THE DOVES ARE NO LONGER SAFE IN TURKEY
Editorial 3-19 March 2016
By Edmond Y. Azadian
Hrant Dink, the courageous journalist who believed that he could
promote democracy in Turkey by getting the people to face the dark
history of that country, was assassinated on January 19, 2007 in
front of the editorial offices of Agos, the bilingual weekly which
he had founded with the hope of engaging Turks and Armenians in a
He used to believe that Armenians in Istanbul lead a very isolated
life and that if those in Turkey knew the Armenians better, all
prejudices would vanish.
By the same token, by exposing facts about the Armenian Genocide, he
believed that he was not only serving a historic truth, but that he
was also promoting human rights to cleanse Turkey of its grisly past,
and pave the way for democracy.
In view of his bold statements about Turkey's human rights abuses and
denial of the Armenian Genocide, people were always worried about his
security. He, however, always comforted them, believing that Turkish
society was changing and maturing. He also believed that he was
living like a dove and people always protected doves. Unfortunately,
he was wrong.
In the process of the investigation of Dink's murder, a document
dating back to 1997 has surfaced labeled "confidential." In addition to
Dink's name, the name of the then-vicar of the Armenian Patriarchate
of Istanbul, Mesrob Mutafyan, was also used. The document stated,
"an individual named Firant Dink is among our targets due to his
pro-Armenian activities. He is the editor-in-chief of Agos periodical,
published in Istanbul by Armenians and is in close ties with the
vicar of the Patriarchate, Mesrob Archbishop Mutafyan, famous for
his Armenian nationalist inclinations."
It turns out that the "deep state" in Turkey had targeted Hrant Dink
long ago, as revealed by recent court documents.
Indeed, in October 2014, Istanbul's 5th High Criminal Court made a
decision to begin Hrant Dink's trial from zero. Prosecutor Gokalp
Kokcu filed a lawsuit against 26 former and current officials who
are believed to be implicated in the assassination.
Contrary to the statement in the above documents, Dink and the
Patriarch were never close and their antagonism toward each other was
very public. Only after Dink's assassination did the Patriarch realize
how close their destinies had been and he tearfully acknowledged that
fact in his eulogy at Dink's funeral.
It almost feels like that moment was the beginning of the end for
Perhaps it would be impossible to prove medically that Patriarchy
Mesrob developing dementia at a relatively young age was the result
of the fear he experienced after so many death threats and actual
bombs thrown at his headquarters in Kumkapu.
At this time, the Patriarch has been reduced to a shell of his
former shelf. An Istanbul court recently appointed the Patriarch
's 78-year-old mother, Mari Mutafyan, as his custodian. She will be
entitled to represent her son by court order.
In the meantime, the Patriarch's health has put the Armenian community
in an impasse. The Turkish authorities cynically do not allow for
the election of a new Patriarch as long as the incumbent is alive,
never mind that he is in a vegetative state.
In any civilized country, such religious matters would be handled by
the respective community it is affecting, but not in Turkey.
The fear that pushed the Patriarch over the edge and into his current
state is shared by the entire Armenian community in Turkey and that
fear is fanned by the government itself.
In a recent press conference in Armenia, a specialist in Turkish
studies, Tiran Lokmagyozyan, stated: "Armenians have double fear in
such cases. The first one is that the security of the state is under
threat. In addition, there are individual fears for being Armenian .
It is a well-known fact that whenever such incidents take place in
Turkey, minorities, including Armenians, become the first target. We
witnessed that when Turkey took measures against the Kurds, the name of
the Armenians was heard more often, as if the battle was against the
Armenians in the first place. The police made announcements through
loudspeakers calling Kurds Armenians to insult them."
No only do the police use the name of Armenians as an insult, but
officials, beginning with the prime minister himself, Ahmet Davutoglu,
justify also the Genocide, which at last count, they had said they
did not commit. In a recent speech decrying the Kurds, who had opened
an office in Moscow, Davutoglu said that the Kurds are colluding with
Russians as "Armenian gangs did during World War I."
Armenians have always lived in fear for a reason. The Turkish
government has regularly encouraged the hatred and distrust of
Armenians and from time to time, has terrorized them officially,
even after the Genocide. In 1942, they instituted the confiscatory
"wealth tax" (varlik vergisi) to bankrupt the community and to send
affluent Armenians to the labor camp of Askale, where many perished
under harsh conditions.
The pogrom of September 6-7, 1955, was directed against the Greeks,
while Armenians would also share their plight.
The pogrom was instigated by a false-flag operation concocted by
Ankara to incite the mob. Turkish agents were sent to Salonika to
bomb the house where Ataturk had been born. That was enough cause to
begin a rampage in Istanbul against Greeks and Armenians.
The Turks are masters of such intrigues; during the war in Syria, a
plot was discovered, whereby the head of the Turkish security services
(MIT), Fidan Hakan, was ready to bomb the tomb of the father of Fatih
Sultan Muhammed (the conqueror of Byzantium) in Syria to justify
Even recent bombings in Ankara are believed to be false-flag
operations to justify the murderous rampage against the Kurds in the
country's eastern region or Western Armenia. Although Prime Minister
Davutoglu said that his government was "almost certain" that this
week's explosion was the work of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK),
the facts suggest otherwise. Indeed, a news item which was published
in Nokta newspaper on March 13 states: "It appears that the Turgev
Foundation established by President Erdogan and his family had already
sent a message to its members BEFORE the Ankara bombing around noon,
warning them to stay away from the bombed area. So the governing
party had warnings about the bomb but shared the information with
'his' people rather than all his citizens."
Turkey has become a dangerous place. Mr. Erdogan has unleashed the
violence, with the hope and belief that he can control it to the
After the most recent Ankara bombing, President Obama repeated his
mantra that the US will stand by Turkey, however, no word or concern
was expressed about the victims of the government onslaught.
Criticism in the western press is getting louder and louder, asking
the West to abandon Turkey as a NATO ally. One of the last such
articles was signed by Dough Saunders in Toronto's Globe and Mail,
with the following conclusion: "Mr. Erdogan has destroyed the unified
and open Turkey he earlier helped create. And he has done so using the
tools not just of an authoritarianism but now by silencing the media,
of totalitarianism. It is time to stop treating Turkey as an ally,
but as a country that has stepped beyond the pale."
