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How unsolved murders serve power struggles in Turkey

High-profile trials and political murders have become tools in Turkey's power struggles, doubling also as a means to intimidate dissidents.
People gather on the spot, where Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was killed, during a commemoration to mark the 10th anniversary of his death, in Istanbul, Turkey, January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RTSW8WH

Illegal groups within the state, extrajudicial killings and political murders have been major topics on Turkey’s agenda during the past 15 years.

The issues date to the 1990s, when, at the height of the Kurdish conflict, rogue groups of soldiers, public servants and “confessors” — former Kurdish militants who became collaborators — embarked on a spree of summary executions of Kurdish civilians, including politicians and businessmen, in the name of “fighting terrorism.” The aim was to control Kurdish cities through bloodshed, coercion and intimidation. Occasionally, some of the perpetrators were caught red-handed and charged, while a few scapegoats were also convicted, with their atrocities played down as isolated incidents.

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