19 January 2007

1374) Hrant Dink Special - Over 148 Items in One -

 Bulent Duzgit - Hurriyet This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com © pix





Letter to the Lover
Rakel Dink

24 January 2007

I stand here today, grieved, and honored. We're all standing here in our grief. This silence instills a mournful joy in us.

Today we're sending the other half of my being, my lover, the father of my children, to eternity. We will march without any contempt for anyone, without slogans or banners. We will, today, issue a stentorian call out of our silence. Whoever the murderer is, whether he's 17 years old or 27, he too was once a baby, I know. Without first questioning how a murderer can be created out of a baby, we can go nowhere. His love of honesty, of openness, of friendship brought him to this place. They say he was a great man. I'm here to ask you: Was he born a great man? No, he was born one of us. He came from the earth, not the heavens. The tasks he assumed, the style he used, the love in his heart were what made him great. He grew into his greatness, his great ideas and great words. And you too are great, for coming here today. But don't you just leave it there, don't let it go at that. We have no future in hatred, in insult, in calling one person's blood superior to another's. We'll only rise by seeing the other in ourselves.

My love!

You've left before your body aged, before you grew sick, before you could have your time with your loved ones. We too will come, my beloved, to that glorious heaven. Only love can go there. We will live there together eternally, and with true love.

The love that does not envy, kill, scorn or avenge, but one that forgives and upholds one's brother; the love of the messiah . . .

What darkness could make us forget your deeds and your words, my love? Fear? Life? Oppression? The world's petty pleasures? Or death, my love?

So I've written to you, my beloved, this love letter. It has been difficult to get down these words, my love.

You have left your loved ones, your children, your grandchildren, abandoned us, abandoned my embrace, my love, but you have not abandoned your country.



  1. Turkey’s Compassionate Reaction To Hrant Dink’s Murder Shatters Myths About Turks Ergun KIRLIKOVALI
  2. Turkey: Journalist's Death Puts Focus On Nationalism Yigal Schleifer
  3. Killing of Hrant Dink and Fr Santono: too many similarities AsiaNews Italy
  4. Police: 2 Confess in Journalist Killing By BENJAMIN HARVEY
  5. Ertugrul Ozkok:Why Hrant Dink's murderer didn't throw away the gun
  6. The Turks may be learning. Are we? "Nairi Hakhverdian"
  7. Mourners reconcile at Dink funeral
  8. Crying together in our common pain BULENT KENES
  9. The face of a phantom TAMER KORKMAZ
  10. Turning point? YAVUZ BAYDAR
  11. Hrant Dink and Europe BERIL DEDEOGLU
  12. 301 is an embarrassment SELCUK GULTASLI
  13. Article 301 held responsible for Dink’s murder FATMA DISLI
  14. Turkey’s Armenian tragedy
  15. Mourners reconcile at Dink funeral
  16. [Houston Chronicle] Turkey, Armenia closer after slaying
  17. [Montreal Gazette] Journalist’s killing a test for Turkey
  18. 'Hrant's death united us' Irazca Geray
  19. 'Hrant's funeral brought Armenian and Turkish officials together' The New Anatolian
  20. Article 301 debate rekindled in wake of Dink killing Burak Esen
  21. Serving Truth, Are Not Honoured With Adequate Sympathy And Assistance During Their Lifetime YEREVAN
  22. "Dink's Murder Is Addressed Against Turkish Intellectuals As Well Who Touch Upon Armenian Genocide Issue To Finally Silence It" YEREVAN,
  23. Dink's Murder Becomes Political Earthquake For Inner And Foreign Policy Of Turkey, Armenian Intellectuals Believe YEREVAN,
  24. Hrant Dink (1954-2007) by RONALD GRIGOR SUNY
  25. David Caploe / Rare Good News from Mid-East: Turks At All Levels Recoil at Killing of Armenian Activist
  26. Silence is a killer By Tulin Daloglu WashingtonTimes
  27. Confessions of a murder suspect Sabah
  28. Bekir Coskun: Filled with hope today
  29. The New York Times: Dink’s Assassination Leads to Conciliation Between Armenia and Turkey YEREVAN (YERKIR)
  30. Comment: Omer Engin Lutem / Why Hrant Dink And Why Now? ERAREN
  31. Orhan Pamuk: We Are All Responsible For Dink's Death Hürriyet
  32. Turk And Armenian: Hrant Dink And Talat Pasha Murders (Sedat Laciner) 23 January 2007, USAK
  33. Wider involvement suspected in Hrant Dink's assassination IHT
  34. Armenian champion in Turkey The Independent
  35. Deep Roots Of The Murder TAHA AKYOL
  36. The triggerman is a bait; the organization is behind
  37. Armenian Editor’s Death Leads to Conciliation SUSANNE FOWLER and SEBNEM ARSU
  38. The Turkish curse after a death in Istanbul By Hugh Pope
  39. Hrant Dink (1954-2007): in memoriam Fatma Müge Göçek
  40. Turkey: Thousands Expected To Pay Homage To Slain Armenian Journalist (AKI)
  41. A Turkish funeral invitation to Armenians By Susanne Fowler and Sebnem Arsu
  42. Police probe nationalist links in journalist’s slaying
  43. ANDREW FINKEL Anatomy of a murder
  44. NICOLE POPE Fanning the flames: Article 301
  45. LALE SARIIBRAHIMOGLU Turkey should take urgent steps to lift restrictions on freedom of speech
  46. SUAT KINIKLIOGLU Dink, doves and democracy
  47. FATMA DISLI Dink’s murder; amateur killer or orchestrated hit?
  48. Why is Hrant equivalent to Turkey?
  49. Just a murderer?
  50. Meaningful
  51. Those who pointed the finger at Dink Ilnur Cevik
  52. Political murder and Dink: Building a new bridge to history Huseyin Bagci
  53. TurkishForum Advisory Board On Behalf Of Ataman Atlas The sword comes out where Justice fails !
  54. Who Killed Hrant Dink?
  55. 50,000 Turks mourn slain Armenian editor By Daren Butler
  56. Turks flock to editor’s funeral By Vincent Boland in Ankara
  57. Thousands Mourn Slain Editor in Istanbul By SEBNEM ARSU and SUSANNE FOWLER
  58. Haunted by the past Leader The Guardian
  59. Murder investigation focuses on accomplices
  60. Article 301 under pressure
  61. Hrant Dink's legacy
  62. I am an Armenian today CUNEYT ULSEVER
  63. 301 killed Hrant Dink Mehmet Ali Birand
  64. The anatomy of a pre-announced murder CENGIZ AKTAR
  65. Armenian reps to attend Dink's funeral The New Anatolian
  66. Police: No organizational link so far in Dink murder The New Anatolian
  67. Mehmet Y. Yilmaz: Time to think, as we cry for Hrant Dink Hurriyet
  68. A "Trabzon Legend" gave the orders to kill Hrant Dink Hurriyet
  69. Hrant Dink's killer: I am not sorry Hurriyet
  70. Erdogan: Hrant Dink's murderer is the opposite of a nationalist Hurriyet
  71. Turkish General Says Journalist's Killing A Trap Anatolia News Agency
  72. Murder Of Hrant Dink To Incandesce Domestic Political Situation In Turkey: Head Of Turkish Department Of Armenian National Academy Of Sciences Arminfo
  73. Hrant Dink Killed By Dark Hands Sabah
  74. Turkey mourns its slain son
  75. Turkish MP : Murder Of Dink May Be Part Of "a Well-calculated Plan"
  76. At Large Turkish Blood By Christopher Orlet
  77. Dink assassination has united Turkey Ilnur Cevik
  78. When we loose the doves of peace... Cem Oguz
  79. 2 messages to 2 countries from defense minister Evren Deger
  80. Suleyman Demirel: Turkish hostility unites world Armenians
  81. The Assassination of Hrant Dink: Another Deadly Incident Destined to Remain Unsolved? (Balkanalysis.com) By Mehmet Kalyoncu
  82. Who is behind killing?New Anatolian
  83. After Dink's murder, let's not join its accomplices Cem Sey
  84. [The Boston Globe] A journalist’s dangerous mission
  85. Excuse us Harut the Barut, what about the 180 odd Armenian acts of terror British European Turk NGOs & Holdwater
  86. Profile of Hrant Dink's Juvenile Murder Suspect ŞAFAK TİMUR
  87. Dink not mentioned in Sunday's sermon VERCİHAN ZİFLİOĞLU
  88. I was not a friend of Hrant Dink Ariana Ferentinou / TDN
  89. Turkey's politicians condemn Dink murder
  90. All the culprits must be found Yusuf KANLI
  91. Letters to the editor TurkishDailyNews Dink opposed both Turkish and French authoritarianism
  92. Dink was murdered by the Turkish government:
  93. This Turkey is certainly not ready for the EU:
  94. A loss for all of us:
  95. Dink was clear on genocide:
  96. Not ‘Muslim genes' but indoctrination:
  97. Don't exaggerate ‘Islamophobia':
  98. Turkish Press Yesterday TDN
  99. Anguish, despair and clichés:
  100. The murderer shot him on his way back from the bank:
  101. His coffin should be draped with the Turkish flag:
  102. The bodyguard scandal:
  103. Hrant Dink's blood is avenged:
  104. He was caught in Samsun on his father's call:
  105. It is that address again:
  106. Dink's murder a reminder of need for genocide recognition, US Armenians say ÜMİT ENGİNSOY
  107. Hrant’s silent voice should not fade SYLVIA TIRYAKI /TDN
  108. Opinion by Doğu ERGİL Hrant Dink: Requiem to a lesser Turkey
  109. Sit-in at Armenian village HAYRETTİN OĞUR
  110. A clear provocation PROF. ALİ ÇAĞLAR
  111. A dove struck down CAN AKSIN, BUGÜN
  112. How easy it is… ABDURRAHMAN DİLİPAK, VAKİT
  113. Minister of Foreign Affairs invites the Armenian diaspora to the funeral
  114. We could not protect him
  115. Dink’s assassination, Sabotage against Turkey
  116. The man who wept because he could not become a sergeant
  117. Hrant Dink: the victim of nation-states /nationalism Ihsan Dagi
  118. Hrant Dink - a victim of intolerance SAHIN ALPAY
  119. Dink murder viewed from America ALI H. ASLAN
  120. Calls for unity, Justice emerge from Dink’s tragic death FATMA DISLI
  121. Who killed the Turkish editor Hrant Dink? Baris Sanli
  122. ASSASSIN OF HRANT DINK CAPTURED-- Ogün Samast
  123. The ‘dove skittishness’ of my soul - Hrant Dink's Latest/Current Article AGOS 564
  124. What Did Turkish Columnists Write About Hrant Dink's Murder? -- Rauf Tamer, Posta -- Hadi Uluengin, Hurriyet -- Mehmet Y. Yilmaz, Hurriyet -- Okay Gonensin, Vatan -- Necati Dogru, Vatan -- Reha Muhtar, Vatan -- Gungor Mengi, Vatan -- Zulfu Livaneli, Vatan -- Yusuf Kanli, TDN -- David Judson, Turkish Daily News -- Sakir Suter, Aksam -- Serdar Turgut, Aksam -- Ertugrul Ozkok, Hurriyet -- Oktay Eksi, Hurriyet -- Mehmet Ali Birand, Posta -- Bekir Coskun, Hurriyet -- Tufan Turenc, Hurriyet -- Taha Akyol, Milliyet -- Melih Asik, Milliyet -- Semih Idiz, Milliyet -- Can Dundar, Milliyet -- Derya Sazak, Milliyet -- Fehmi Koru, Yeni Safak -- Ali Bayramoglu, Yeni Safak -- Hakan Albayrak, Yeni Safak -- Mustafa Karaalioglu, Yeni Safak -- Mehmet Ocaktan, Yeni Safak -- Yavuz Baydar, Sabah -- Fatih Altayli, Sabah -- Ismet Berkan, Radikal -- Altan Oymen, Radikal -- Murat Yetkin, Radikal -- Perihan Magden, Radikal -- Sahin Alpay, Zaman -- Ahmet Kekec, Star -- Mahir Kaynak, Star
  125. Hrant Dink - Bringing Armenians and Turks Together? Katy in Armenia
  126. Istanbul governor distributes photos of suspect in journalist murder AP
  127. Dink’s Death: Things to do upon both Turkey and the EU Fatma Yilmaz
  128. Hrant Dink: Open Democracy Tribute Isabel Hilton Anthony Barnett
  129. Five thousand gather in sit-down protest of Hrant Dink assassination
  130. I have lost a friend: Hrant Dink Yusuf KANLI
  131. Murderer fells journalist Hrant Dink
  132. Murder of 'the real nationalist' DAVID JUDSON
  133. The last column of Hrant Dink
  134. Hrant was killed by Turkey’s enemies M.Ali BIRAND
  135. His loss is the loss of Turkey TNA
  136. New wave of assassinations? Ilnur Cevik / TNA
  137. Kemal Kerinçsiz, Dink's prosecutor, condemns assassination
  138. Dink murder draws anger and condemnation YUSUF ÜNAL
  139. Armenian Journalist Dink Slain, Turkey Appalled
  140. For Hrant Yavuz BAYDAR
  141. Turkish-Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink shot dead in Istanbul NYT
  142. Hrant Dink assassinated in a dastardly Plot Our pain and sorrow are endless Ergun KIRLIKOVALI
  143. We are denouncing the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul. British European Turk NGOs
  144. We are in the deep sorrow to hear that Hrant Dink
  145. Hrant Dink, 1954-2007 I am shocked and truly saddened to hear that Hrant Dink,





Turkey’s Compassionate Reaction To Hrant Dink’s Murder Shatters Myths About Turks
Ergun KIRLIKOVALI
ergun@turkla.com
The headline could easily be: “Turkish reaction underscores differences in attitudes between Turks and Diaspora Armenians towards hate crimes and/or terrorism”.