To figure out the irony of the situation, it suffices to refer to
a news item which reports that Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin met
with Armenian, Jewish, Greek and Muslim religious leaders and at
the conclusion of that meeting he said to them that Istanbul has
been a city where people from different religions live and that all
the religious communities have been living in peace "in the city of
harmony and fellowship."
And this, when the eastern region of the country is a war zone,
where Kurds cannot rescue even their dead from the streets and when
the minorities are stricken by fear in the entire country.
Had Hrant Dink been warned early enough that the doves are no longer
safe in Turkey, perhaps he would be alive today.
Assassination Of Hrant Dink
Posted 16 March 2016 - 10:39 AM
THE DOVES ARE NO LONGER SAFE IN TURKEY
Posted 27 April 2016 - 10:39 AM
Hrant Dink: An Armenian voice of the voiceless in Turkey
18:45, 27 Apr 2016
By Thomas de Waal
“After a decade of unprecedented opening up to the world, Turkey is
closing down again. Journalists and academics are persecuted.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has gone to war once more with the
militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), disavowing a peace
process he himself launched. Erdoğan rails against so-called
terrorists in language reminiscent of the military men of the 1980s he
fought hard to weaken, labeling almost anyone who sympathizes with the
Kurdish cause a terrorist by association.
It is all a painful contrast with the first years of Erdoğan’s
leadership in the mid-2000s, when there was talk of minority rights,
media freedom, and EU accession. The regression of the last decade can
be summed up as Turkey’s leaders spurning the legacy of Hrant Dink.
One day in Istanbul a little over nine years ago, there was a moment
of tragedy that also said much about the hopes of that period. Hrant
Dink, an Armenian-Turkish editor and civil rights leader, was
assassinated on January 19, 2007, by a teenage nationalist radical.
Four days later, in revulsion at the killing, thousands of ordinary
Turkish citizens marched through Istanbul in Dink’s funeral procession
carrying placards that read “We are all Hrant Dink” and “We are all
It was not just a popular outcry. Erdoğan strongly condemned the
assassination, and Turkish ministers attended the funeral. Ahmet
Davutoğlu, now Turkey’s prime minister, has consistently praised Dink
as a man of courage and peace.
Yet now, Davutoğlu’s government is not only fighting the Kurds again
but also laying claim to the Armenian church in the Kurdish-majority
city of Diyarbakır, which the local municipality had restored to the
Armenian community as a place of worship.
Repressive policies against the Kurds mirror policies of intolerance
practiced throughout the history of the Turkish Republic against the
country’s much smaller Christian minorities: the remaining Armenians,
Assyrians, and Greeks who survived the campaigns by the last Ottoman
regime to destroy them.
In Turkey (and not just there), an unexamined past legitimizes an
intolerant present. Dink did more than any single individual to tackle
the injustices of both past and present. He seized the moment to speak
up for Istanbul’s tiny and timid Armenian minority—and not only for
them. Straightforward, eloquent, and courageous, he encapsulated
thoughts that others could not utter—or were too afraid to—while all
the time understanding Turkey’s vulnerabilities as well. On the legacy
of the 1915Armenian Genocide, for example, he memorably said, “Turks
and Armenians and the way they see each other constitute two clinical
cases: Armenians with their trauma, Turks with their paranoia.”
Dink was a hero in Turkey. Now, finally, the English-language reader
gets to read about him, with the publication of the English version of
Tuba Çandar’s magnificent 2010 biography.
The English subtitle is An Armenian Voice of the Voiceless in Turkey.
Çandar’s brilliant method is to make this a book of voices. It is a
sound tapestry consisting of dozens of voices of Dink’s family,
friends, and colleagues, a biography as a polyphonic oral history.
Dink’s personal evolution proceeds in parallel with a history of
modern Turkey. The book begins with the austerity of provincial life
in the 1950s. Dink comes of age as a leftist amid the turbulence of
the political clashes of the 1970s. He, along with many other civil
rights activists, is jailed and tortured after Turkey’s 1980 coup
d’état. Here, the polyphony becomes a cacophony as Dink and his
cellmates take part in what he calls a “magnificent toilet choir” in
jail, singing the Turkish national anthem loudly to avoid a beating
from the guards.
The English-language reader can get lost, even when provided with a
glossary and chronology and despite a beautiful translation by Maureen
Freely. The blizzard of names and references is hard to navigate for
anyone unfamiliar with the story of modern Turkey.
But it is worth sticking with. Dink’s personal life story is worthy of
a nineteenth-century novel. He was a street child, student, radical,
father, prisoner, businessman, gambler. All of these vividly humanize
the hero before the reader comes to his public persona as the editor
of the Armenian-Turkish newspaper Agos.
Agos was more than just a newspaper. It was also, as one voice in the
book says, “a civil society hub” and, as one chapter calls it, a
“world” in which many people were able to express for the first time
the issues that concerned them.
In Çandar’s book, a fellow Istanbul Armenian, Etyen Mahçupyan, says:
Doors opened in both print and broadcast media, paving the way for a
living debate on identity. And through those doors came Hrant, with
his warm, sincere voice. And he made the Armenian issue into something
that people could hear. By now, he occupied the far-seeing
perspectives of a multicultural world of multiple identities. During
those last few years, he was no longer talking about the Armenian
issue. He spoke out about the Alevis and the Kurds. He was on the side
of the girls wearing headscarves when universities refused to admit
them on account of their headscarves.
As Dink foresaw, Turkey’s retreat from democracy has also diminished
the Turkish state’s willingness to come to terms with its history and
with the minorities who suffered from that history. That in turn has
hardened parts of the Armenian diaspora against Turkey and perpetuates
a cause that exasperated Dink: the international recognition of
genocide. In his view, battering Turkey from abroad on the Armenian
issue had little effect, and he commented, “I have a hard time
accepting the imprisonment of human experience inside a legal term
[genocide] that is itself designed to produce a political outcome.”
