocide.
Although the case is ongoing, on July 29, the judge released suspect Kivanc Agaoglu, stating he believed the suspect would not flee. During the 13-hour-long session, a high-ranking military officer testified in court and revealed that following the incident, one eyewitness had come forward and stated he had overheard the suspect tell the victim, “I will kill you, fatty!” (“Seni vururum tombulum,” in Turkish). That witness, however, gave a different account to the court. Two other witnesses also changed their stories.
Agaoglu claims the shooting was an accident, that he, along with eight other soldiers, including Balikci, were fixing a barbed wire when it happened. According to Agaoglu, he had loaded his gun for “my and my friends’ security”—Balikci’s lawyer, Cem Halavurt, has pointed that in the absence of a higher ranking official, loading a gun violates military rules—and when he lowered his gun to put it down, the gun fired and shot Balikci, who was standing on the other side of the barbed fence, one to two meters away from Agaoglu.
Another soldier, Halil Eksi, presented a different account. He said the men were working in a cheerful environment, when Agaoglu suddenly lifted his gun and aimed it at Balikci. The gun fired, and the bullet entered Balikci’s abdomen on the right and exited on the left side.
The prosecution is demanding a nine-year prison term for the “accidental” murder of Balikci. The victim’s family, however, insists the murder was deliberate.
Sevag Sahin Balikci, a graduate from Istanbul Technical University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, was 23 days away from being discharged from the army.