Or how about this: “Turks, despite Western misperception, do not hate Armenians”.

Or this: “Turkey proved once more that it is a land of tolerance where many faiths act harmoniously as one in the face of adversity.”

First, let me state in no uncertain terms that we, the members of Turkish-American community, condemn the dastardly murder of Hrant Dink in the strongest possible language; express our deep sorrow and convey our heartfelt condolences to the victim’s family, friends, and, indeed, the entire Turkish nation. We consider those bullets fired on Dink as having been aimed at human rights, freedom of speech, democracy, and unity in Turkey.

ATAA (Assembly Of Turkish American Associations), home of 63 Turkish American Associations across U.S., Canada and Turkey, located in Washington, D.C. USA, condemned the killing of Turkish Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink, in a press release dated January 19, 2007. “ …The killing of Mr. Dink is a great loss to Turkey. Mr. Dink was the editor of Agos, an Armenian-language newspaper in Istanbul, and also wrote for the Turkish daily, Zaman. He was a respected member and voice of Istanbul’s prosperous and growing Armenian community… ATAA reaffirms that people are entitled to their own opinions and the expression of the same. Turks are struggling for the same rights in Europe and America…” said the press release.

I did not know Dink personally and I strongly disagreed with him on his characterization of Turkish-Armenian conflict during WWI.

Dink called it genocide, I know it was not; it was a civil war started by Armenian nationalists.

Dink was compassionate about the Armenian suffering and losses; I am compassionate about both Turkish and Armenian and others’ suffering and losses during the same time period and in the same geography.

Dink ignored or dismissed Armenian treason, revolts, and terrorism; I write about them all the time.

Dink hardly ever mentioned the Ottoman-Armenians who donned the uniforms of the invading Russian and French armies to kill their Ottoman-Muslim neighbors; I stress that forgotten fact in most of my writings.

Dink wanted dialogue and peace; so do I and 70 million Turks. Dink thought dialogue and peace could come from, well, accepting Dink’s views. Whereas I think dialogue and peace can come from “learning about the other side of the story, namely the Turkish side and making room for Turkish suffering and losses (like my grandparents…)

Dink did not dwell upon more than a million Azeri made refugees at gunpoint on their own soil in 1992-1994 by the Armenians; I wrote about this ethnic cleansing campaign waged by Armenia frequently.

Dink did not condemn Armenian aggression in Karabagh and the wholesale massacre of the entire population of Khodjaly on February 19, 1992; I did, many times.

Dink wanted the Turkish-Armenian border opened, as he thought trade would improve relations and increase prosperity in the region. I want Armenia to end military occupation of Azerbaijan first, allow the 1+ million Azeri refugees to return to their homes in Karabagh and western regions of Azerbaijan, and then and only then can the Turkish-Armenian border be opened.

While Dink, and many biased and ill-informed Diaspora Armenians and their allies, wanted Turkey to face her history; I wanted Armenians, and their many western allies, to face their own history along with Turks facing Turkish history.

Dink implied facing history would build a better future; I am saying facing Dink’s idea of history is a bad idea due to falsified and biased nature of Dink’s version of history.

As you can see, while Dink and I agreed on the need for calm dialogue and peace between the Turks and the Armenians, we disagreed on how to get there – and pretty much on everything else.

These differences in opinion, though, are no reason for anyone to be hurt, let alone shot. We should be able to settle our differences by words, not bullets.

At this moment, I can hear some readers saying “Go tell that to the gunman”. Well, I did, with my letters. Turks did it with their outpouring of heartfelt condolences; their numbers – tens of thousands of Muslim Turks walked; and their slogans “We are Armenians today” and “We are Hrant Dink today”. Turkey did with its heart and soul, with immediate public statements of sorrow from top political leaders down to ordinary citizens. The killer’s father actually turned his son in! What more can anyone ask from a nation whose police caught the gunman within 36 hours!

Now let us flip the coin on those who thought “Go tell that to the gunman” and whom I shall call “my sarcastic friends”. In all fairness, how did they react when the Turkish diplomat, Kemal Arikan, about the same age as Dink at the time of death, was assassinated in the same dastardly way as Dink, on January 27, 1982, in Los Angeles? Arikan was also married and he had children. Did “my sarcastic friends” take part in a walk down Wilshire Avenue shouting “We are all Kemal Arikan today” and “We are all Turks today”? Oh, by the way, was there even a protest walk like the one in Turkey hat in the first place? Were there thousands of Americans, of Armenian descent or not, protesting a dastardly hate crime committed in our midst by a brainwashed Armenian teenager – Hampig Sassoonian, the convicted Armenian killer, was 19 years old? Were there determined and massive opposition by Armenians to hate crimes against Turks? Answers are: No, no, no, no, and no…

How about the other two Turkish diplomats gunned down in Santa Barbara in 1973 by a hate-filled Armenian older man? Did anyone protest then? Any walk participated by thousands of Americans condemning hate crimes and terrorism? Any posters? Any catchy slogans? Anything? Answers are: No, no, no, no, and no… Did the French do any protesting or marching or condemning in 1980s when the Armenian terrorists attacked the Orly Airport killing many? Or the Turkish consulate in Marseille or Lyon?

Did the Austrians do any protesting or marching or condemning in 1970s when the Armenian terrorists attacked the Turkish Embassy in Vienna and kill innocent Turks?

in 1970s when the Armenian terrorists attacked the Turkish Embassy in Vienna and kill innocent Turks?

Did the Canadians do any protesting or marching or condemning in 1970s when the Armenian terrorists attacked the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa and kill innocent Turks?

The list goes on and on. When you compare the reaction to hate crimes by nations, you know Turks passed the test of compassion and tolerance with flying colors.

Then there is this. When a 17 year old Turkish kid killed an innocent Armenian writer, the killer’s father immediately turned him over to the police and the Turkish nation from top to bottom condemned the killer. The Turkish assassin and his hate crime were shown zero tolerance by Turks.

When Hampig Sassoonian, the 19 year old Armenian kid who killed and innocent Turkish diplomat, did the killer’s parents turn him over to the LAPD? Of course not! In fact, far from it. Killer was hidden from view in a series of safe places until anonymous tips led to killer’s capture by LAPD. What did the Armenian Diaspora do? Did they protest hate crimes? Condemn terrorism? Of course not! They raised funds for his legal defense. They held religious services, candle light vigils, glorifying a brainwashed, bloodthirsty assassin!

When you compare the two reactions above, you cannot help but be impressed by the strong Turkish rejection of hate crimes and be absolutely disgusted by Armenian Diaspora’s embracing of Armenian terrorism since 1973.

One can argue anything one wants. But the two vastly different (opposite) reactions to hate crimes documented above are irrefutable facts. Namely, one reaction by Turks clearly rejecting a hate crime during January 19-23 2007, another reaction by most in Armenian Diaspora passionately embracing many hate crimes and acts of terrorism since 1973. With your permission, I WISH TO ETCH IN STONE THIS STARK DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TURKS AND THE ARMENIAN DIASPORA ON REACTING TO HATE CRIMES. Even the most biased and virulent anti-Turk should be able to see this big picture and hopefully wake up.

In case you were on a short visit to Mars the last few days, the editor of Agos newspaper published in Istanbul, Turkey, and a prominent member of the Turkish-Armenian community, Hrant Dink, was gunned down. The assassination took place as Dink was leaving the Agos building. According to eyewitnesses, an 18-19 year old man wearing a white hat and blue jean jacket fired four bullets at Dink at close range. Three of those bullets hit Dink in his head and neck killing him on the spot. The killer then ran away on foot. Turkish police arrested two suspects fitting this description a few miles from the crime scene. When the images of the suspect, recorded by the security cameras of the businesses nearby, were broadcast to public, a stunning development occurred. The suspect’s own father turned his son in! His father, a soft spoken man of humble means who lives more than a thousand kilometers away from Istanbul, in the Black Sea coastal city of Trabzon, saw his son’s photo on TV. He did not hesitate one minute to call the police with information on his son. The suspect was captured with this fantastic tip within 36 hours of his crime. Since the suspect is under age, 17 years old, it was thought he had to have acted by support and guidance of others. Further investigation and some great police work resulted in 8 more arrests. Investigation is far from over.

Hrant Dink’s lawyer, Erdal Dogan, stated in a phone interview with NTV anchor right after the shooting, that Dink had alerted the Sisli District Attorney about the threats Dink had received but that Dink had not ask for police protection in the form of perhaps body guards around the clock. Dink had written about the threats he had received in his latest article and described his feelings with the phrase “Dovish skittishness of the state of my soul.”

In a compassionate and sensitive move, the President of Turkey, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, immediately declared the event “ugly and shameful” and condemned it. Prime Minister Erdogan, lost no time to deliver his speech of condolences, where he also condemned the event and called it a move against the unity of Turkey. Turkish Interior Minister Aksu and Justice Minister Cicek flew from Ankara to Istanbul to evaluate the developments at the crime scene as soon as they heard the assassination. Statements of shock and sadness form all media personalities, industry leaders, ordinary citizens kept pouring in. Grieving Turks, Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike, created huge crowds at the crime scene and shouted slogans condemning killer(s). As one can clearly see, Turkey from its highest levels of government to it widest base of citizenry sincerely condemned this assassination and mobilized swiftly for the immediate capture of the perpetrator(s).

Even after all this sincere and honest outpouring of sympathies by the Turkish people, turning over to the police of the killer by his father, arrest of the killer and 8 other suspects all within 36 hours of the crime committed, and public statements by the president and prime minister of Turkey, and much more, some in Armenian Diaspora still could not help themselves attack, insult, and demonize Turkey. Some fanatic Armenian groups circulated press releases with a headline “Turkey killed Hrant Dink.” Do you now understand why we cannot enter a thoughtful discussion with these radical Armenian lobbyists? Look how warped and sick their take is on a single event! Now multiply this by hundreds of thousands of times and you will arrive at the “alleged” genocide wrap with which the Turks are unfairly burdened. This is why we, Turks, Turkish-Americans, and Turkish Diaspora, cannot, and will not, see eye to eye with Armenian Diaspora. Armenian Diaspora lie a lot, misrepresent and falsify even more, and when neither work, then they fabricate, in the true spirit of Andonian, the master faker.

I hope that the U.S. Congress wakes up to this hateful agenda of the Armenian Diaspora soon enough and reject the baseless Armenian allegations of genocide when it comes up for a vote. I sincerely hope so. Otherwise the Turkish-American relations would be seriously and permanently damaged if the US Congress recognizes Armenian claims as settled history. It would be a grave mistake to think that Turkish pride and honor can be fodder to America’s arrogant and ignorant local politics.

I hope also that the French government does not send that ill-intentioned anti-Turkish law banning the freedom of speech on Turkish-Armenian conflict, the infamous denial law, to the Senate where it is expected to pass. If that happens, I am writing here in black and white, France can kiss Turkey goodbye for decades if not longer. A huge black hole would sit right in the middle of world maps in France and the French would need rather long legs to jump from the Balkans to the Middle East or North Africa to Caucasus and Turkic Central Asia. These are not simply idle threats as I am in no position to speak for the Turkish government or the Turkish people. But I do keep my finger on the pulse of the Turkish nation to the best of my ability. And I do know Turks value their honor and dignity more than the French value the ever shrinking reach of their political influence.

I wish to remind France that she still owes an apology to Turks for invading Anatolia during WWI, raining death and destruction on Turks, and destroying thousand year of peaceful-cohabitation of Turks and Armenians in Anatolia by using neighbor-against-neighbor approach. With this law, French politicians would be adding insult to the historic pain and suffering they inflicted on Turks. Since the French parliament now appears to be in the business of history, perhaps the French care to face their history with Algerians in 1950s and 1960s. Then they can look at French persecution of Africans, Asians, and others.

Turkish views on the Turkish-Armenian conflict are already mostly censored by large American dailies like NYT, LAT, Boston Globe, and others, under the pretext that “they do not conform to the consensus.” Expect this “hidden embargo on Turkish views” or “secret censorship” to pick up speed after the Dink murder.

The translation of this kind of censorship is the trampling of one’s freedom of speech if one’s speech challenges the conventional wisdom. There is a lawsuit going on in Boston where ATAA along with non-Turkish American teachers and students challenge the department of education’s decision to censor out responsible opposing Turkish views regarding the alleged Armenian Genocide from suggested reading materials.

In March of 2006, two retired Turkish ambassadors were scheduled to give a seminar on Turkish views at USC which was abruptly cancelled at the last moment when the Armenian community applied pressure laced with veiled threats on organizers at USC.

In May 2006, an Armenian professor guest lecturer’s blatantly propagandistic views were presented to students At El Camino College as settled history, despite strenuous objections by the Turkish-Americans present.

For years, LAT and NYT kept printing editorial after op-ed after news article every April, some simply paraphrasing Armenian claims demonizing Turkey, rarely printed Turkish-Americans’ rebuttals, if at all. Frustrated by this censorship, more than 300 Turkish intellectuals signed a statement in April of 2001 presenting their views which the NYT refused to publish even as a paid statement on grounds that “It was against the generally accepted norms and conventional wisdom.”

GNP (an arm of LAT published in Armenian dominated Glendale) even sent a pre-emptive message to this Turkish-American writer that his letters would no longer be published so he need not bother writing them.