For Dink, having one foot in the Turkish world and one in the Armenian
world was an awkward privilege. One of the voices in the book
recounts, “Sometimes, he reminded me of a child struggling to find a
way to bring together two sides of an estranged family.” Çandar’s book
is a reminder of how badly that vision is missed inTurkey.
Posted 12 August 2016 - 09:39 AM
All of a sudden they found out the people who killed Hrant, since they are connected to Gulenists. They knew all along but protected them!
Aug 10 2016
Former gendarmerie officer arrested in connection to murder of Hrant Dink
The lengthy trial into 2007 murder of prominent Turkish Armenian
journalist Hrant Dink continues, with new hearings focusing on
allegations that intelligence and gendarmerie officers covered up
evidence. A former non-commissioned officer in the gendarmerie, a
paramilitary unit responsible for security predominantly in rural
areas, was arrested yesterday, while the ninth hearing in the trial is
Dink was gunned down in 2007 by a 17-year-old teenager in Istanbul
outside the office of Agos, a Turkish-Armenian weekly where he was
editor-in-chief. His murder was blamed on ultranationalists, but a new
investigation has revealed that former police chiefs and gendarmerie
intelligence officers were aware of the murder plot and did not act to
prevent it. Those police chiefs, linked to the Gülenist terror cult,
were arrested on charges of cover-up and negligence. Gülenists are
accused of plotting the murder, in an attempt to blame it on critics
of the cult.
Non-commissioned officer Emre Cingöz, a former officer in a
gendarmerie intelligence unit, was detained along with four other
former officers. Other suspects were released under judicial
observation, while Cingöz was remanded to custody. The gendarmerie
intelligence officers are accused of involvement in a cover-up related
to Dink's murder. Ogün Samast, the convicted assassin of Hrant Dink,
was under surveillance by gendarmerie intelligence, and security
camera footage of the crime scene revealed intelligence officials were
present at the scene, both before and after murder.
Ali Fuat Yılmazer and Ramazan Akyürek, two former police chiefs who
served as senior officials in police intelligence, are the two most
prominent figures in the case. They are accused of having links to the
Gülenist terrorist cult, considered responsible for a string of
offenses from illegal wiretapping to sham trials to imprison their
critics, and finally the attempted coup on July 15.
Yesterday's hearing at an Istanbul court heard testimony from Ercan
Demir, a suspect released pending trial in an earlier hearing. Demir
was deputy police chief in charge of intelligence in Trabzon at the
time of the murder. Ogün Samast and two of his friends accused of
masterminding the murder plot lived in Trabzon. Samast's friends were
on police payroll as informants on the ultranationalist scene. Demir
denied charges that he ignored intelligence tips regarding Samast's
involvement in a murder plot. He insisted that the intelligence on the
plot was not covered up, but admitted the murder "happened anyway,"
and claimed that after intelligence reports, Dink should have been
granted protection in Istanbul.
Posted 12 August 2016 - 09:40 AM
Aug 11 2016
Five more gendarmerie officers arrested in Dink probe
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Five former gendarmerie intelligence officers have been arrested while
there others were freed on probation as part of the probe into the
2007 assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
The arrested suspects, all of whom were on duty in the northern
province of Trabzon at the time of Dink’s murder, are also facing
charges of attempting to abolish the constitutional order and
membership of an armed terrorist organization, as the Istanbul Peace
Court stated Volkan Şahin, Şeref Ateş, Okan Şimşek, Hüseyin Yılmaz and
Gazi Günay had contact with the prime suspect in Dink’s killing and
some had been spotted around Dink’s home and office some four months
before the incident, despite the fact none of them had any documents
showing they had been assigned to a post in the area.
In its arrest decision, the court also said that the suspects, along
with others, acted with common ideas and despite knowing that the
crime was going to be committed, acted to serve the murder in line
with the aims of the organization which was to seize the duties and
cadres of the Istanbul Police Department’s Intelligence Chief Bureau.
The arrests brought the number of gendarmerie officers arrested as
part of the probe to nine. Previously, Specialized Sgt. Abdullah Dinç,
former Specialized Gendarme Yusuf Bozca, former Trabzon Gendarmerie
Intelligence Chief Bureau Officer Ergün Yorulmaz and former Sgt. Emre
Cingöz had been arrested.
With the recent arrests of gendarmerie and security officers in the
probe, prosecutors also brought charges against the suspects related
to the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), as the prosecutor of
the probe, Gökalp Kürkçü, said in one of his arrest demand letters
that it would be “far from a legal definition” to identify the acts of
the suspects as only membership or leadership of an armed terrorist
organization and participation in deliberate murder at the point
reached in the wake of the failed July 15 coup attempt, and that the
Dink murder was the “first bullet fired” in the process which led to
Dink, 52, was shot dead with two bullets to the head in broad daylight
outside the offices of Agos in central Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007.
Ogün Samast, then a 17-year-old jobless high-school dropout, confessed
to the murder and was sentenced to almost 23 years in jail in 2011.
But the case grew into a wider scandal after it emerged that security
forces had been aware of a plot to kill Dink but failed to act.
Relatives and followers of the case have long claimed government
officials, police, military personnel and members of Turkey’s National
Intelligence Agency (MİT) played a role in Dink’s murder by neglecting
their duty to protect the journalist.
Turkey’s top court in July 2014 ruled that the investigation into the
killing had been flawed, paving the way for the trial of police
Posted 08 September 2016 - 08:57 AM
The prosecutor in the case has accused the Fetullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) of staging the assassination.
In his demand for the arrest of the suspects, Dink probe prosecutor Gökalp Kökçü said it would be “far from a legal definition” to identify the acts of the suspects as mere membership or leadership in an armed terrorist organization in light of the failed July 15 coup attempt, which has been blamed on FETÖ. Kökçü claimed that the Dink murder was the “first bullet fired” on the road to the coup.
Dink, 52, was shot dead with two bullets to the head in broad daylight outside the offices of Agos in central Istanbul.
Samast, then a 17-year-old jobless high-school dropout, confessed to the murder and was sentenced to almost 23 years in jail in 2011.
