January 19th marks the anniversary of the assassination of Hrant Dink in Istanbul. On Jan 19, 2007, an extreme rightwing 17-year-old shot Hrant Dink three times, killing him instantly. The reason Dink was killed was his outspoken support for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and recognition of the Genocide.
A lot can be said about Hrant Dink, more than can be said in this one blog post. The fact that over 200,000 people marched in his funeral speaks to the amount of love many people, including average Turks, had for him.
At his core, Hrant Dink fought for compassion and respect for victims and minorities, including Genocide recognition. Because of this, he was prosecuted three times for “insulting Turkishness.” This blatant anti-freedom of speech law has been used against a number of Turkish authors who write in support of Genocide recognition. As long as laws like this are still on the books, the conversations that must precede reconciliation cannot occur. This stifling of speech harms Turkish citizens by not allowing them to discuss a very important part of their history, perpetuating hate on all sides.
The domestic court found the shooter guilty, but also found that he acted alone. This was a shock to many, and many simply don’t accept that as true. Similarly to how Armenian courts found the parliamentary shooters acted alone, this assassination seems too important to not be the work of a larger conspiracy. One Turkish prosecutor believes he has discovered the hierarchy of the criminal network that killed Dink, and it’s possible the case will be re-opened.
Hetq has a copy of Dink’s final publication, published only a little more than a week before his murder.