Agos | Killed in Istanbul, Turkey | January 19, 2007
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Dink's murder as an attack against Turkey's unity and promised to catch those responsible, according to international news reports. A day later, police arrested the alleged triggerman, 17-year-old Ogün Samast, who reportedly confessed to the crime. Erhan Tuncel and Yasin Hayal, described as ultranationalist Turks opposed to Dink's political views, were accused of conspiring with Samast to carry out the murder. In all, 19 people went on trial beginning in July.
In the last 15 years, 18 other Turkish journalists have been killed for their work, many of them murdered, making it the eighth-deadliest country in the world for journalists, CPJ research shows. The last killing was in 1999. More recently, journalists, academics, and others have been subjected to pervasive legal harassment for statements that allegedly insult the Turkish identity, CPJ research shows.
Dink, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, had been prosecuted several times in recent years-for writing about the mass killings of Armenians by Turks at the beginning of the 20th century, for criticizing lines in the Turkish national anthem that he considered discriminatory, and even for commenting publicly on the court cases against him. His office had also been the target of protests.
In July 2006, Turkey's High Court of Appeals upheld a six-month suspended prison sentence against Dink for violating Article 301 of the penal code in a case sparked by complaints from nationalist activists. His prosecution stemmed from a series of articles in early 2004 dealing with the collective memory of the Armenian massacres of 1915-17 under the Ottoman Empire. Armenians call the killings the first genocide of the 20th century, a term that Turkey rejects.
Ironically, the pieces for which Dink was convicted had urged diaspora Armenians to let go of their anger against the Turks. The prosecution was sharply criticized by the European Union, which Turkey has sought to join. Dink said he would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, to clear his name.
Dink edited Agos for all of the newspaper's 11-year existence. Agos, the only Armenian newspaper in Turkey, had a circulation of just 6,000, but its political influence was vast. Dink regularly appeared on television to express his views.
In a February 2006 interview with CPJ, Dink said that he hoped his critical reporting would pave the way for peace between the two peoples. "I want to write and ask how we can change this historical conflict into peace," he said.
In the interview, Dink said he did not think the tide had yet turned in favor of critical writers-"the situation in Turkey is tense"-but he believed that it ultimately would. "I believe in democracy and press freedom. I am determined to pursue the struggle." Source
Thousands marched for slain journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul
Thousands of protesters marked the 12th anniversary of a Turkish-Armenian journalist's murder on Saturday as outrage continues to grow over a trial which failed to shed light on alleged official negligence or even collusion, Turkish news site Diken reported.
19 January 2019:
Turkish parliament rejects inquiry on Hrant Dink murder three days before anniversary
Turkey’s parliament this week voted against a parliamentary inquiry to shed light on the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink who was killed on Dec. 19, 2007.
Dink, the editor in chief of Agos newspaper and an advocate of reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, was shot dead outside his office by then-teenager Ogün Samast who defines himself as Turkish nationalist. More than 100,000 people marched in the funeral procession for Dink.
"We are all Armenians," chanted mourners in an extraordinary show of affection for the journalist. This year, thousands are expected to gather anew on Jan. 19 outside the Agos offices on the 12th anniversary of his assassination
Dink was often critical of both Turkey's denial that the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman forces during World War One constituted genocide and the Armenian diaspora's campaign for its international recognition.
The journalist was prosecuted three times for denigrating Turkish nation and received numerous death threats from Turkish nationalists after a series of articles he wrote on Armenian identity.
"I feel like a pigeon," Dink wrote in his last article published the day he was gunned down. “Like a pigeon I wander uneasily amidst this city, watching my back constantly, so timid and yet, so free.”
Garo Paylan, Armenian member of parliament for the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) read out that article, before his motion for the inquiry was put to the vote on Thursday.
Hosrof Dink said 12 years ago he felt nervous after reading the same article and tried to reach his brother Hrant. Hours later, Hosrof Dink received a call to tell him that Hrant Dink had been shot.
When Dink was murdered, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the prime minister at the time and now president, promised the "murder would not be lost in the dark tunnels of Ankara”. Twelve years later, the trial of police officers charged with complicity in the killing still drags on.
The Dink murder case is one of the most visible and critical political trials to take place in Turkey in recent years. But the investigation into alleged police involvement in Dink’s murder appears to have become victim to political infighting.
Prosecutors first linked the killing to a secularist-nationalist conspiracy dubbed Ergenekon. That case was dismissed in 2014 after the break-up of the Islamist alliance between Erdoğan and followers of the Gülen movement that the government says went on to carry out an attempted coup in 2016.
The Ergenekon conspiracy appears to have been made up by prosecutors loyal to Fethullah Gülen, the reclusive U.S.-based leader of the Gülen movement, as a way of sidelining secular opponents in the military and civilian establishment.
Now the original judges and the police in the case have been charged with being members of the Gülen movement and a new set of prosecutors are investigating possible links between the killers and the Gülenists. Critics fear those really responsible will evade justice.
"We don't expect justice. Eventually, some will be imprisoned, stay behind bars for tens of years and then be released. This is not justice for us," Hosrof Dink said. He said a culture of coexistence was impossible, without confronting the crimes in the past.
“For us justice means the democratisation of Turkey. To prevent another murder of such a mentality,” he said.
Yet rights campaigners say that in the last 12 years Turkey has further drifted away from democratic values.
Hrant’s family and friends have worked tirelessly to keep Dink’s memory alive and to keep public attention on the murder case.
The Hrant Dink Association, established after his death, has become one of the leading organisations in Turkey working for peace and reconciliation. The association is nowadays busy with transforming the old offices of the Agos newspaper into a memory site, a museum, scheduled to open in April under the name “23.5 Hrant Dink Memorial Site”.
The name comes from an article Dink wrote in 1996 entitled “23.5 April” which said Turkey was psychologically stuck between National Sovereignty and Children's Day on April 23 and Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on April 24.
Similar to other memorial sites in the world, the Dink memorial will also function as a reminder of complicated, violent pasts, traumas and crimes against humanity.
"There is no revenge, no grudge, but confrontation. We must leave our agendas behind and take the truth as a reference. We must create the language of peace hand in hand for the happiness of humanity without asking for any material interest," said Hosrof Dink.
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