Every April, PBS stations would air partisan documentaries produced by Armenian and/or pro-Armenian filmmakers despite ever increasing chorus of Turkish-Americans requesting equal time to respond to unproven allegations in them.

Holocaust museums that are supposed to foster tolerance in America yield under the Armenian pressure and invite only Armenian speakers carefully designed events to define the Turkish-Armenian conflict with zero input about the other side of the story.

There are many more such examples of prejudice censorship which paint a different picture about the practice of free speech in America. The message by these unfortunate partisan acts, heard loud and clear, time and again, is that if your speech opposes generally accepted norms, challenges conventional wisdom, and questions consensus, then it will be censored. If this means speech is curtailed, so be it. And the messengers, mainly opinion makers in media, academia, politics, and elsewhere, seem to have no qualms about trampling upon the free speech rights of Americans, mainly of Turkish descent but others too, which can only point to their anti-Turkish and/or anti-Muslim prejudice and blatant bigotry.




Turkey: Journalist's Death Puts Focus On Nationalism
Yigal Schleifer
EurasiaNet, NY
Jan 22 2007
The murder of a prominent and outspoken ethnic Armenian journalist has sent shock waves throughout Turkey, raising questions about whether a recent nationalist upsurge has taken a violent turn. The killing threatens to pose a serious challenge to the government's already embattled democratization and political reform efforts.

The journalist, Hrant Dink, was the editor of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper Agos and a vocal critic of Turkey's treatment of its religious minorities and of its policy of rejecting claims that the mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 was genocide.

Dink was put on trial several times for "insulting" Turkish identity with his writings; in 2005 he was convicted in one of the cases and handed a suspended six-month prison sentence.

The editor was shot three times in broad daylight near the entrance to the newspaper's offices in Istanbul on January 19. A teenage suspect from the Black Sea city of Trabzon, Ogun Samast, has confessed to the shooting, police have announced. Samast is not known to have links to any militant organizations, according to officials.

"Those who created nationalist sentiment in Turkey have fed such a monster that there are many youngsters on the streets who do not find the ... state nationalist enough and are ready to take the law into their own hands," columnist Ismet Berkan wrote on January 20 in Radikal, one of Turkey's main dailies, about the murder.

The last few years have seen Turkey engaged in a deep internal struggle. On the one hand, the country's drive towards European Union membership has resulted in significant political reforms, particularly regarding democratization and human rights, and the freeing up of the debate on what had previously been taboo subjects, such as the 1915 killing of ethnic Armenians.

On the other hand, the EU-related reforms have been met with a strong nationalist backlash. Nationalist lawyers and prosecutors, for example, have been able to use a law, known as article 301, to charge writers and journalists like Dink and Nobel Prize for Literature laureate Orhan Pamuk with the crime of insulting the state as a way of stifling the emerging debates and putting the brakes on Turkey's EU bid.

"In a sense, both sides have been sharpening their axes, thinking that the EU question is the final intellectual battle in Turkey," said Ali Carkoglu, a professor of political science at Istanbul's Sabanci University. "It touches on everything that is salient in Turkish politics: the Islam vs. secularism debate, democratization and the extent to which individual human rights are to be protected."

"These [anti-EU] groups seem to have nothing more than the argument that some views are bad and should not be voiced," he added.

For many Turks, the killing of Dink harkens back to the turbulent 1970's and 1980's, when journalists and intellectuals were frequently the victims of ideologically inspired violence. Although Turkey has moved forward, some wonder whether Dink's murder is an indication that the political gains made over the last few years have yet to be consolidated.

"By Turkish standards, [Dink] was playing in a way that the nationalists were not used to. In a way, he took too many risks, he underestimated his opponents," said Rifat Bali, an independent Istanbul-based researcher who studies Turkey's minority communities.

"The message of the murder is 'You shut up, know your limits as an Armenian or a non-Muslim and do not go public often and repeatedly, otherwise it will turn out bad for you.'"

"Some of the ultranationalist core of Turkey has not changed," Bali continued. "It is a militant core that is ready, if necessary, to murder its ideological opponents."

Unlike in the past, Turkey's government promptly responded to the murder, sending top officials to oversee the investigation. The quick arrest of Samast is also being seen as positive sign, since in the past perpetrators of such crimes were rarely caught. The teenager's father identified his son for the police after seeing a television broadcast of a clip from a security camera that showed the gunman fleeing the scene.

"A bullet has been fired at democracy and freedom of expression. I condemn the traitorous hands behind this disgraceful murder," Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on television soon after Dink was murdered. "This was an attack on our peace and stability."

But experts here say the murder poses a major challenge for the Turkish government, led by the moderately Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP). With its EU bid already suffering -- negotiations with Brussels have been partially suspended since November -- the killing of a journalist who had already been the target of legal proceedings that were strongly condemned by the EU will only increase the pressure on Ankara and further tarnish its image in Europe. [For details, see the Eurasia Insight archive].

"The image problem was already bad and this can only make it worse.

Turkey will be seen as a country not only curtailing freedom of expression, but the country that can also produce people who will assassinate writers and thinkers," said Suat Kiniklioglu, director of the German Marshall Fund's office in Turkey.

"The atmosphere that [prompted] this person to go after Hrant Dink with a gun was really the result of the atmosphere created by the trials brought on by article 301," Kiniklioglu said. "In that respect, the government will need now to really take article 301 seriously."

Outside of the offices of Agos, an Armenian word that refers to a place where a seed is growing, a makeshift memorial has been created near the spot where Dink was gunned down. The night following the journalist's murder, a crowd of more than 100 people gathered at the site, at one point some of them chanting, "We are all Hrant. We are all Armenians."

Armenian political leaders and the media have harshly condemned the murder, with many arguing that the slaying indicates that Turkey is ill-suited for membership in the European Union. On January 22, a series of youth organizations marched to the European Union's mission in Yerevan to protest Dink's death, with one placard proclaiming "Turkey, your hands are in blood," the online news service PanArmenian.Net reported.

A press release on the Agos website states that the Agos's aim was to promote understanding between Turkey and Armenia. Dink, who founded the paper in 1996, used his last few columns to write about his legal woes. "For me, 2007 is likely to be a hard year," he wrote in one column. "The trials will continue, new ones will be started. Who knows what other injustices I will be up against."

In his final column, Dink wrote about the increasing amount of hate mail he was getting, including one letter that scared him enough that he went to a local prosecutor to ask for protection, although without any luck.

Although he opposed the official Turkish position on the Armenian question, Dink was also a strong critic of the Armenian Diaspora and what he saw as its obsession with vilifying Turkey.

"I don't know anyone else like him who raised his voice for minorities and democracy in Turkey," commented Murat Celikkan, a veteran Turkish journalist and human rights activist. "Intellectually he was a very important figure for Turkey. We don't have anyone else like him."

Editor's Note: Yigal Schleifer is a freelance journalist based in Istanbul.




Killing of Hrant Dink and Fr Santono: too many similarities
AsiaNews.it, Italy

In both cases, killers are from Trabzon, are minors, have ties with far-right circles, have no regrets and said they were acting in the nation's defence. A Christian accuses Turkish newspapers: "You killed him," by denying the genocide of the Armenians and refusing a historical inquest.


Istanbul (AsiaNews) - A teenager has been arrested and has confessed to the murder of the Turkish journalist of Armenian origin, Hrant Dink. Ogun Samast, who turns 18 at the end of January, has not expressed any regret for his actions. A certain resemblance to the circumstances of the murder of Fr Andrea Santoro is, to say the least, remarkable: both murders were committed by persons from Trabzon, both of whom are minors and drop-outs from school and have ties with untra-nationalist environs; neither has displayed any sign of regret. The motivation for both was the idea of defending their nation.

In one newspaper, a Christian accuses the Turkish newspapers of being those truly responsible for the killing.

"As a patriot," Samast said, "I was hurt by the words that I found on Internet of the Armenian journalist and I do not regret my actions. If I could, I would do it again. I decided that I would kill him and I did so." These are the first words of a blood-chilling confession, and the murder appears to have been premeditated for months with the murderer having practised his shooting skills in a wooded area just outside of Trabzon, the city in which Samast lived with his family. This according to his friend, Yasin Hayal, who happens to also have a criminal record for having bombed a McDonald's restaurant, again in Trabzon. That incident dates back to October 2004 when, during the month of Ramadan, "disgusted by a birthday party that was being held by some high school students in the restaurant," Yasin did not hesitate to launch a bomb that seriously injured five children and another six persons. He was sentenced and imprisoned, but, after 11 months, he was released on bail.

It seems that Ogun had met with him 3 days before the murder and that his friend had urged him to kill without mercy on the grounds that "no one can offend our race."

Thus, Samast went to Istanbul and after the Friday prayer at a mosque waited two hours for the journalist to shoot him in cold blood at a distance of not even one metre.

Relatives and friends of the assassin were shocked by the news, saying that it was impossible that the young man could have done such a thing. The uncle whom Samast had visited before committing the murder says that his nephew is "like a child, who doesn't even know how to get around Istanbul; he dropped out of middle school, can't keep a job and is always broke." According to his uncle, there must be an organization behind him that incited and guided him step by step.

Various newspapers today are also asking the big question: how could a teenager have committed this murder which seems to be the work of a professional, considering also the pistol and the ammunition used?

Ten people are currently being questioned in Istanbul, but so far police authorities have yet to release any official declaration on probable political implications, even though many Turkish journalists have suggested that the ultra-nationalist youth association BBP (Great Union Party) is behind everything.

All have commented on the remarkable resemblance of this murder to that of Fr Andrea Santoro not even a year ago.

Is it all just a coincidence?

Once again the city of Trabzon is in the spotlight.

A port city on the Black Sea with approximately one million inhabitants, Trabzon had historically been known as a cosmopolitan city given the peaceful coexistence of the different cultures, races and religions, after the enormous and painful exchange of populations between the Turks and the Greeks, mandated by Ataturk at the beginning of the past century. It gradually became more and more a closed, nationalistic and religiously fanatical city. According to Abdurrahaman Yildirim of the Sabah newspaper, the country's big economic crisis in 2001 worsened the situation and the city has yet to recover. Unemployment is high and teenagers and young people often gather in gangs to pass the time. The general situation in the city seems to be getting worse and worse and this could explain why the city has become a centre for violent nationalistic organizations that feed on prevailing anger and discontent.

In fact, Adem Solak, lecturer at the Black Sea University and therapist of Fr Andrea's killer, had warned, after the assassination of the Roman priest, that similar incidents could occur again in Trabzon and had invited relevant civil authorities to deal with the city's youth issues, citing the problem of the lack of any educational programme aimed at wayward young people who model their behaviour and opinions solely on media sources that preach fanaticism, nationalistic pride and that incite them to make heroic gestures as a means to emerge from the anonymity to which they are otherwise condemned.

Fittingly significant is the intense reaction of a Christian who for obvious reasons wishes to remain anonymous: "You have killed him...yes, Dink was killed by those of you who raise your voices like swords against all those who speak of the genocide of the Armenians...You have fueled these nationalistic groups...those of you who do not accept a historical-scientific inquest into the Armenian tragedy...They are fanatical but you are nationalistic...ready to condemn anyone who uses the word Turkey in vain. Enough with saving an image; now is the time to begin redeeming freedom of thought in the country...they kill and you provide the template for a way of thinking that provides an excuse for killing. You did this also with Fr Andrea... with all your accusations against Christians, against so-called missionaries, against priests...If only I could say these works openly without fear of being killed...You have dug a grave and have fallen in it. Down with ideology...historical truth is based on a scientific method. Down with slander. Be more concerned with the goodness of the state than with the good name of the state. Now you too are afraid...be careful of what you write, and how you say things... That man was condemned by your own laws, a man whom you yourselves are defending today for his courage, his freedom of thought, his love for the place in which he was born and died, and for which he died. You have defended him because you want to defend yourselves but this was not done for Fr Andrea...how many slanderous articles are still before our eyes...he was a priest, different from you. Let's save diversity in this country."

Hrant Dink's funeral will be held tomorrow in Istanbul. The funeral procession will begin at 11 a.m. and a civil ceremony will be held in front of the doorway of Agos' editorial offices, the scene of the murder. The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. at the Armenian church of Kumkapi, dedicated to the Mother of God, seat of the Armenian patriarchate where less than a month ago Pope Benedict XVI visited and prayed.

Foreign minister Abdullah Gul officially invited the Armenian ambassador and the European and American religious leaders of the Armenian diaspora, announcing that the Turkish government will cover all costs for the ceremony and for hospitality.

This decision was taken after the minister spoke with New York's Armenian Archbishop Barsamyan to extend a warm invitaiton to "make a historic gesture of communion." An invitation that was accepted and that can be considered the first fruit of Hrant Dink's death.




Police: 2 Confess in Journalist Killing
By BENJAMIN HARVEY
Associated Press
Jan 22 2007
ISTANBUL, Turkey - A nationalist militant convicted of bombing a McDonald's restaurant in 2004 has confessed to inciting the killing of an ethnic Armenian journalist last week, police said Monday.

Yasin Hayal told police he provided a gun and money to the teenager who is suspected of carrying out Friday's shooting, the Hurriyet newspaper reported, citing police records.

The teenager, Ogun Samast, was arrested over the weekend along with several other people and has confessed to fatally shooting the journalist, according to a chief prosecutor.

Police confirmed the confession, but gave no details.

Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah of Istanbul said Monday that the suspect was linked to Hayal.

If accurate, Hayal's reported statements to police would be a strong indication that the journalist, Hrant Dink, was targeted because of his public statements on the mass killings of Armenians by Turks in the early 20th century, one of the nation's most sensitive and divisive issues.

