Thousands gathered in Istanbul to demand justice for the Turkish-Armenian journalist and human rights activist Hrant Dink, murdered on this day in 2007.
Today, for the ninth year in a row, thousands of people gathered in downtown Istanbul to march from the central Taksim square to the Agos newspaper’s offices in Osmanbey to commemorate the murder of Hrant Dink.
On January 19, 2007, Hrant Dink was shot and killed in front of Agos’ offices, where he was editor-in-chief at the time. As the most prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist in Turkey, human rights activist and an outspoken proponent of reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian people, his death sent shock waves through the country.
The yearly protest march and commemoration ceremony serve not only to keep the memory of this great and important man alive, but also to draw attention to what is perceived by many Turkish Armenians as an ongoing genocide against the country’s marginalized and discriminated ethnic minority. “Armenian” continues to be insult for many ethnic Turks, and calling the 1915-’18 massacre of around a million Armenians a “genocide” is still illegal in Turkey.
Another reason for the yearly commemorative gathering is to demand justice. Dink’s killer, a young nationalist who was only 17 years old when he travelled from Turkey’s east to Istanbul to murder the journalist, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison. But many others with alleged links to the crime have yet to be charged. Among the 26 suspects are current and former police officers, who had been made aware of plans to murder Dink, but who failed to take action against it.
This year’s commemoration comes at a time when memories of another murder of a prominent human rights advocate from a different ethnic minority is still fresh. Tahir Elci, a Kurdish human rights lawyer, was shot in the head and died on the streets of Diyaybakir at the end of November when he got caught up in a shoot-out between the police and young Kurdish militants. At least, that is what the official version of events states, but many people have placed the blame for Elci’s dead at the government’s doorstep – either because it failed to protect him, or because of suspicions that the state was somehow involved in his death.
The demand for justice for Hrant Dink is extended as a demand for justice for Tahir Elci; for Cemile Çağırga and Helin Sen and all those dozens of Kurdish children that have been killed by the state in the past few weeks, months and years; for Can Dündar and Erdem Gül and all those journalist locked up, shut up, threatened and convicted; for the academics who are charged for terrorism because they demanded peace; for the activists who disappeared because they believed a better world was possible; for the million Armenians that were slaughtered by the state a hundred years ago, and all those who’ve been discriminated, marginalized and insulted ever since; for all those women murdered every year at the hands of their husbands, brothers, fathers, or strangers; for the workers who die in their thousands to keep the juggernaut of capitalism charging on.
Desperate calls for justice are heard on the streets of Turkey and Kurdistan everywhere these days, and too often they go unanswered. But the resistance continues. With a gun, a banner, a pen or simply a voice: the resistance against the injustice of the state carries on.
Today we remember Hrant Dink; tomorrow we remember everyone else. Today we demand justice for Hrant Dink; tomorrow we demand justice for everyone else. Today we are all Hrant Dink; today we are all Armenian, and tomorrow we are, again, our indignant selves.
Source URL — https://roarmag.org/2016/01/19/murder-hrant-dink-anniversary/