But the case grew into a wider scandal after it emerged that security forces had been aware of a plot to kill Dink but failed to act.
Relatives and followers of the case have long claimed government officials, police, military personnel and members of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) played a role in Dink’s murder by neglecting their duty to protect the journalist.
Turkey’s top court in July 2014 ruled that the investigation into the killing had been flawed, paving the way for the trial of the police officials.
In January 2016, Supreme Court of Appeals ruled to tie the main case into Dink’s murder and prosecution into the public officers’ negligence to prevent the killing of Dink. Indictments for 26 people are now included in the merged case.
Posted 10 January 2017 - 09:02 AM
January 22, 2017 in Toronto
Hrant Dink was the most prominent advocate of mutual respect between Turkey's majority population and its minorities. He was assassinated in 2007 outside the Istanbul offices of Agos, the Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper that he edited.The keynote speaker will be Mr. Cem Özdemir, a German parliamentarian of Turkish descent. He was the driving force behind the German parliament’s Armenian Genocide resolution on June 2nd, 2016. Mr. Özdemir champions the cause of overcoming historical obstacles to eliminate the “us vs. them” mentality.
Özdemir's decision to present the bill in 2016 was influenced by the work of German scholar, Wolfgang Gust.
The Zoryan Institute partnered with Gust to collect, restore, translate and publish thousands of historical documents from the German Foreign Office Archive that revealed the extent of the Ottoman policy and planning of the 1915 Genocide. To learn more about the book or to purchase, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- MosJan likes this
Posted 17 January 2017 - 09:35 AM
January 16, 2017Cem Ozdemir to Deliver Keynote Addresses at Hrant Dink Commemorations in Canada
The co-leader of Germany’s Green Party Cem Ozdemir—a German Member of Parliament of Turkish origin and one of the initiators of the Armenian Genocide resolution that was approved by Germany’s Parliament (Bundestag) on June 2, 2016—will be the keynote speaker at events in Toronto and Montreal, commemorating the 10th anniversary of Turkish-Armenian editor, journalist and columnist Hrant Dink’s assassination.
Several community organizations in Toronto have come together for the past 10 years to remember the former editor-in-chief of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos and to honor his legacy.
Chair of the organizing committee Raffi Bedrosyan said that the commemorations are not merely a remembrance, but rather a way for the community to continue Dink’s pursuit for justice. “Remembering Hrant Dink on the anniversary of his assassination is not simply commemorating a slain Armenian journalist. By remembering, we continue his journey toward reconciliation and justice regarding the Armenian Genocide. We also help realize his vision of dialogue between Armenian and Turkish people—a dialogue that is based on truth and a common body of knowledge,” Bedrosian said.
Many influential figures have attended commemorations in Toronto honoring Dink over the years, including Turkish-German scholar Taner Akcam; lawyer, writer, and human rights activist Fethiye Cetin; and prominent Turkish journalist and writer Hasan Cemal. “These people share Hrant’s vision and break all taboos in Turkey. They stand against the denial of the truth about the Armenian Genocide,” Bedrosian explained.
Dink was assassinated outside of his Istanbul office on Jan. 19, 2007. He had written and spoken about the Armenian Genocide extensively, and was well known for his efforts for reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, as well as advocating for human and minority rights in Turkey. At the time of his murder, Dink was under prosecution for violating Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and “denigrating Turkishness.” His assassination sparked huge national protests and outrage both in Turkey and internationally.
This year’s keynote Cem Ozdemir was a leading force behind the German Parliament’s June 2016 resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide and acknowledging German responsibility in not preventing the genocide committed by Ottoman Turkey—Germany’s WWI ally. Born in Bad Urach, West Germany, Ozdemir is ethnically Turkish—his family emigrated from Turkey to Germany as “guest workers.”
Ozdemir delivered a passionate speech in the Bundestag prior to the Armenian Genocide vote, during which he directly addressed the Armenian guests attending the Bundestag’s session: “Just because we were complicit in this horrible crime in the past does not mean that we are going to side with the deniers today.” During that speech, Ozdemir also quoted his good friend Hrant Dink: “If Armenians lived in Van today, that city would be the Paris of the Orient.”
“Despite all the risks and consequences, Ozdemir and his parliamentarian colleagues defended and passed the resolution. He was Hrant’s good friend,” Bedrosian explained.
Before introducing Ozdemir to audiences, Bedrosian will present Wolfgang Gust’s book Armenian Genocide: Evidence from German Archives. “He and his German parliamentarian colleagues were greatly influenced by the German historian’s book, which was financed by the Zorian Institute of Toronto,” Bedrosian said.
The Zorian Institute partnered with Gust to collect, translate, and restore thousands of historical documents from the German Foreign Office Archives that reveal details about Ottoman policy during the Armenian Genocide. Zorian also assisted in the translation, editing, and publishing of the book in English, Turkish, and German. A representative of the Zorian Institute will contextualize the historical meaning of Hrant Dink’s murder during the commemoration event in Toronto.
In his keynote addresses, Ozdemir will explain Hrant’s role in his decision to get involved in the Armenian Genocide resolution, and his journey as one of the most prominent human rights advocates in Europe.
“These commemorations and—more critically—the German Armenian Genocide recognition resolution, demonstrate that the genocide issue is not a historical issue of the past; not just something that happened a hundred years ago. It is, indeed, a current issue, deeply affecting relations between different peoples and different states, sometimes with serious consequences,” Bedrosian said.
The commemoration events will take place in Montreal on Jan. 21, at 8 p.m. at the Montreal Armenian Community Center, Homenetmen “Gamk” Hall, and in Toronto on Jan. 22, at 3 p.m. at the Armenian Community Center of Toronto.
-In Montreal the event is organized by The United Organizations of the Armenian Community of Quebec comprising of 22 Armenian organizations, churches & political party's
-In Toronto the event is organized by the Bolsahay Cultural Association, the Hamazkayin Cultrual and Educational Society, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the Nor Serount Cultural Association, the Armenian Association of Toronto, the Canada-Armenia Business Council, the Tekeyan Cultural Association, and the Mekhitarian Alumni Association.