Istanbul Gov. Muammer Guler said prosecutors were still investigating whether the suspect was linked to any organization, although Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah had said earlier that there was "no political or organizational dimension" to the slaying.

Dink, the 52-year-old editor of the Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, had made public his view that the killings amounted to genocide.

Nationalists consider such statements an insult to Turkey's honor and a threat to its unity, and Dink had been showered with insults and death threats.

Dink was gunned down outside his newspaper's office in Istanbul on Friday _ a killing that has drawn attention to the precarious state of freedom of expression in a country vying for European Union membership.

Turkey has no diplomatic ties with Armenia but still invited Armenian officials and religious leaders as well as moderate members of the diaspora to the funeral on Tuesday.

The Vienna-based International Press Institute said the killing was "a terrible event for Turkish press freedom." It urged Turkey to eliminate its laws inhibiting dialogue about the Armenian killings, as well as those that make insulting Turkishness a crime.

Police took Samast, who is 16 or 17, to the crime scene late Sunday and prosecutors asked him to describe how he killed Dink, the Anatolia news agency reported on Monday. A small crowd of onlookers shouted at the suspect, "We're all Hrants. We're all Armenians!"

Hayal was convicted in the bombing of a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon in 2004 that injured six people. He was released after serving more than 10 months in prison. At the time, police could not establish a link between Hayal and any underground groups, and his motive was never clear.

Turkey's relationship with its Armenian minority has long been haunted by a bloody past. Much of its once-influential Armenian population was killed or driven out beginning around 1915 in what an increasing number of nations are calling the first genocide of the 20th century.

Turkey acknowledges that large numbers of Armenians died but vehemently denies it was genocide, saying the overall figure is inflated and the deaths occurred in the civil unrest during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser and Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara contributed to this report.




Ertugrul Ozkok:Why Hrant Dink's murderer didn't throw away the gun
Yesterday morning at a meeting here at the newspaper, we argued. One of our female collegues even stood up and left the meeting. The argument started over some comments I made about Hrant Dink's murderer.

For days now, I have been saying, as I flip from channel to channel watching the coverage of this murder, "I hope this turns out to be an organized crime. It will be much more difficult if it turns out to be the work of a 'neighborhood thug.'"

But as it turns out, it was exactly what I feared. The murderer turned out to be a not-even-20-year old teenager, a teenager encouraged by an elder in the neigborhood to take on this mission. I can see so clearly what his psychology was. He didn't even take care to discard two of the most important pieces of evidence following the murder; his white beret and the gun he had used.

Even the police were amazed. But it is clear why he hadn't gotten rid of these crucial pieces of evidence: he was returning to Trabzon. Once there, he was going to boast to his friends "I killed Hrant Dink." Most likely, many of these friends wouldn't even believe him. Which is why he was bringing back the white beret (which had been seen on all the video footage that caught him as he was running away after shooting Dink) and the gun: to convince them.

* * *

What scares me is this spiritual state. If it were an organized act of murder, either the state intelligence agency or the security forces might have broken into it. But who can we go after when it turns out to be just one person? Shall we break into the neighborhood, or shut down the city? Anyway, at the meeting at our Hurriyet offices, this is what I was explaining.

I said "If we really want to solve this business, we need to develop our feelings of empathy. We need to try and understand that kid from the Trabzon neighborhood. If someone who holds strong feelings of support for the Republic is uncomfortable with being called a "traitor to the nation," then we need to consider that other people might be uncomfortable with other terminology."

Maybe we should start to think about how stressing the negative aspects to nationalism might make people uncomfortable.....I was describing all this in the meeting. But some of my collegues knew Hrant Dink personally. And they reacted, showing that today might not have been the day to bring all this up. I understand well. I lost many friends in the period leading up to September 12.

* * *

Maybe I should have written this column after Hrant Dink's funeral. But I figured there was nothing to lose. As a society, we are facing an enormous problem. There is a climate of hatred which is being nurtured in the cities of Anatolia and in our poorer, back hill, outskirt areas. We need to start thinking about how we can put out these flames of hatred, from today. I think we need to save ourselves from this "culture of blame." People need to stop accusing eachother of being traitors to the nation, of being this and being that. And on the other side, people have to stop labeling those who express their love for country and flag "racists fascists."

* * *

A very serious "back hills-outskirts pyschology" threatens us all. Yesterday it was a priest. Today it's one of our Armenian citizens. Tomorrow, another one of us. The psychopaths from these city-outskirts have picked up the scent of blood and fame. In order to stop this, we have to search deep. And before accusing others, we have to take a look at ourselves. Yes, this is where we need to start if we want an honest and true solution.




The Turks may be learning. Are we?
"Nairi Hakhverdian" nairih@gmail.com
Jan 23, 2007
The day of Hrant Dink's funeral is almost over. We're all mourning his death, even as many of us disagreed with many of his views while he was still alive.

The Turks have taken over the streets of Istanbul. At least for a few days, the Turks seem to have been learning something from Dink's death, whatever it may be.

Our intellectuals and columnists have been expounding conspiracy theories, accusations towards Turkish hypocrisy, and wondering how quickly this Turkish "folly" will pass, and how fast things will return to what they once were before Hrant's death.

The entire world and Armenians have their eyes set on Turkey. We hope that Dink's unfortunate murder will teach Turkey something of itself--something that will benefit Armenians, naturally.

The question I have is: what lessons are Armenians to draw from Dink's murder? Are we going to continue allowing our undemocratic government to exist? How many Armenian journalists still need to be beaten to silence or self-censorship in Armenia and the diaspora until we walk the streets en masse chanting "We are all responsible for our own fate"?

What lessons are Armenians to draw from Dink's murder? Which of our columnists is going to be the first to address this question? And which Armenian will be the first to listen?

Nairi




Mourners reconcile at Dink funeral
Up to 100,000 people walked through İstanbul yesterday to bid farewell to slain journalist Hrant Dink in a funeral where appeal for reconciliation competed with grief over the loss of a respected member of Turkey's Armenian community.

Turkish and Armenian officials joined mourners who filled streets of İstanbul on an eight-kilometer route. "It is mystical that his funeral turned into an occasion where Armenian and Turkish officials gathered together. He would have been happy to see this turn into real dialogue," Patriarch Mesrob II, the spiritual leader of Turkey's Armenian community, told mourners at a private church service.

Dink was widely acclaimed as a voice of reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, but he was loathed by radicals on both sides. He seemed, though, to have achieved that to a certain extent in his death: Turkey has no diplomatic ties with Armenia but still invited Armenian officials and religious leaders as well as moderate members of the diaspora to the funeral. Armenia sent Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian. The Armenian Orthodox Church sent US-based Bishop Khazkah Parsamian. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, primate of the Eastern diocese of the Armenian Church of America, and a delegation from the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France were also in attendance.

Absent from the funeral were Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who were hosting the visiting Italian prime minister and Polish president, respectively. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin and Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu represented the Turkish government in the ceremony.
Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Armenia from the former Soviet Union, but it refuses to have diplomatic ties with the landlocked country and keeps its border gate closed in protest of Armenia's occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan, and its support for Armenian diaspora efforts to win international recognition for an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

In yesterday's funeral, mourners carried identical black-and-white signs reading "We are all Hrant Dink" and "We are all Armenians" as they walked from Agos headquarters to an Armenian cemetery in Yenikapı in one of the biggest funerals ever held in İstanbul.

White doves, which Dink had likened himself to in his last column before his death, were released into the air as somber music played. Much of downtown Istanbul was closed to traffic.

Dink wrote in his last column that he was like a pigeon, living with anxiety and fear among the human crowds, but concluded that he was still free as "people don't touch pigeons" in this country.

Dink drew hatred from ultranationalists, who viewed him as traitor because he called the killing of Armenians in Ottoman Anatolia during the World War I years "genocide." He was an unpopular figure among Armenian radicals as well since he called for reconciliation with Turks.

"Hrant Dink was a great advocate in the country for freedom of speech and for reconciliation, in particular between Armenians and Turks," said Ross Wilson, the US ambassador to Turkey, on the sidelines of the funeral procession.

"He was one of the many advocates here for a more liberal Turkey," Wilson said. "All of them are making a statement about the kind of country they want Turkey to be. Judging by what you see on the streets, he did bring the people together."

Seventeen-year-old Ogün Samast, an unemployed secondary school graduate, confessed to killing Dink because he had said "Turkish blood is dirty."
Police are questioning seven suspects, including Samast and Yasin Hayal, a nationalist militant convicted in a 2004 bomb attack at a McDonald's restaurant. Hayal has confessed to inciting the slaying and providing a gun and money to the teenager, according to police.

The suspects also include a university student who allegedly "inspired" the attack, daily Hürriyet reported Tuesday. Police confirmed the report but gave no details. A firm motive has yet to be established, but many believe Dink was killed for expressing his views.

In an emotional speech to the crowd in front of the Agos office, Rakel Dink called for a deeper search for answers to the killing. "Seventeen or 27, whoever he was, the murderer was once a baby," said Rakel Dink in her emotional speech. "Unless we can question how this baby grew into a murderer, we cannot achieve anything."
Remembering her husband, she said, "You have left ... your loved ones, but you have not left your country."
"Nothing was taboo or untouchable for him," Rakel Dink also said. Dink was killed because of "his love of truth, transparency and friendship," she said, adding that "Neither darkness, nor fear nor death will make us forget.

301 protests
Dink had requested a silent funeral in his will, but some mourners shouted: "Shoulder to shoulder against fascism" as and "Murderer 301" -- a reference to the law under which Dink had been sentenced to a six-month suspended imprisonment for "insulting Turkishness."

Among the intellectuals dragged to court over Article 301 was novelist Orhan Pamuk, who last year won the Nobel Prize in literature. Such prosecutions have alarmed the European Union, which Turkey aspires to join.
The government has signaled readiness to reconsider the controversial article, which the EU says restricts freedom of expression, but so far there has been no concrete step in that direction. Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek was non-committal yesterday as he advised "talk[ing] about this later" when he was asked by journalists about prospects for abolishment of the infamous article.

Thousands of policemen were on duty for the ceremony and sharp-shooters could be seen positioned on the rooftops of nearby buildings as the authorities cancelled all police leave and called in reinforcements from nearby cities.

24.01.2007
İstanbul Today’s Zaman




Crying together in our common pain
BULENT KENES b.kenes@todayszaman.com
The Turkish nation has claimed our Armenian citizen and colleague Hrant Dink, who was shot to death by bullets from the gun of a traitor. While the whole nation was mourning this loss, authorities were fast to take action and caught the ruthless hit man in less than a day. Now all expectations are concentrated on the efforts to unearth the network of hate behind the young killer.

There is a Turkish idiom: “Fire burns where it hits -- a calamity grieves its victim.” Although the killing of Hrant, whose name means “living fire” in Armenian, burnt his family the worst, I hope they find consolation in seeing that a 75-million strong nation shares their pain.

Just as love multiplies when shared, pains also diminish when shared, so long as we know how to share them. Let us cleanse ourselves of selfishness and ego-centered ideas. This is what really must be done in personal as well as social relations.

What good is there in looking at international pains that have become indelible parts of history from one’s own angle, in crying for one’s own losses and in convicting the ones behind those social devastations without judging and assessing all aspects of the situation? Is it really so difficult to empathize and show some understanding?
It goes without saying that the nations who once lived as brothers under Ottoman rule and who shared a single destiny became fractured through the provocation of some western countries. It was all of us who eventually lost. Not only did Armenians die in World War I, but Turks did as well. So did Kurds and Arabs. And Frenchmen and Russians and Germans. Is there any nation who did not lose someone that cries for their pain only?
How could any rational person believe that Turks inflicted this inhuman atrocity on the Armenians during their weakest era, whereas there were never problems between the Armenian community and the Turks when the Ottomans were the greatest power in the world?

People from all religions and races lived inside Ottoman boundaries freely and in peace, while the history of genocides and ethnic cleansing dates back to the past of Europe. If it had ever crossed the mind of Turks to perpetrate genocide against Armenians, I’m sure that they would have done this long before the 1900’s, instead while at the zenith of their power while no one could oppose such an action.

In fact, Turks have always been a shelter for the oppressed, repressed and those subjected to genocide throughout history, and surely never even thought of perpetrating genocide against a certain race. The Jews of Spain know this fact very well, and you can ask Iraqi peshmergas who have lately come to witness what “the compassion of the Turks’ means;” just to mention few of the innumerous examples.

On the other hand, historical data clearly demonstrates that Armenians were never the majority in Anatolia. If they had ever been the majority, as claimed, they would never have taken up arms. The only way to seize the control of the region where they lived as the minority seemed to them to be perpetrating ethnic cleansing against the Turks, and the Armenians of the time did try to do this.

Armenians claim that Turks perpetrated genocide against them and massacred 1.5 million Armenians. As a matter of fact, according to the results of a very reliable population census conducted in 1913, the number of Armenians living in Anatolia was about 1.3 million! This shows how groundless and inconsistent the claims are. The real number of Armenians who died under warfare is estimated to be around 300,000. This, we must accept, is no small number either.

Now, let’s take up the matter through someone else’s pain. Doing this, we can easily conclude that the real genocide was perpetrated against Muslims. A total number of 5.5 million Muslims, most of them Turks, were killed in World War I. And around the same number were forced to emigrate.

It is a fact that Armenians, who were forced into emigration by the persisting warfare and epidemic diseases, lost also a big number of citizens. However, it is another fact that the total number of Armenians killed in attacks at Armenian convoys by Muslims in retaliation for the previous massacres perpetrated by them, is at most 10,000.
Also, deaths from epidemic diseases in those years were so common that the British army lost 188,000 soldiers, the French army 179,000 and the Russian army 395,000 and it is very well known that the Ottoman army lost a greater number of soldiers to epidemic diseases. It is also known that Armenians, too, lost an important number of people to such diseases.

