Samast, 17, was arrested on Saturday and confessed to the murder in an initial interrogation in Samsun before he and several other suspects were transferred to Istanbul, the state news agency Anatolian said.

 

Police declined to comment, but said interrogations in Istanbul were continuing.

 

Genocide dispute

 

Dink, editor of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, was shot dead in the street as he left his office on Friday in a killing which has shocked Turkey.

 

Last year Turkey's highest court upheld a six-month suspended jail sentence against Dink for referring in an article to an Armenian nationalist idea of ethnic purity without Turkish blood.

 

Dink, 52, was a Christian of Armenian descent. He was frequently criticised by Turkish nationalists, including senior politicians and prosecutors, for saying the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during the first world war was genocide.

 

Nationalists see such comments as a threat to national unity. The government of Turkey, which is predominantly Muslim, denies that genocide was committed and says Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks died in large numbers as the Ottoman Empire was breaking up.