- MosJan likes this
Posted 19 January 2017 - 10:07 AM
Agence France Presse
January 17, 2017 Tuesday 3:27 AM GMT
Turkish-Armenian reconciliation elusive decade after journalist murder
Istanbul, Jan 17 2017
Ten years after campaigning Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was
shot dead in Istanbul, Armenians and Turks have still not achieved the
reconciliation of which he dreamt.
The murder of Dink by a teenage gunman on January 19, 2007, near the
offices of the Agos newspaper which he founded, sent shockwaves
Thousands of Turks flooded onto the streets after Dink's death
declaring "We are all Armenians" in an unprecedented show of
"Hrant made two great endeavours. To encourage dialogue between Turkey
and Armenia. And to tell Turkish society about the Armenian issue in
Turkey," said Yetvart Danzikyan, who holds Dink's former job of Agos
But the dark ages of history cast a long shadow.
Relations between Turks and Armenians are dominated by a century-old
episode in history -- the massacres and deportations from 1915 of the
Ottoman Empire's Armenians in Anatolia during the peak of World War 1.
Armenians consider the killings to be a genocide. But for Ankara the
word is an anathema, especially as the Ottoman Empire, with the sultan
by then a figurehead, was then run by a trio of pashas still regarded
by many in Turkey as heroes.
The events of 1915 all but ended the presence of Armenians in Anatolia
and the modern Turkish state has a population of just a few tens of
thousand Armenians who are Turkish citizens.
Due to the dispute over 1915, it also has closed borders and no
diplomatic relations with the neighbouring post-Soviet state of
- 'The peril of normalisation' -
Born in the Anatolian city of Malatya -- which once had a large
Armenian population but now almost none -- Dink moved to Istanbul and
in 1996 sprung to prominence by founding Agos.
Agos was not the first or only Armenian newspaper in Turkey but it was
the first to be published in Turkish as well as Armenian, allowing a
debate of issues that had long remained taboo.
"Hrant Dink gave the chance of telling Turkish society of the major
problems of Armenians stemming from 1915," said Agos' Armenian
language chief editor Pakrat Estukyan who knew Dink.
""He made huge contribution and, unfortunately, paid for it with his life."
Dink's death became a symbol of the peril of such moves. The
photograph of his corpse covered by a sheet, with just the soles of
his shoes complete with a hole showing, underlined the tragedy.
And although his assassin, just 17 at the time, was rapidly arrested
and sentenced, the trial into the killing still grinds on with Dink's
supporters losing confidence on its ability to shed light on the plot.
In subsequent years, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sought to build bridges with Armenia, a
reconciliation process encouraged by the United States.
But that process hit the buffers due to the simmering row over 1915,
although analysts have long called for the historical dispute to be
decoupled from more practical issues like border opening and trade.
- Taboos remain unbroken -
The atmosphere became all the more poisonous during the 2015 100th
anniversary, with Turkey cranking up the nationalist rhetoric in an
election year and making clear it would never acknowledge genocide.
"With his murder, he (Dink) also came to represent the peril of the
process of normalisation," Richard Giragosian, director of the
Regional Studies Center (RSC) independent think tank in Yerevan, told
Underlining the acute sensitivity, an Armenian lawmaker for the
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Garo Paylan, was suspended from the
Turkish parliament last week for declaring in a debate the events of
1915 were "genocide".
Dink's assassin, Ogun Samast, is still behind bars but the trial into
dozens of police accused of covering up the plot rumbles on.
The police on trial have been linked to Erdogan's arch enemy, the
US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.
Anger was caused by a video that emerged showing Samast bantering with
police officers after his arrest and even holding up a Turkish flag.
"After 10 years, this court has still not shed light on the murder. We
don't have expectations from this process," said Estukyan.
Yet the taboos that Dink smashed remain broken. A few years before it
would have been inconceivable to even have an Armenian in the Turkish
parliament, let alone even utter the word "genocide".
Analysts hope that reconciliation is still possible.
"The man may be gone, but his mission continues and his spirit lives
on, inspiring a new generation to look forward," said Giragosian.
Posted 20 January 2017 - 10:36 AM
13:55 • 19.01.17
The Turkish state is responsible for the assassination of Hrant Dink who was believed to be shaking the foundations of the state, says an Istanbul-Armenian intellectual.
Tiran Lokmaggyozyan, a former co-worker of the slain editor-chief of Agos, said he no longer hopes that the tragic crime will be ever resolved after a decade’s trial.
“I said then and keep saying now that the state was a [key] culprit,” he said, accusing the Turkish authorities of pursuing their own interests in the criminal proceeding.
Lokmaggyozyan said he doesn’t think that Dink was murdered over nationalist views or outspoken remarks about the Genocide.
“He was bold enough to speak about the Genocide as did [Western Armenian writer] Grigor Zohrap 100 years ago. That state simply needed external or internal enemies. If you are an internal enemy, they will need you. But what he [Dink] did was a completely different thing: he shook the pillars of that state, bringing alight the lies. This is why he was killed,” he explained.
Posted 20 January 2017 - 10:38 AM
Society under government’s unprecedented pressure should address Hrant Dink assassination – Armenian expert
17:06 • 19.01.17
The government-sponsored assassinations of dissidents are normal practice in Turkey, expert in Turkic studies Ruben Safrastyan told reporters on Thursday, prior to a roundtable discussion ‘10 Years without Dink’.
“Thousands – tens of thousands - of people are jailed in modern-day Turkey. And I believe that a society under such unprecedented pressure by the government should address an event that happened ten years ago, namely, Hrant Dink’s assassination, and try to understand the primary causes of the present situation in Turkey,” Mr Safrastyan said.
And ten years after Hrant Dink’s assassination Turkish-Armenian MP Garo Paylan is under pressure now.
“This independent Armenian intellectual was trained by the Hrant Dink school and contributed to Agos when Hrant Dink was chief editor. So we can say that the seed sown by Hrant Dink is now sprouting and new independent Armenian intellectuals are emerging in Turkey,” Mr Safrastyan said.