Historical documents prove that the Ottomans not only never perpetrated any massacre, but also tried and convicted 1,397 Turks for attacking emigrating Armenians convoys. This is the one and only example in the history of humanity; a state establishes a court in wartime and tries its citizens for committing crimes against other nations...

It is best to forget about all of this. Just as we claim Hrant now, we must also claim Mehmet and Georgo. It is best to diminish the pains of this land by leaning against one another’s shoulder. Let’s cry altogether for our pain; not individually; because, no one’s pain and suffering is bigger or smaller than another’s.

24.01.2007




The face of a phantom
TAMER KORKMAZ t.korkmaz@todayszaman.com
Focusing on a portrait of Ogün Samast, the triggerman in assassination of Hrant Dink, and trying to explain how it happened is the plan of those who plotted the incident. This assassination is not just the outcome of a “personal decision” to carry out an armed attack by the “bully of the block who set himself a mission”; it is not an individual act.

If there were no Twilight Zone scenario behind the curtains, there would not have been the “mediator” -- the “big brother” “pumping up the blood” and encouraging Ogün Samast.
It is impossible to reach the center from whence this plot and the ideas and political reasons emerged by focusing only on the triggerman, or the second link to the end or the one before it.
It is very sad to hear the mother of this triggerman begging her son to reveal the people who made him do it.
The producers, scenarists and directors of Ogün Samast’s assassination movie remain unknown.

* * *
“Like many journalists and analysts said, Hrant was not assassinated for mixing/ troubling Turkey or for disrupting stability in the country. Hrant was murdered because the hand of fascism grabbed Turkey’s daily life” are the “revolutionists” emotional reactions, which actually are helping the provocateurs’ aim.
The “Great Hand” that decided to assassinate Abdi İpekçi wrote a scenario in which the role of triggerman was given to “idealist” M.Ali Ağca. In this way, they directed the public to Ağca’s political etiquette and took under protection the secrecy of the real assassination planners hidden behind the curtains. At that time and later on, the “fascism-fascists” were blamed for İpekçi ‘s assassination, and it was very easy to “board the bus” filled by Uncle Sam and collaborators from inside/within. For any journalist researching the İpekçi assassination and not holding back from learning the truth, it is impossible not to notice that this assassination was a counter-guerilla act carried out on a NATO/CIA base.

For this reason, for example, the evidence and connections of the İpekci assassination left by Turkey’s Milliyet daily could be a very good start for questioning why this assassination couldn’t be/wasn’t investigated and trying to uncover the reality/ center of these ideas.

In this last provocation we all say, ‘Let’s see how far it will go; it should go all to the bottom.” But are we all for this? Or to rephrase it, “Will we be brave enough to look and see the face of the phantom?”
Unfortunately I cannot answer “yes” to this question.

The reason is very simple: The behavior of the community, the political structure, the media and others really wanting to uncover the “Deep Mechanism” -- the inducer of all counter-guerrilla acts before the 1980s -- which lives as two spirits in one body with the other side of the Atlantic, would be completely different.
Yet again, a load that could fill dozens of Susurluk “trucks” with “irregular war” perpetrators acting like they are working against this same mechanism but who are actually helping it to cover up is our “Dominant Media.”
The Hrank Dink assassination and the attack on the Council of State are the same. This provocation was the final attempt of international and internal allies to grab power.

By assassinating Hrant Dink they shot into our hearts yet couldn’t achieve their real goal. It was impossible because “There is no return/giving up on/from ‘Independent Turkey’!”
24.01.2007




Turning point?
YAVUZ BAYDAR y.baydar@todayszaman.com
So, it was time to pay our deepest respects to our dear colleague, Hrant Dink, yesterday. With heavy hearts, in pain and with tears, full of memory, we sent him to his peaceful rest. He will always be with us, remembered, guiding us for the truth and giving us courage. Without doubt, the assassination shocked the entire nation, causing a mental paralysis amongst the elite and intellectuals, who up until recently expressed hope in the reform process Turkey has been going through.

In a day, the optimism has left us with uncertainty taking its place, along with a long chain of questions about the future of democracy here. Fear has spread itself, like a virus, among those who wanted to believe in better days.

Fear is a disease. When it catches you, it does not let you go… It is apparent the gloom is here to stay, not letting go.

The question now is: What might the impact of the heinous act be? It is a complicated question… The murder follows a halt of the EU process with Turkey, due mainly to Cyprus. Its immediate consequence will be, naturally, on the future of relations between Turkey and EU.

In his staunch stand against the restrictions and persecutions based on Article 301, Hrant Dink, through a decision by the high court, had given his name to a case, now a precedent for how “denigrating Turkishness” has been interpreted by the judiciary here. This made him a symbol for the struggle of free speech, and now, with the murder, another symbol. Dink’s case is now identified with all the cases related to free speech, becoming even more of a problem for EU. Lus remembeR . . .

Free speech has been dominating the debate in Turkey ever since the negotiation process was initiated. As the reforms intensified, resistance against those who challenged taboos became solidified, creating a front consisting of former hard-liner communists, fascists, ultranationalists and militarists. Fiercely backed by some aggressive segments of the Turkish media, the debate had become vulgarized and led to a sharp polarization in the society. Unemployed youth, hooliganized, turned into soft elements for dangerous manipulations for desperate anti-EU circles.

Possibly the worst element in this picture was the lack of a rational opposition which would only push the government into more reforms. But unfortunately, as many reformists would easily tell you, the main opposition party, the so-called “social democratic” -- though unfortunately still a member of Socialist International -- CHP joined the ranks of the reactionaries and backed 301, doing virtually nothing to help amend it. CHP not only left the charged intellectuals alone as soft targets in trials, it also fiercely stood against any reform involving expanded rights for non-Muslim minorities.

The CHP should be mainly blamed for the tragedy of Dink, whose destiny it could have prevented.
The question now remains whether Dink’s murder will give the government, now more vulnerable than ever, an opportunity to go further with progress.

If the Erdoğan government moves to amend 301, takes steps to open Turkish-Armenian border and starts talking to Yerevan, and digs staunchly into Dink investigation with full force to expose all dark forces that are undermining the efforts for a transparent democracy, it may turn the tide.

All it takes is boldness, an element lacking in Turkish politics, the absence of which each time leads to deja vu.
Otherwise, it may be a turning point with the dreams of the EU further fading away and Turkey being left “out” to deal with its past, being squeezed even more on the recognition of the Armenian genocide, left alone walking on the thin ice of internal turmoil and extremism.

If politicians in power do not see this coming, or ignore it, hoping that delays will help them, it means they are getting ready to shoot themselves in the foot again. But this time, it is much more delicate.
24.01.2007




Hrant Dink and Europe
BERIL DEDEOGLU b.dedeoglu@todayszaman.com
The assassination of Hrant Dink is considered a coup to EU-Turkey relations, according to the European press. It’s not possible to deny that this point of view is more or less correct, but in the meantime it reflects Europe’s generalist and minimizing approach. Europe is forcing Hrant to carry a burden, the same as Turkey did.

Hrant tried to change parameters in Turkey as well as in Europe. Through his Armenian identity, he worked in Turkey to resolve certain “humanitarian” issues and always argued that minority problems were a matter of existential importance. He rejected every kind of nationalism in order to do this. He was opposed to every lack of democratization in Turkey on the one hand, and on the other, he resisted the attitudes of the Armenians in Europe because of their “externalizing” behavior as well as the Armenians in Turkey for their opposition to becoming a more transparent community. He represented mutual tolerance, the will of transition and good sense in the EU-Turkey relationship. That’s why his death has traumatized both sides. After this murder, every one had the opportunity to think about extremist nationalism, including nationalism in Europe and within the diaspora. It also pointed out that one of the reasons for nationalism in Turkey stemmed from other people’s attitudes.

Hrant’s death had unexpectedly strong social repercussions in Turkey. Almost every one began to ask questions about this country’s political system and no one thought that the story of the murderer was convincing. Those who had understood and believed in Hrant’s opinions rallied in the streets. The first thing that came to mind was that we were faced with a murder perpetrated by “foreigners” who want to damage Turkey. This perception is the result of a distrust of things international in the country. There is also a feeling of shame that a Turkish citizen could commit such a disgraceful and cruel act. People’s reaction and protests were exacerbated by this embarrassment. Thus, Hrant showed all of us the other side of the coin, unfortunately, through his death.

The fact that Europe viewed this murder only as a killing and commented on the issue as a Turkey-EU relationship problem created some doubts about their real purpose. When this situation is analyzed as a Turkey-EU relationship matter, then the EU also joins in the injustices done to Hrant. This simplification will only serve to consolidate the nationalism of the European public through the “other.” Then Europe will make exactly the same mistake as Turkey did, transforming a person into a target because of the values attributed to him. It can serve as an argument by those who don’t want Turkey to join the EU; it will cause the prolongation of conflicts over “me” and “the other” and will simply create obstacles before the discussion of the “truths.”

However, another Turkey is appearing inside Turkey. The reactions exemplified a kind of good sense in society. Those who are reacting demand that Turkish society question its past itself and that the future must be different from now on. Maybe this incident is an important test. Those who share similar opinions need each other more than ever under these circumstances. Every segment of society is now capable of making the choice between winning and “externalizing” each other. It also represents an opportunity to lay a common ground between Turkey and Europe, one of rapprochement rather than reconciliation.
24.01.2007




301 is an embarrassment
SELCUK GULTASLI s.gultasli@todayszaman.com
Hrant Dink was tried and convicted under Article 301, which has become notorious for its damage to Turkey, Turks and Turkishness.

That is why I always said those who were responsible for the wording of 301 should be prosecuted under the same bill, for insulting Turkey, and then the article should be abolished without any further discussion, once and for all. There could not be any greater damage to Turkey than 301 has inflicted upon us in recent years.
It is ironic that 301 was drafted in the Turkish Penal Code when the law was being reformed for the sake of EU accession. The suspicion is that it was drafted to torpedo the EU accession process, and it is difficult to understand the way the AK Party has been handling the issue, i.e., to insist on waiting to see case law to emerge.
What is for sure is until a case law will be up and running, murders, convictions and embarrassments are emerging. A brief look at how 301 have been used, or rather misused, to restrict freedom of expression -- thus creating a huge anti-Turkish atmosphere, not only in the West but all over the world -- will present ample evidence that the very law itself is an insult to “Turkishness”

To cite just a few:
* Orhan Pamuk was tried for his interview with a Swiss newspaper on the Armenian tragedy of 1915, several months after the interview was published. Nobody understood why prosecutors waited for so long.

* Elif Şafak was in court when she was about to give a birth to a baby girl because of the fictitious characters she created in her novel, “The Bastard of İstanbul” I have not seen one single article or news story in the Western media that did not mock the Turkish judiciary for its prosecution of fictitious characters.
* İpek Çalişlar faced prosecutors simply because she wrote in a biography of Mustafa Kemal's wife Latife that Atatürk had once fled disguised as a woman. Many in the West asked, “Do Turks believe Atatürk was god incarnate?”
* Faruk Çakır, the managing editor of Yeni Asya daily, has been prosecuted for allegations of insulting the Turkish Armed Forces, arguing that the shooter who attacked Turkey's Council of State last May killing a judge was linked to an organization seeking a wider Turkic empire and that retired members of the Turkish Armed Forces had played a soliciting role in the shooting.

We could cite many more examples, but we have to underline one brazen fact: that is it was only Hrant Dink who was convicted under 301, adding salt to the wound. We have now lost him. We were not able to honor him while he was alive, but we can honor him now by abolishing this shameful article. That would be the worst punishment for his killers. Freedom of expression is the mother of civilization.
24.01.2007




Article 301 held responsible for Dink’s murder
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com
Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was shot dead on Friday, was laid to rest on Tuesday with the participation of thousands of mourners. The prime suspect in Dink's murder was captured in 24 hours. A 17-year-old secondary school graduate, unemployed Ogün Samast confessed to the murder and said he killed Dink due to his humiliating remarks about Turks. Dink had been previously tried for "insulting Turkishness" in the scope of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. It is evident that nationalist feelings prompted the killer and his masterminds, if there are any, to murder an Armenian known for his public statements, particularly his labeling the 1915 incidents as genocide. There is a commonly held view that if Dink had not appeared in court due to Article 301, he might still be alive today, but according to another view, such explanations are simply choosing the easy way out.

Vatan's Okay Gönensin blames Article 301 for playing a major role in Dink's murder. He thinks some circles forced Dink's trial under the article and that they wanted to make him a victim of such an assassination. Gönensin explains that it is necessary to consider the chain of actors leading up to Dink's murder such as the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, which failed to save Turkey from the calamity of Article 301, the Republican People's Party (CHP) opposition, the judiciary system that apparently forgot their purpose and members of judiciary who are prone to act with the provocations of street nationalists. He claims that all these people or institutions owe an account to society due to Dink's murder.

Posta's Mehmet Ali Birand asserts that the killer of Dink is Article 301. He says that the police may have managed to capture the killer who pulled the trigger, but the real killer would not be found. "Because we are the real killers of Dink," urges Birand. "We have nourished our murderers in a mindset and against a backdrop shaped by Article 301. We have handed them guns," he claims. Just like Gönensin, Birand criticizes defenders of Article 301, the members of the judiciary and the public prosecutor who said," I would like to get rid of the responsibility so I will file a lawsuit and let the court decide." He also recalls the public reaction at the time of the Armenian Conference. Birand admits that we have to change our mindset. He thinks that urgently changing Article 301 is necessary if we want to evolve as a society. "Only this way can we earn the forgiveness of Dink," adds Birand.

