ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A Turkish appeals court on Wednesday ruled that the killers of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink did not act alone but were part of a criminal conspiracy, paving the way for a retrial of the case that has gripped the nation for years.
Judges in Ankara overturned a lower criminal court's 2012 judgment that only two people, now serving prison sentences, were behind the 2007 murder, Fethiye Cetin, a lawyer for the Dink family, told Reuters.
"We have strong evidence that state officials were involved in the conspiracy, and that evidence is even in the prosecutor's report... Prosecutors must re-open the case," said Cetin.
Dink was gunned down in broad daylight outside the office of his newspaper Agos in central Istanbul, unleashing huge street rallies and public outpourings of grief.
The killing led to suspicions of a deep-rooted conspiracy in a country that has seen dozens of political murders.
It also prompted criticism from the European Union, which Turkey hopes to join, on its treatment of minorities. Turkey's population of 76 million is overwhelmingly Muslim.
Dink, 52, was an outspoken critic of government policies towards the country's 60,000 or so Christian Armenians and its diplomatic standoff with neighboring Armenia.
(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Andrew Heavens)