Struggle can be organized even in a tyrannical state.
“Struggle against Turkey’s incumbent authorities, who are violating elementary human rights and formed an atmosphere in the country, can only be waged by truly brave and daring individuals,” Mr Safrastyan said.
Posted 20 January 2017 - 10:43 AM
Come, let us do away with the restlessness of doves in this country.
Rakel Dink, the wife of the Istanbul Armenian journalist, founder and editor of Armenian newspaper Agos, Hrant Dink, said the aforementioned at the event commemorating 10th anniversary of his death.
In her speech, Rakel Dink said the following:
“10 years. Easier said than lived… Exactly 10 Years. Without you, it has not been easy at all. Being without you, not having my beloved one with me, and above all, being separated from him by a heinous plot have caused even more pain, sorrow and heartache.
What do I have to say to those who have been suffering for the last 20, 30, 40 years? What do I have to say to those whose children have been murdered?
In the last 10 years, I have learned by living and experiencing what it really means to feel a pang of grief, how my tears could wet my bread and how salty they are. Thanks to the divine grace, I have learned how to cope with hatred and anger. Every time I think of your absence, it burns my body like a fire. I burn and burn so much that I cannot contain the flames under my skin.
So much has happened in 10 years. Oh my darling. Malatya massacre, İskenderun, Sevag Balıkçı, Roboski, Gezi events, Suruç, Diyarbakır, Sur, Mardin, Nusaybin, Cizre, Şırnak, Tahir Elçi, Ankara, July 15th, Maçka, İzmir, Gaziantep, Ortaköy, Airport attack and the war in the Middle East. Operations, terror, and what not… The country has turned into a bloodbath. Some wanted to shower in human blood. A nightmare has swept the country. People started to fear and suffocate. People have been humiliated due to their identities; their dignity has been dishonoured and despised.
It is as if mothers give birth to their children just to bury them. They encourage people to have more children, but no one thinks of protecting the right to life of those who are born. Yet murders that are committed day and night, such as murders of workers and women, do not count as political murders. No one takes the blame and responsibility.
Under the power of terror and the terror of the ones in power, it is once again the peoples who pay the price. The way you name what is happening does not change the thing that is happening to us. The terror waged by the states that declare war against terror comes to the same thing. This state becomes the US in Abu Ghraib, Russia in Aleppo, Turkey in Southeast Anatolia and Syria against opposition… One day the winds blowing from north seed death on its lands and the other day the winds blowing from south… Yet, it is always us, the peoples, who end up reaping this cursed harvest… Bodies of babies are coming ashore… Can there be anything more terrible than this?
I call out to the sky and earth… Mountains and seas… Rise and witness. Bear witness to the bloodshed on these lands. For people are silent and silenced. They are dying and being killed. We are too exhausted to mourn after them. Violence and tyranny have already gotten beyond borders. Reasons are eclipsed, and the reasonable ones have been exterminated.
Mountains and seas, skies and earth… Rise and bear witness. Bear witness to the history and the present day. To the deadly sins, to the abundance of murders, to the undoing of people. Bear witness to the plots, lies, endless arrogance and recklessness of the Evil. Bear witness to those who distort justice, and to all abominable incidents happened on these ancient lands.
‘‘Utterly Meaningless!’’ says the Teacher, and continues: ‘‘I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves… I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces… I acquired fame and I became greater by far than anyone lived before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor…And this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.’’*
So much has happened in 10 years. They gave us a case. We went to courthouses. They laughed at us, insulted us; they told us to ‘‘Love it or Leave it’’. They first claimed that ‘‘There is no organization behind the murder’’, then the Supreme Court ruled that ‘‘There is an organization, but limited to a number of nationalist young people.” Then one day, all of a sudden, within the state, which committed the crime, then concealed and finally tried to make benefit out of it, one of the many alliances has collapsed… The organization consisting of a couple of nationalist young people has been replaced by FETÖ. At one stage, they pretended as if Ergenekon is to blame, but it just slightly touched our case. Each and every time, the state leaves its tail on the crime scene and says, “Heree is the evil.” Both right and wrong. When are we going to stop dealing with the molted skin of the snake and start to chase after the snake itself?
Once again, we ask the very same question we asked 10 years ago…
Those who made him a target, who threatened him, who said ‘‘Hrant, you are the target of our rage’’, those who released statements on behalf of the General Staff; when are they going to face justice?
Crime scene footage is once again put into circulation. They say that 10 years ago, around this time, on this very spot, there were more gendarmerie officers than the civilians. We just wait to see when this years-long investigation will come to an end.
We said it before, we will say it again. This murder was committed by a well-known perpetrator. The perpetrator of this murder seems to be the state with all its ranks. Conscience of this people needs nothing else than the shameful theater that has been performed in the last 10 years to understand who is the perpetrator.
If the state is not the perpetrator, then it has the responsibility to sort through the perpetrators within itself. What is sacred is not the state, it is the human being. What is sacred is life.
For the last 10 years, the state has been sacrificing what is sacred for these lands. Just as it did 100 years ago and afterwards for the last 100 years… My sisters and brothers. A state cannot be worthy of these lands unless it regards all lives, regardless of nation, race or belief, as sacred.
It gives me great pain to be here today, to share the pain of my husband who was murdered 10 years ago and to talk about his murder case. Yet, this case is a very significant cause for the democratization of the country.
My husband used to value the conscience of people rather than that of the courts. The only thing that still gives us hope, in the midst of all that happened, is that the people has condemned this crime in their own conscience.
This case is one of the keys to Turkey’s democratization. If you are going to make use of it, it’s all yours, as long as you use it for this purpose.
This case is also the case of detained journalists and deputies who have found themselves in jail deprived of their own freedom while they were seeking for truth and struggling for peace and freedom. May God let them to reunite with their beloved ones very soon.
Today, in this dark era, those who console themselves thinking that ‘‘we are lucky that our people is in power’’, please do not be mistaken assuming that the ones in power is on your side. Those whom you selected to govern this country with all good intentions have turned into Men of State, though they were children of people once. They have already forgotten their promises. Now, they are now trying to make you accomplices to their crimes. You do not deserve this. We do all deserve much better. And I do hope we will achieve what is much better.