Milliyet's Fikret Bila's views differ from other columnists about holding Article 301 as the reason of Dink's murder. He thinks allegations such "defenders of Article 301 are responsible for this tragic event" are cheap and simple. "If one of the defenders of Article 301 is killed, who would be the killer then? Is it the defenders of the abolishment of Article 301?" he asks. Bila also directs criticism toward those who claim this murder was organized by the "deep state." He calls such allegations conspiracy theories and thinks that instead of making easy explanations by resorting to big conspiracies, it is necessary to ponder the reasons and atmosphere that resulted in murderers like Ogün Samast. Bila urges that it is necessary to go beneath the surface and try to eradicate the problems at its roots.
24.01.2007




Turkey’s Armenian tragedy
Is there a curse hanging over Turkey? Each time the country achieves sustained development, something trips it up. This time it was the assassination last Friday of Hrant Dink, a newspaper editor, peacemaker and one of Turkey’s most prominent Armenians.

Turkey is trying to rise to the challenge. Denunciations of the murder fill the airwaves, from the government to Islamic leaders to the army. Thousands of Turks marched through the streets hours after the shooting, shouting, “We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant Dink.”

Turkey’s credibility as a future EU member is at stake. A man who confesses to pulling the trigger has been caught -- a nationalist, by all accounts -- but no murkiness must remain about the people and the thinking behind the killing. Hrant Dink was not just left unprotected by the police. Bad laws, malevolent prosecutions and a growing nationalist hysteria created the lynch mob atmosphere that transformed the sweet-mannered Dink into a public enemy number one.

What killed Dink, in short, is the Turkish republic’s inability to deal with the Armenian issue -- the charge that its predecessor state, the Ottoman Empire, killed 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children in a 1915 genocide. Official Turkey is still stuck in a rut of denial. Efforts to open archives and to “leave it to the historians” lead into dead ends, partly because of intransigence in the Armenian diaspora but partly because of Turkey’s anti-free speech laws -- still extant in the form of Penal Code Article 301, with its catch-all penalties for “denigrating Turkishness.” Discussing the great omissions in Turkey’s public education remains taboo. Even as moderate a politician as Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül angrily rejects that there is any room for a Turkish apology.

That’s because the Turks have reasons to feel victimized themselves. Christian powers don’t apologize for ethnic cleansing carried out during the century until 1923, during which years they rolled back the borders of the Ottoman Empire. American historian Justin McCarthy estimates 5 million Muslims were killed. In 1915, World War I was raging. Turkey was again under attack from Russia in the east and Britain and France in the west. The Armenian leadership openly sided with Turkey’s enemies, forming anti-Ottoman militias and demanding a state on Ottoman land.

Turkey also fears that an apology would trigger claims on its land or on seized Armenian assets. Turks cannot believe the sincerity of foreign parliaments who, usually ill-informed about the Turkish case, give in to Armenian diaspora lobbying for genocide declarations. One such bill looks more likely than ever to pass the US Congress in April. Politics often seems to trump history. Would the French parliament have made it a crime last year to deny a “genocide” by the Turks if an unrelated desire to keep Turkey out of the EU had not been prevalent? Some Armenians’ maximal view of Turkish evil was even criticized by Hrant Dink. He once wrote that diaspora Armenians should spend their energy supporting an independent Armenia and not “let hatred of the Turks poison their blood.”
But Turkey has an attitude problem, too.

Idiotically, it was this newspaper column by Dink that caused him to be put on trial for violating Article 301, on the pretext that he had said that Turks were poisonous. Why is it, of all the Turkish authors charged with Article 301 offenses, that only Dink actually received a jail sentence (six months, suspended)? Three years ago, Dink says he was told “something will happen to you if you continue” by officials of the same Istanbul governor who now smugly suggests the police win a prize for their swift apprehension of the assassin. (The governor’s office denies making any threat). Commentators are subtly shirking responsibility by labeling the murder a “provocation” or blaming “outside forces.” Many expressed pain since Armenians were a “trust” under Turkey’s protection. It took one of Prime Minister Erdogan’s advisers, Omer Celik, to point out that they were not guests and “were as much owners of this country as Turks are.”

Neither Turks not Armenians should go on like this. Prime Minister Erdogan -- whose government was the first to grant Dink’s simple request for a Turkish passport -- could try a grand gesture. He might open the border with Armenia, closed since the early 1990s. He could advocate an international conference, where Turkey could argue its case that there was no centralized attempt to wipe out the Armenian race. After all, Turkey already officially accepts that 300,000 died. Recent years have also seen brave Turkish novels, films, exhibitions and academic conferences that addressed the gaping loss to Turkish society represented by the Armenian disappearance. Best of all, Erdogan could abolish Article 301, which made all intellectuals like Dink a target. What discussion can there be if Turkey drags anyone who deviates from the official line into court?

None of this, however, is likely to happen. Turkey has presidential and parliamentary elections this year, and ultranationalists pose the main challenge to Prime Minister Erdogan’s centrist, pro-Islamic AK Party. Europe -- whose support is critical in making a Turkish regime feel safe to reform -- seems in no mood to extend lines of political credit to Turkey.

So the gap between Turkey and Europe will widen again. Muddled thinking and inward-looking nationalism will continue to plague Turkey, and not only in its approach to the Armenian problem. After all, Dink’s murder is a symptom of the negative currents that persist, not their cause. And that, of course, is why Turkey’s curse keeps returning to strike with such tragic ease.

Hugh Pope is an Istanbul-based journalist. His latest book is “Sons of the Conquerors: the Rise of the Turkic World” (Overlook Duckworth 2005).

24.01.2007
HUGH POPE




Mourners reconcile at Dink funeral
Up to 100,000 people walked through İstanbul yesterday to bid farewell to slain journalist Hrant Dink in a funeral where appeal for reconciliation competed with grief over the loss of a respected member of Turkey's Armenian community.

Turkish and Armenian officials joined mourners who filled streets of İstanbul on an eight-kilometer route. "It is mystical that his funeral turned into an occasion where Armenian and Turkish officials gathered together. He would have been happy to see this turn into real dialogue," Patriarch Mesrob II, the spiritual leader of Turkey's Armenian community, told mourners at a private church service.

Dink was widely acclaimed as a voice of reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, but he was loathed by radicals on both sides. He seemed, though, to have achieved that to a certain extent in his death: Turkey has no diplomatic ties with Armenia but still invited Armenian officials and religious leaders as well as moderate members of the diaspora to the funeral. Armenia sent Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian. The Armenian Orthodox Church sent US-based Bishop Khazkah Parsamian. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, primate of the Eastern diocese of the Armenian Church of America, and a delegation from the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France were also in attendance.

Absent from the funeral were Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who were hosting the visiting Italian prime minister and Polish president, respectively. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin and Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu represented the Turkish government in the ceremony.
Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Armenia from the former Soviet Union, but it refuses to have diplomatic ties with the landlocked country and keeps its border gate closed in protest of Armenia's occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan, and its support for Armenian diaspora efforts to win international recognition for an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

In yesterday's funeral, mourners carried identical black-and-white signs reading "We are all Hrant Dink" and "We are all Armenians" as they walked from Agos headquarters to an Armenian cemetery in Yenikapı in one of the biggest funerals ever held in İstanbul.

White doves, which Dink had likened himself to in his last column before his death, were released into the air as somber music played. Much of downtown Istanbul was closed to traffic.

Dink wrote in his last column that he was like a pigeon, living with anxiety and fear among the human crowds, but concluded that he was still free as "people don't touch pigeons" in this country.
Dink drew hatred from ultranationalists, who viewed him as traitor because he called the killing of Armenians in Ottoman Anatolia during the World War I years "genocide." He was an unpopular figure among Armenian radicals as well since he called for reconciliation with Turks.

"Hrant Dink was a great advocate in the country for freedom of speech and for reconciliation, in particular between Armenians and Turks," said Ross Wilson, the US ambassador to Turkey, on the sidelines of the funeral procession.
"He was one of the many advocates here for a more liberal Turkey," Wilson said. "All of them are making a statement about the kind of country they want Turkey to be. Judging by what you see on the streets, he did bring the people together."

Seventeen-year-old Ogün Samast, an unemployed secondary school graduate, confessed to killing Dink because he had said "Turkish blood is dirty."

Police are questioning seven suspects, including Samast and Yasin Hayal, a nationalist militant convicted in a 2004 bomb attack at a McDonald's restaurant. Hayal has confessed to inciting the slaying and providing a gun and money to the teenager, according to police.

The suspects also include a university student who allegedly "inspired" the attack, daily Hürriyet reported Tuesday. Police confirmed the report but gave no details. A firm motive has yet to be established, but many believe Dink was killed for expressing his views.

In an emotional speech to the crowd in front of the Agos office, Rakel Dink called for a deeper search for answers to the killing. "Seventeen or 27, whoever he was, the murderer was once a baby," said Rakel Dink in her emotional speech. "Unless we can question how this baby grew into a murderer, we cannot achieve anything."

Remembering her husband, she said, "You have left ... your loved ones, but you have not left your country."
"Nothing was taboo or untouchable for him," Rakel Dink also said. Dink was killed because of "his love of truth, transparency and friendship," she said, adding that "Neither darkness, nor fear nor death will make us forget.

301 protests
Dink had requested a silent funeral in his will, but some mourners shouted: "Shoulder to shoulder against fascism" as and "Murderer 301" -- a reference to the law under which Dink had been sentenced to a six-month suspended imprisonment for "insulting Turkishness."

Among the intellectuals dragged to court over Article 301 was novelist Orhan Pamuk, who last year won the Nobel Prize in literature. Such prosecutions have alarmed the European Union, which Turkey aspires to join.
The government has signaled readiness to reconsider the controversial article, which the EU says restricts freedom of expression, but so far there has been no concrete step in that direction. Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek was non-committal yesterday as he advised "talk[ing] about this later" when he was asked by journalists about prospects for abolishment of the infamous article.

Thousands of policemen were on duty for the ceremony and sharp-shooters could be seen positioned on the rooftops of nearby buildings as the authorities cancelled all police leave and called in reinforcements from nearby cities.

24.01.2007
İstanbul Today’s Zaman




[Houston Chronicle]
Turkey, Armenia closer after slaying
The killing of an Armenian-Turkish editor in Istanbul last week and the sorrow it has generated within Turkey are leading to rare conciliatory gestures between Turkey and Armenia, historic enemies, and to calls for changes in laws here defending Turkish identity.
Despite the fact that the Armenian-Turkish border has been sealed since 1993 and diplomatic relations severed, Armenia is to send a deputy foreign minister to the funeral. Earlier, the Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisyan called for improved relations so that Armenia could "establish ties with Turkey with no preconditions," the Turkish news channel NTV reported. High Turkish government officials are to attend the funeral.

24.01.2007




[Montreal Gazette]
Journalist’s killing a test for Turkey
Turkish authorities moved quickly when Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink was murdered last week. Within a couple of days, police arrested a teenager who has reportedly confessed, and now investigators are trying to learn if "ultra-nationalist" groups were involved.

That's good news. Unfettered police work and full disclosure are the marks of a state ruled by law. It is also encouraging that thousands of Turks joined a spontaneous public march of mourning to the offices of Dink's newspaper Agos. Dink upset his 17-year-old killer by using the word "genocide," and defending others who did so, about the killing of as many as 1.5 million Armenians about 90 years ago during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. "Genocide" is now widely accepted around the world. But many in Turkey still deny any attempt at genocide. And the Turkish state, moving well beyond healthy historical skepticism, has made it a crime to "insult Turkishness" by speaking of this genocide. Hesitating in the doorway to the modern world, Turkey is wrestling with itself about many aspects of its identity, not least acceptance of its own history.

24.01.2007




'Hrant's death united us'
Irazca Geray - The New Anatolian / Istanbul
24 January 2007
An unprecedented throng of thousands joined yesterday's Istanbul memorial procession honoring the memory of weekly Agos Editor in Chief Hrant Dink and bidding the assassinated journalist farewell.

Starting in the early hours, tens of thousands of people walked in groups to Osmanbey from all over the city to reach the offices of Agos, Dink's Turkish-Armenian paper, where the ceremony started at 11 a.m. with speeches delivered in the name of the editor's family.

The body of the assassinated journalist was laid to rest at the Balikli Armenian Cemetery.

The funeral was held on the fifth day after the prominent journalist of Armenian descent was slain at the entrance of his newspaper's office in broad daylight on Friday. A 17-year-old suspect, who has been caught, already confessed to the killing, while the general belief is that he is only a pawn used to silence Dink, who was outspoken about the mass killings of Armenians in the early 20th century and encouraged reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia as well as fighting for the freedom to express his thoughts. After ultranationalist layer Kemal Kerincsiz filed a complaint against Dink for violating controversial Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301 on charges of insulting "Turkishness," Dink started receiving an increasing amount of threats both to his and his family's life as he was seen as a target. Though he could have left Turkey for a safer life in the West or Armenia, he kept repeating that his roots were here and that he would not leave his country. In his very last column, describing himself as a dove constantly on the lookout for danger, Dink's final words were, "I know they don't harm the doves in this country."

'You left my embrace but not your country, my love'

In her speech called "Letter to the Lover," Hrant Dink's widow Rakel Dink said that the flood of love rushing to the newspaper has given her and her family strength. "Today with a voice of silence, we are seeing him off. Whether 17 or 27 years old, whoever the murdered is, I know that they were once a baby. The environment that made a murder out of a baby must be questioned."

