A Turkish court on Thursday decided to seize the assets of 12 fugitive suspects, including ringleader of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), in the 2007 murder case of a prominent Armenian-Turkish journalist unless they return to the country, according to a judicial source.

In its interlocutory decision on the case over the murder of Hrant Dink, the Heavy Penal Court no.14 in Istanbul ordered newspaper advertisements to be prepared for fugitives as well as to be posted to their addresses if there are, said the source on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The advertisements will notify the defendants about the seizure of their assets as they will be deemed fugitives if they do not return in 15 days.

The fugitives in question include FETO ringleader Fetullah Gulen, former prosecutor Zekeriya Oz, Adem Yavuz Arslan, Cosgun Cakar, Halil Ibrahim Koca, Mehmet Akif Yilmaz, Faruk Mercan, Metin Canbay, Omer Faruk Kartin, Serkan Sahan, Yilmaz Angin, and Yunus Yazar.

All of them are being sought with red notice, the source said.

The decision excluded another fugitive Ekrem Dumanli as his lawyer wanted to withdraw from the case. The court ordered appointment of a new lawyer for Dumanli.

Dink, then editor-in-chief of the Armenian-Turkish newspaper Agos, was gunned down outside his office on Jan. 19, 2007.

Dink case

The Istanbul court announced its verdict on the case on March 26, the defendants of which included former prosecutor Oz, journalists, gendarmerie and former security officers, as well as Gulen of FETO, which was behind a 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.

A total of 76 defendants, including six in custody and 13 fugitives, were tried as part of the case.

Former police chiefs Ramazan Akyurek and Ali Fuat Yilmazer were handed aggravated life sentences for premeditated murder, while former military officer Muharrem Demirkale was given two-times life sentence for both violating the Constitution and aiding premeditated murder.

Detained defendants Okan Simsek and Veysal Sahin received over 28 years in prison each for the charges of premeditated murder and forgery of an official document.

The court also sentenced Ercan Gun to a decade in prison for being a member of an armed terrorist organization, namely FETO, though he was found not guilty for violating the Constitution.

It also gave prison terms ranging from three years and four months to aggravated life sentences to 26 other defendants.

*Writing by Sena Guler in Ankara

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