Love means doing things for the others. When you walk in the path of love, you will have heartaches for sure. Yet, love is the strongest psychological warfare. Love responds to evil with benevolence. Without love, there is no faith.
Dress yourselves with love.
‘’Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.’’**
Let the ones who love the God also love themselves and their neighbors.
Dear friends. We are here together with you for the last 10 years. We said that we have become relatives in pain. We have shared our stories, we have listened to each other. Yet, during these 10 years, so many more stories full of pain, sorrow and tear have been written, thousands of them, tens of thousands of them…
It is not only about living together, what really matters is to live happily and equally. And to live freely and with dignity… Come, let us do away with the restlessness of doves in this country. Come, let us not sacrifice doves any longer. As my Chutag said:
Come, let us first understand each other...
Come, let us first respect each other’s pain...
Come, let us first let one another live.”
Dozens of activists from different cities of Turkey, including Armenians, Turks, Kurds, Assyrians and representatives of other ethnic and religious groups, have gathered outside the former editors office of Agos at Osmanbey Avenue of Şişli district, Istanbul, where exactly 10 years ago during these hours Hrant Dink was killed.
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Posted 24 January 2017 - 11:41 AM
Cem Özdemir delivers his keynote speech honouring Hrant Dink and his legacy (Photo: Harout Kassabian)
TORONTO, Canada—Over 600 people gathered in the Armenian Community Centre of Toronto on January 22, 2017 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Hrant Dink, prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the bilingual Agos newspaper.
Dink was assassinated on January 19, 2007, in front of his newspaper’s office in Istanbul, triggering an unprecedented surge of solidarity and pro-democracy activism in Turkey after more than 100,000 people attended his funeral. Hrant Dink’s assassination is now memorialized in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.
The keynote speaker was Cem Özdemir, a German parliamentarian of Turkish descent and the current co-chair of the German Greens Alliance Party. Özdemir spearheaded the resolution in the German Bundestag to formally classify the 1915-1923 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
Prominent politicians, diplomats and public figures were also in attendance for the commemoration, including the Premier of Ontario, Honorable Kathleen Wynne, Consul General Peter Fahrenholtz of the German Consulate in Toronto, famed Canadian-Armenian director Atom Egoyan, as well as local members of the Canadian Parliament and Ontario Legislature.
In his keynote address, Özdemir spoke of Hrant Dink’s bravery and his continued legacy.
“Because of Hrant, Armenians in Turkey talk about the Armenian Genocide. Because of Hrant, Turks who have never heard about the Armenian Genocide talk about the Armenian Genocide. People afterwards started to question what they had learned,” said Özdemir.
Cem Özdemir delivers his keynote speech honouring Hrant Dink and his legacy (Photo: Harout Kassabian)
Furthermore, Özdemir revisited throughout his address the theme of reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey, and realized the importance of Turkish society embracing the ethnic and religious minorities of their country to allow for this. A significant change, he opined, would be for Turks to disavow the masterminds of the Genocide, who are revered to this day by some for being leaders of the once-powerful Ottoman Empire, despite the fact they oversaw the murder of their own citizens through genocide.
“You have children, I have children and we want our children to be good people and good citizens. Christian, Jews, Muslim or Atheist, whatever we are, we want that. So when you talk to your children, do you not talk about role models, and people you want your children to look up to and maybe take them as examples? I don’t tell my children follow the path of people that betrayed their neighbors… So I ask you: who is a better Muslim, one who looks aside when Armenians are killed, or the one that says ‘attacking an Armenian is like attacking me? Killing them is like killing me,’” said Özdemir, when recounting his discussion with a group at a Turkish mosque in Berlin.
Kathleen Wynne welcomes Cem Özdemir and speaks about the importance of continuing Hrant Dink’s work for genocide recognition (Photo: Harout Kassabian
In her speech to attendees, Wynne expressed her gratitude to Özdemir for being present and the need for continued discussion about the Armenian Genocide.
“I wanted to be here today to honor Hrant Dink. Even though it’s been over 100 years since the Armenian Genocide began, the passage of the century has not dulled the horrors of those events. As we remember Hrant Dink, we also remember those Armenians who perished,” said Wynne.
Zohrab Sarkissian, Chair of the Armenian National Committee of Toronto, commented that Dink continues to serve as an example for activism on issues that beleaguer society today.
“Today, Dink has become an exemplary icon of freedom and human rights activism in Turkey, across Europe and across the world. Dink’s memory serves as a constant reminder for intellectuals, activists and the wider public to challenge prejudice and division among people, such as the rising tide of intolerant nationalism in Turkey,” Sarkissian remarked.
Posted 24 January 2017 - 11:47 AM
A Candlelight vigil in tribute to the memory of Armenian reporter of Istanbul, founder of Agos newspaper Hrant Dink took place in New York, the Armenian Weekly reports.
As the source notes, dozens of community members and supporters, holding Armenian flags, signs, and images of Dink, gathered across from the Turkish Consulate in midtown Manhattan. They called for justice with chants such as “We are all Hrant Dink,” “Justice for Hrant Dink,” and “Turkey recognize your guilt.”
The candlelight vigil began with an opening prayer by V. Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, the pastor of St. Illuminator’s Armenian Cathedral.
Speaking on behalf of the community, ANC-NY chairman Nazareth Markarian and writer Taleen Babayan addressed the crowd of supporters and passerbys.
“Hrant Dink was murdered in cold-blood on the streets of Turkey, in broad daylight, because he had the courage to stand up for truth and because he would not remain silent about the Armenian Genocide,” said Markarian, who urged the Armenian community to never forget and reminded those present that Turkish abuses continue to this day.
“Turkey continues to violate its citizens’ right to life and freedom of speech and has intensified its crackdown of political opponents. Just a few days ago, Garo Paylan, an elected official to Turkey’s Parliament, was suspended and banned from Parliament. It is our duty to remain vigilant and raise our collective voice in support of Paylan, who like Hrant Dink before him, refuses to be silenced in his fight for human rights and Turkish acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide,” said Markarian.