Rakel Dink ended her words by saying, "What darkness can make me forget your love? You left your loved ones, your friends, your children, my embrace, but you did not leave your country, my love."

The long walk started following the announcement of Dink's close friend Aydin Engin, who coordinated the ceremony, saying, "Let's walk in a fashion that will show everyone what sort of a world we want."

The amazingly crowded group was made of people of all ages and walks of life. Along with others the famous Armenian folk song "Sari Gelin," which is also popular in Turkey, was played from the loudspeakers both in Armenian and in Turkish. Another song that again accompanied the tears of many was "Firatin suyu."

'We are all Hrant'

The group, which walked for about 8 kilometers from Sisli to Taksim and then to Yenikapi, formed a procession behind a single banner that read, "We are all Hrant, We are all Armenian." Individuals also carried signs reading "Murderer 301" and "We are all Hrant." Besides the main street between Sisli and Taksim, all side roads in Pangalti and Nisantasi were packed with people as the main road couldn't contain the crowd. On the procession route, individuals leaning out of their balconies and windows also showed support by clapping and throwing flowers.

Despite the request of Dink's family and friends, who previously announced that Dink wanted there to be no slogans during the ceremony, various groups in the crowd shouted slogans like, "We're all Hrant, We're all Armenian," "Shoulder to shoulder against fascism," "Murderer 301," "Murderer state will pay," "Long live the fellowship of peoples," "Either all of us or none, there's no salvation alone." In an attempt to respect Dink's wish, many people clapped and shouted to silence the slogans.

Reaching Agos' office, whose door was covered in carnations, wreaths and papers with odes to Hrant, many people again had difficulty holding back their tears. Old women were heard chanting, "This is where they brought our great man down."

Security and doves

There was intense security measures across town, included choppers that circled above the procession at all times. In line with the earlier statements of Istanbul Greater Municipality Mayor Muammer Guler, all police leave was canceled and additional security forces were requested from neighboring towns. Starting in the early hours, the Yenikapi-Sarachane road as well as the transit from Sarachane to Unkapani was closed to traffic. Unkapani Bridge was closed to traffic in both directions. Vehicle entry to Taksim and also from Mecidiyekoy to Sisli was banned. The route from Sisli to Yenikapi and the roads around the Balikli Armenian Cemetery were closed to traffic in stages as of 7:30 a.m., while the Osmanbey metro station was also closed.

By the time the procession reached Taksim Square, the main bus stop here as well as the square were packed with police officers. Ironically, the police were standing under a line of doves that perched upon the electricity wires across the square.

At the Divan Hotel intersection in Elmadag, Dink's family and the hearse parted ways with the procession for the funeral ceremony at the Meryem Ana Church, while the procession stopped and clapped, waiting for Dink's relatives to get on the buses. There were also around 40 municipality buses arranged to take to Yenikapi the elderly and those not able to walk further. Later the group continued its walk towards Unkapani.


'Death brought us together'

The funeral of Dink was the one of the largest public processions in Turkish history, and perhaps the largest ever for a person lacking an official title, as while the head of the crowd marching to the cemetery reached Unkapani the end of the group was still in Taksim. Thousands of people gathered to say farewell to Dink and reached Yenikapi Iskele before 2 p.m.

Aydin Engin stated that they will stand to prevent others suffering the same fate as Dink. "Hrant united us through his death," he said.

A women paying a last tribute to the journalist said, "We are Turks, Kurds and Armenians and we want to live in peace together."

Despite earlier admonitions not to, the group chanted slogans in front of a youth branch of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Head of state missing

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan were absent from the ceremony due to scheduling conflicts. The government was represented by Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin and Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu.

Invited diaspora represented

For the funeral, the government invited moderate names of the Armenian diaspora and the Yerevan government, with which it does not have diplomatic relations with. In response Khajak Barsamian, the spiritual leader of Armenians in America, came to Istanbul. Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian was also present at the ceremony. Eight people from the Federation of Armenian Associations in France also came to Turkey for the funeral.

The ceremony at the Meryem Ana Church that started at 2 p.m. and lasted about 45 minutes was directed by Mesrob II, Armenian patriarch of Turkey. Following the church ceremony Dink's coffin met the procession gathered at the Yenikapi Port Square, and the funeral was seen off to the Balikli Armenian Cemetery.




'Hrant's funeral brought Armenian and Turkish officials together'
The New Anatolian / Ankara
24 January 2007
Hrant Dink was an Armenian who was a citizen of the Turkish Republic and throughout his life he worked with this status, said Armenian Patriarch of Turkey Mesrob II yesterday.

Conducting the eulogy for slain journalist Dink at the Kumkapi Church of the Virgin Mary, Mesrob II stated in his speech, delivered first in Armenian and then in Turkish, that Dink's stormy life full of hardships had created in him a brave, emotional character.

"Dink was faithful to both his ethnic origin and his motherland," said Mesrob. "He managed to love his land without denying his roots. He was an enthusiastic advocate of democracy. Those who knew him as only a journalist should look into what he did for orphaned children."

The patriarch stated that no system of ethics is based around death. "The pain belongs to all of us, the loss is ours," he added. "While condemning the murder, negative statements attacking our nation open new wounds in our hearts. Such approaches are totally contrary to the approach of the late Hrant Dink."

Mesrob II added that although the murderer was immediately caught, the agitators behind the slaying should be exposed. "Hrant struggled hard to contribute to the Armenian-Turkish dialogue," he said. "How magical is that his own funeral brought Armenian and Turkish officials together. We have to turn this into a dialogue."




Article 301 debate rekindled in wake of Dink killing
Burak Esen - The New Anatolian / Ankara
24 January 2007
The shocking murder of a journalist last week has rekindled the debate over controversial Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301, with serious accusations against the main opposition party, which strongly defended the article.

The government late last year made efforts to review the bill after facing pressure from both the European Union and the Turkish public due to numerous legal cases against prominent writers, which turned into platforms for ultranationalists to spread anti-EU, anti-freedom propaganda. Almost all stood trial under the article, but none were found guilty.

However, based on how the government never brought the issue to Parliament in the form of a bill, and claims it appealed to the galleries apparently to mitigate tension between Turkey and the EU, some are saying that both the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the ruling party were always of the same opinion regarding annulment of the article.

Following Friday's murder of Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, prominent novelist Orhan Pamuk, who also faced prosecution under Article 301, blamed the article for the killing.

The CHP backlash wasn't late in coming. Mustafa Ozyurek, the CHP deputy leader, scolded critics by calling those who blame Article 301 for the murder as "shallow."

"The ruling party has the majority in Parliament, which enables it to pass all bills without opposition. It has tried to put the blame on the CHP, as it didn't want to annul the article," the CHP official told the Anka news agency.

He also said that the main problem wasn't the article itself but its interpretation by judges, elaborating on yet another highly controversial issue.

The government repeatedly warned the judiciary about "excessive" interpretations of the article, urging them to distinguish freedom of speech from insults.

Several commentators have therefore blamed the current pro-nationalist mentality, which has dominated the country, from which neither the judiciary nor the politicians are immune. The rising trend of nationalist sentiments, which facilitate individual violence particularly against what people deem to be the "other" -- non-Muslim minorities, women and even those advocating the left-wing political tradition -- is a serious concern for academics and civil groups.

Ozyurek said that the Justice Ministry should distribute booklets to define the limits of interpretation for articles of the TCK to train their personnel.

An image from yesterday's funeral showing thousands marching for Dink with banners declaring "Killer 301" also foreshadows a storm that could put politicians in the hot seat.




Serving Truth, Are Not Honoured With Adequate Sympathy And Assistance During Their Lifetime
YEREVAN, JANUARY 22, NOYAN TAPAN - ARMENIANS TODAY.
"We, the Yerevan Press Club members, are deeply upset with famous journalist, "Akos" newspaper editor-in-chief Hrant Dink's murder," is said in the statement spread by the Yerevan Press Club on January 20. The statement text is completely presented below: "This terrible action is addressed against the freedom of expression, democracy, normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations. It once more proves: there are still very dark, regressive, rough forces which do not want that our region proceeds in the way of progress. Hrant's journalism and public activity is addressed to protect the person's right of freely expressing ideas and overcoming traditional stereotypes which hinder people to communicate, understand and love each other. Both paassing over in silence the crime committed in 1915 by the Turkish Government towards the Armenian population and the criminal pursuit for denial of the Armenian Genocide which is envisaged in the draft approved by the French Parliament was inadmissible for him. Being one of few people in Turkey who dared to speak about the genocide, Hrant Dink observed any person's condemnation for having other views as a violation of the human rights. He was one of those people who was supposed to be a simbol of renovation of Turkey: a process which is contradictory and collide with powerful resistance and numerous inner and foreign obstacles. People like Hrant who strive for overcoming their own and retainers' fear, complexes, those who are open for every new and light thing, are most defenceless. His murder, and earlier the Turkish authorities' political pursuit and prosecution affirm this sad reality.

Watching the unprecedented response in the world and just in Turkey on the occasion of our partner's death, one unwillingly thinks of the following paradox: the society most sharply and with exclusive feeling of sin accepts loss of just those representatives who, serving the truth and justice, were more vulnerable and were not honoured with adequate sympathy and assistance during their lifetime. Let it be another lesson for all those countries where journalists are killed, subjected to violences and pursuits. By feeling deep sorrow, we can not stand expressing sorrow on the occasion of a number of statements the authors of which attempt to speculate the tradegy taken place in Istanbul, spreading ideas alien to Hrant Dink, displaying by it disrespectful attitude towards his memory. The journalist's and public figure's murder was, surely, a consequence of the political collisions existing in the Turkish society, and we called to confront using of the crime for deepening the abyss of imperceptiblity and hatred. We want to believe that those values in which Hrant Dink believed, the goals he strived for, will find more and more supporters in Turkey, Armenia, all our region.

The Yerevan Press Club has been and remains one of them."




"Dink's Murder Is Addressed Against Turkish Intellectuals As Well Who Touch Upon Armenian Genocide Issue To Finally Silence It"
YEREVAN, JANUARY 22, NOYAN TAPAN - ARMENIANS TODAY.
A number of political parties of Armenia responded with statements the murder of Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of the "Akos" Turkish language newspaper being published in Turkey. The ARF, particularly, expressed a confidence that "this nasty crime is a new threat addressed to rights and existence of Armenians of Turkey for what the Turkish state and authorities bear complete responsibility." In the party's estimation, Dink was killed for his political views: he in his own manner imagined the civil rights of Armenians as well as of other minorities in present Turkey, the Armenia-Turkey relations and the issue of the Armenian Genocide recognition by Turkey, always taking into account and defending interests of "the civilized" Turkey. But he was persecuted by the Turkish state for those views.

"Dink's murder once more proves the fact that the dissidence is not tolerated in Turkey," is said in the ARF Bureau statement. The "Orinats Yerkir" (Country of Law) party, particularly, mentions that "Hrant Dink was faithful to his title of a journalist and sincerity of his pen. He was incarnation of solidarity, tolerance and minorities' national dignity in the Turkish society. At the same time according to the estimation of the party, "the committed regour endangers the right of free expression and may give birth to great anxieties among the national minorities living in Turkey." The Social Democrat Hunchakian party considers that "this shameful crime in which the Turkish society has its part of responsibility, which, with the anti-Armenian, racial discrimination carried out by it and policy limiting the freedom of expression, encourages the nationalist elements of the country for the latters function freely and without fear."

According to the party's estimation, this crime is addressed against all those Turkish intellectuals who touch upon the Armenian Genocide issue to finally silence the latters. "We'll demand on this occassion from international structures for they closely observe and are seriously engaged in revealing all the folds of this political murder. We'll always demand from the EU for the Armenian Genocide recognition becomes a precondition for Turkey's membership to that structure," is said in the statement.




Dink's Murder Becomes Political Earthquake For Inner And Foreign Policy Of Turkey, Armenian Intellectuals Believe
YEREVAN, JANUARY 22, NOYAN TAPAN - ARMENIANS TODAY. Hrant Dink's murder is logical continuation of Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code which became a political earthquake for Turkey's inner and foreign policy. Hayk Demoyan, the Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute stated about it at the Armenian Intellectuals' gathering taken place on January 20 at the "Hayeli" club, on the occasion of the murder of Hrant Dink, a prominent intellectual and politician of the Armenian origin from Istanbul. In his words, Dink's tragic murder will have deep influence on both foreign and inner policy of Turkey. "This murder first of all shook the Turkish society the evidence of what are the publications in the Turkish press, responses of TV companies and demonstrations of many thousands organized just by the Turk society," Hayk Demoyan is sure. He assured that Hrant Dink's murder will become a unique watershed to change the Turkish society's position on the Armenian Genocide issue. "There were few such people in all the times who did not make compromises for their ideas and principles. Dink's death is a great loss for the Armenian people's idea and pen," Azat Yeghiazarian, the Director of the NAS Literature Institute is sure. In his words, in reality, Dink's murder is not a deed of two fanatic young people, but is a consequence of the policy carried out by the Turkish state for dozens of years. "Yesterday Erdogan did not even hide in his speech of condolence on the occasion of the murder his repulsive position saying "the so called Armenian Genocide" speaking about the Armenian Genocide," Azat Yeghiazarian mentioned. This is a classic example of intolerance and denial which is characteristic only for the Turkish policy. Mr.Yeghiazarian led parallels between the murders of Dink and Gurgen Margarian, an officer of Armenian origin died in Budapest, mentioning that it is an affirmed Turkish handwriting. "I am sure that the Turkish society is ill but I'll suppose that it must be treated." This was Hrant Dink's struggle guideline.