In her remarks, Taleen Babayan noted that “Dink was a journalist in the truest sense, whose convictions and morals guided him, nd who was led by the motives of truth, justice, and progress. He was someone who did not just advocate for Armenian Genocide awareness but who advocated for all marginalized people in Turkey. He was not just a symbol for Armenians, he was a symbol for every oppressed individual around the world.”
“Today, a decade after Hrant Dink’s assassination, not much has changed in Turkey. The systematic persecution of religious and ethnic minorities continues. But we have hope for a better future. Hrant gave us that hope. We are here, Ahparig [brother],” read a part of a statement released by the ANC-NY.
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Posted 02 February 2017 - 12:16 PM
Inmates in Turkey’s prisons, including recently arrested journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, have been unable to receive copies of the Armenian weekly Agos because officials say it is published in a “foreign language.”
Hurriyet Daily News reports, the two reporters filed a complaint about not receiving copies of the paper, which is published partly in Turkish and partly in Armenian, that had been sent to them at Silivri prison.
Administrators of the high-security facility responded to the complaint, explaining that, “The Agos newspaper is listed among the publications banned by the Justice Ministry, thus it cannot be brought into prisons.”
After learning about the journalists’ failure to receive the newspaper, Agos contacted both the prison director and the chair of Parliament’s Human Rights Monitoring Committee, Zafer Üskül, but failed to get a clear answer from either.
“As if the murder of [Agos’ former chief editor] Hrant Dink was not enough, they are now even banning Agos from entering prisons,” Şık and Şener, who met with their relatives Wednesday, said in a statement. “This is a hard-to-believe act; the ban reflects one of the many injustices done in this country each day.”
The paper reminds, that the two journalists were arrested in early March as part of the ongoing Ergenekon case, an investigation into an alleged gang accused of plotting a coup. The move has drawn strong domestic and international criticism. Justice Ministry officials said Turkish law requires publications in foreign languages to be checked before entering the country’s prison and that the Agos copies had been delivered to Şık and Şener on Wednesday after being inspected.
Posted 22 March 2017 - 07:12 AM
They are all responsible for Hrant's death.
Middle East OnlineMarch 21 2017
Turkey links Gulen to murder of Armenian journalist
Istanbul prosecutors issue arrest warrant for Fethullah Gulen, prominent former prosecutor, three journalists in its probe into 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Middle East Online
Hrant Dink's murder by teenage gunman in 2007 shook Turkey
ISTANBUL - Turkish prosecutors on Tuesday formally linked the alleged mastermind of the failed July 15 coup attempt, Fethullah Gulen, to the 2007 killing of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink that shook the country.
Istanbul prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Gulen as well as a prominent former prosecutor and three journalists in its probe into the murder.
Gulen, an Islamic preacher residing in exile in the US state of Pennsylvania, is already the subject of multiple arrest warrants related to last year's failed coup which the government has accused him of leading. He denies the charges.
Numerous reports speculated over a possible link between Gulen and the Dink killing after the coup but this is the first time that prosecutors have made a formal connection.
According to the request by prosecutors, the murder of Dink went ahead because of Gulen's influence on the security forces at the time.
Along with Gulen, the warrant targets the former prosecutor Zekeriya Oz who was behind a graft probe of those in the inner circle of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Authorities blamed the probe on Gulen.
Also wanted are journalists Faruk Mercan, Ekrem Dumanli and Adem Yavuz Arslan who wrote for publications sympathetic to Gulen and are now believed to be out of the country.
Dink, a member of Turkey's Armenian minority, was murdered by a teenage gunman on January 19, 2007, near the offices of the Agos newspaper which he founded.
Relations between Turks and Armenians are scarred by the mass killings of the Ottoman Empire's Armenians in Anatolia during the peak of World War I, which Yerevan sees as a genocide, a term Turkey fiercely rejects.
Dink promoted reconciliation between Armenians and Turks, a prospect that remains far off due to the dispute over the 1915 killings and a series of other rows.
Although his assassin, just 17 at the time, was rapidly arrested and sentenced, the trial into the killing still grinds on with Dink's supporters losing confidence on its ability to shed light on the plot.
Turkey meanwhile is strongly pressing for the extradition of Gulen to face trial over his alleged involvement in the coup.
In the latest contact, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag spoke to his US counterpart Jeff Sessions on Tuesday and asked for Gulen's temporary detention, Turkish media said.
Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:47 AM
Turkey links Gulen to murder of Armenian journalist ohh , now his the link him to Hrant Dinks murder ?? it took them some 10 years to find this out ?
Posted 06 October 2017 - 08:21 AM
Armenpress News Agency , Armenia
October 4, 2017 Wednesday
Hrant Dink murder trial: Suspect says imprisoned Yasin Hayal was on
assignment for national intelligence
YEREVAN, OCTOBER 4, ARMENPRESS. New details emerged during the Hrant
Dink murder trial in an Istanbul Court in Turkey.
On October 3, Ercan Gyun – head of the news programs of Fox TV’s
Turkish service who is arrested as a suspect, testified at the court
Gyun said at the time he was detained in the police department he was
placed in a cell together with Veysel Shahin – a gendarmerie officer.
The latter had told him that Yasin Hayal – who is serving a life
sentence for “premeditated incitement of Hrant Dink’s murder”,
regularly visited the national intelligence service office in Trabzon.
In response to Gyun’s testimony, the judge gave the floor to Veysel
Shahin, who in turn denied having said the abovementioned.
The Dink family attorney asked Gyun about his meeting with Shahin and
received the following response: “I was in the same cell with Veysel
Shahin. He told me that 15 days before the murder the national
intelligence service had given an assignment to Yasin Hayal, and the
latter was regularly visiting the office of the intelligence service.
But he didn’t clarify what assignment that was. He also didn’t say
from whom he had found out about this, stressing that he doesn’t want
to get in trouble”.
The next court hearings are planned for October 5 and 6.
Hrant Dink, the ethnic Armenian editor-in-chief of Istanbul’s Agos
daily, was shot dead outside his office in 2007.
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