According to the estimation of Ashot Melkonian, the NAS History Institute Director, Hrant Dink was one of those rare intellectuals who never hated and was not been an enemy for the Turkish people. "He was an optimist in that issue, but was mistaken. He was mistaken as the present Turkish authorities and the Kemal policy carried out by them brought to the yesterday murder, proved that they are their successors in the Armenian Genocide issue," A.Melkonian believes. A.Melkonian is sure that those responsible for the Turkish Government can express condolence but it does not decrease their sin: this murder is a terrorist act committed at the state level. The murder put a full stop on the frame of mind that the Turkish society is getting better. The Turkish soul and nature is not changeable ever. "Hrant Dink was my friend. He was brave and of principle. He stayed many times in front of the Turkish Court for his free expression and brave ideas. His every day could become the last one. He functioned and struggle just in this reality paying with his life for memory of his people's innocent victims and Turkish people's healthy future," A.Melkonian emphasized. In words of Arsen Avagian, the Advisor of the Foreign Ministry's Political Programmming Department, Hrant was one of those unique intellectuals who believed in the Turkish people's becoming better, and saw the solution of the Armenian Genocide issue just with the help of that people. Hrant was sure that outer pressures would not give anything but additional straining. "Dink was exceptional both with his ideas and his life. Hrant Dink became one of the most important pages of the Turkish history," A.Avagian emphasized. Hrant Dink dreamed of founding in Yerevan a Center on Turkish Studies and already sent enough literature for the library of the future center. "I think that we are obliged to found that center in Yerevan for his memory," he said.

Participants of the gathering were sure that Dink's murder will have great influence on the foreign and inner policy of Turkey, particularly in the sense of that state's entering the European Union as well as in the sense of the world community's attitude towards the Turkish state. They also mentioned that the murder can be a result of Turkey's inner political mess, can be an application of violent force towards the freedom of expression and display of intolerance towards dissidence. But, in his words, in all the cases this murder in the 21st century is the Turkish society' shame. Those present spoke against those rumours that Dink's body must be moved to Armenia and burried here. They found that Hrant was born in Turkey and is a citizen of that country, so it will be right that his grave is placed in the Istanbul Armenian graveyard, near Armenian great people.




Hrant Dink (1954-2007)
by RONALD GRIGOR SUNY
January 22, 2007
Hrant Dink, the courageous editor of the Armenian-Turkish newspaper Agos, was murdered in the middle of the day on Friday, January 19, on a city street in front of his office in Istanbul, by a 17-year-old man he had never met. Shot three times in the nape of the neck, he lay face down on the sidewalk, the blood pooling under him. His killer fled, brandishing his pistol and shouting, "I have killed an Armenian!" Dink was not killed for any deed or personal grudge but for who he was and for his words--words that were thought by nationalist Turks and right-wing opponents to be a threat to the Turkish state and to "Turkishness." He was 52 years old, a man of enormous energy and passion, someone who embraced those who met him, enveloping them both physically and with his charm and charisma. The circles of his admirers extended far beyond the small, beleaguered community of Turkish Armenians.

Thousands gathered in Istanbul's central square, Taksim, in the hours after his killing and chanted, "We are all Armenians! We are all Hrant Dink!" For those who loved him or were moved by his words, it is impossible to believe he is dead.

Whatever the immediate motives of the young assassin from Trebizond to stop Dink's pen, Dink knew that he was extraordinarily vulnerable in the corrosive political atmosphere gathering in Turkey, an atmosphere enflamed by state prosecutions of dissident voices and nationalist media. "My computer's memory," he wrote in his last editorial, "is loaded with sentences full of hatred and threats. I am just like a pigeon.... I look around to my left and right, in front and behind me." Like novelist Elif Shafak and Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, both of whom have raised the issue of the genocidal deportations and massacres of hundreds of thousands of Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire, so Dink had been brought before Turkish courts and accused under the infamous Article 301 of "insulting Turkishness." And like the others he had not been jailed but given a suspended sentence, a gesture signaling that the Turkish state was still wavering between adopting the legal norms of Europe and turning its back on the invitation to join the European Union.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials from the government condemned the murder, and the culprit--Ogun Samast--was quickly apprehended. But in statements from the authorities some of the blame was placed on those outside Turkey who have brought forth parliamentary resolutions, as in France recently, to recognize the events of 1915 officially as a genocide. For eleven years Dink had edited Agos, a small-circulation newspaper, and though it had but 6,000 subscribers, its resonance was like a bell in a quiet night. In an interview with the Committee to Protect Journalists in February 2006, he remarked, "The prosecutions are not a surprise for me. They want to teach me a lesson because I am Armenian. They try to keep me quiet." When asked who "they" are, he answered as many in the Turkish opposition answer: "the deep state in Turkey," referring to the dark forces within the military and power ministries, as well as nationalist elements, to which even the mildly Islamist Erdogan government must defer.

The paradox of Dink's death is that he was killed in the name of a particularly narrow notion of patriotism while he was himself a fervent Turkish patriot. His vision of his native country was of a modern democratic, tolerant state on the eastern edge of Europe, in which his own people, the Armenians, could live with Turks, Kurds, Jews, Greeks and the other peoples who had coexisted, however uneasily, in the cosmopolitan empire out of which the Turkish Republic had emerged. What he could not tolerate was the denial of the shared history of those peoples, a history that involved mass killing of Armenians and more recent repression of Kurds. Dink was an active participant in the vital civil society in Turkey, key members of which have taken up the question of the Armenian genocide as an opening wedge to investigate the blank spots of Turkey's past. He participated in international meetings that included Armenian and Turkish scholars exploring the causes and consequences of the policies of the Young Turk government during World War I. Last year he spoke at a Turkish academic conference on this theme at Istanbul's Bilgi University, a breakthrough meeting that clearly frightened those nationalists who want to bury the inconvenient past.

While he was vitally interested in setting the record straight on 1915, Dink was more interested in the movement for Turkish democracy than in international recognition of the Armenian massacres as a genocide. Democracy in Turkey, he believed, would easily settle that historical matter. For some Armenians in the diaspora who know Turks far less well than their compatriots who live in Turkey, Dink's lack of fanaticism on this issue made him suspect, though his outspokenness in the face of official sanction gave him a heroic aura. Last year the Norwegians awarded him the Bjornson Academy Prize for protection of freedom of expression. In his speech at Bilgi University last year, he told the largely Turkish audience, "We want this land; not to take it away but to lie under it!"




David Caploe
www.grokyourworld.com/
Rare Good News from Mid-East: Turks At All Levels Recoil at Killing of Armenian Activist
While a lot remains unclear -- notably the nature and dynamics of the connections between the nationalist right and jihadi elements in Turkey -- each of whom has what they see as reasons to hate Armenians in general, and activist humanist journalist Hrant Dink in particular --amazingly enough, it seems that not only a huge sector of Turks of all ethnicities and religions are expressing their active disgust at Dink's assassination -- and, most significantly, all the brutal and mis-directed thinking / discourse / actions that led up to it --but the Turkish and Armenian governments, which haven't had direct relations since 1993, actually seem to be making an effort to use this event to make some progress in their twisted relationship, as the story below details ...

Sadly, the most negative aspect of this rapidly evolving current situation is coming from overseas Armenians, who --like their fellow Middle East diasporans, including American Jews, European Arabs and South Asian Muslims in Britain --are taking a hard line against any potential reconciliation of historically warring communities ...

But aside from that all too predictable development, it may seem something good may come out of the usual Middle East tactic of violence against people who are trying to make things better ...

The killing of an Armenian-Turkish editor in Istanbul last week and the sorrow it has generated within Turkey are leading to rare conciliatory gestures between Turkey and Armenia, historic enemies, and to calls for changes in laws here defending Turkish identity.

On Monday, Armenian political and spiritual figures accepted an invitation from the Turkish government to attend the funeral of Hrant Dink, the founder of an Armenian-Turkish newspaper, who was killed outside his office on Friday, apparently by a young nationalist fanatic. ...

Bulent Arinc, the parliamentary chairman from the ruling Justice and Development Party, said he would back efforts to abolish the measure under which Mr. Dink was prosecuted, known as Article 301.

“It can be discussed to totally abolish or completely revise the Article 301,” Mr. Arinc said, adding that members of Parliament “are open to this.”

Article 301 has been a major issue in Turkey's application to join the European Union ... so its abolition alone would be a significant positive development ...

Despite the fact that the Armenian-Turkish border has been sealed since 1993 and diplomatic relations severed, Armenia is sending a deputy foreign minister, Arman Kirakossian, to the funeral, and the archbishop of the Armenian Church of America, Khajag Barsamian, also accepted the government’s invitation to the ceremony.

Earlier, the Armenian defense minister, Serzh Sarkisyan, called for improved relations so that Armenia could “establish ties with Turkey with no preconditions,” the Turkish news channel NTV reported.

High-level Turkish government officials are expected to attend the funeral.

It's ALMOST as dramatic as Anwar Sadat's historic 1977 initiative that resulted in his historic visit to Jerusalem and, eventually, the 1978 Camp David accords that have created nearly 30 years of peace -- however cold at times -- between Israel and Egypt.

Turkey and Armenia have long been at odds over Turkey’s refusal to use the term “genocide” to describe the deaths of Armenians beginning in 1915.

Many scholars and most Western governments say more than a million Armenians were killed in a campaign they describe as genocide.

Turkey calls the loss of life a consequence of a war in which both sides suffered casualties, and has suggested that a group of envoys from each country analyze the history.

Armenia has expressed a willingness to participate but insists that the border must first be reopened to trade.

But many Armenians living abroad hold a much harder line and are lobbying the United States and European governments to deny Turkey entrance into the European Union until Ankara recognizes the killings as genocide. ...

As above, following their fellow hard-line Middle East diasporans in making already bad situations even more so ... just what we all need ...

The funeral is shaping up to be far more than a farewell to a popular though controversial figure. The fact that the government is permitting it to take place on a grand scale is another sign of a change. ...

A wide boulevard in the heart of Istanbul’s main commercial district will be closed to traffic as the funeral cortege gathers outside the offices of the newspaper where Mr. Dink was shot. ...

The procession is expected to advance for about a mile before the body is driven across the Golden Horn to the Kumkapi district for a Christian funeral Mass at the Church of the Virgin Mary.

Among the Turkish government officials expected to attend the Mass are the interior minister, Abdulkadir Aksu, and the deputy prime minister, Mehmet Ali Sahin. Burial is to follow at the Balikli Armenian Cemetery.

Most Armenian Turks live in Istanbul, the diverse and cosmopolitan center of Turkey. But the antinationalist demonstrations that followed Mr. Dink’s killing also surfaced in places as diverse as Izmir, the Aegean coastal city that is Turkey’s third largest, and in Sanliurfa and Hatay, which are close to Turkey’s eastern border with Syria.

“Public opinion in both countries, weary of the years-long conflict, had reached a point of explosion,” said Kaan Soyak, a director of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Commission, the only bilateral trade council of Turkish and Armenian executives.

This is a very interesting organization ...

“That’s what lies behind the massive outpouring for Mr. Dink.”

Well, it would be an amazing tribute to Hrant Dink if his tragic murder actually results in a significant improvement in Turkish - Armenian relations ...

Let's hope ...




Silence is a killer
By Tulin Daloglu
January 23, 2007
WashingtonTimes

"I may see myself as frightened as a pigeon, but I know that in this country people do not touch pigeons," wrote Hrant Dink, the beloved Armenian Turkish journalist, in his last column on Friday. Today, thousands will attend his funeral service in Istanbul, expressing their pain at his murder and their shame over losing him, the first Armenian-Turk to fall victim to a political murder. Turks have also taken to the streets to support "freedom of speech" at this magnitude for the first time in the republic's history.

Mr. Dink believed that the mass killings of Armenians during and after World War I constituted genocide, and he angered the extreme right with his position. About a year ago, he stood trial under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which criminalizes insults to Turkey, its government or the national character. Now that law has criminalized Turkey. Now those so-called Turkish nationalists are responsible for showing the world a country that is immoderate, uncivilized and intolerant. Those marching in Istanbul feel even more shamed over the mindset of those so-called nationalists in the name of protecting Turkey's interests. The scenes of aggressive verbal and nearly physical attacks during the trial of Mr. Dink and other prominent Turkish journalists will be remembered in history as the dark face of Turkey.

The Turkish government cannot escape its responsibility in creating the environment that led to Mr. Dink's murder — an environment that fuels people's anxiety that the West is against Turkey. It is constantly suspicious of the West's intentions regarding Turkey's territorial integrity. Unfortunately, Turkish leaders fail to counteract those suspicions with an understanding and a celebration of Western values like democracy, freedom of expression and opinions.
While Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has begun the negotiations for Turkey to join the European Union, he fails to understand that EU membership will involve hard work, not political demagoguery about his country's greatness. Turkey is a great country; it also has many problems. But in the end, it is not a matter of denying history. It's about not clarifying the history that led to the massacre of the Armenians.

Turkish leaders chose to stay silent for years, hoping that the claims would end. They chose to impose restrictions on people who wanted to study topics related to the Armenians and the Kurds. They blocked such learning with fear and fueled the conspiracy theories about the state covering up its past. And by creating this fearful environment, they hurt themselves. Today, few publications feature narratives of the events from the Turkish point of view, written by Turkish scholars. Meanwhile, libraries in the United States and other Western countries are stocked with accounts of history from the Armenian point of view. Turkey has lost the public relations war to Armenians. And the issue is incredibly politicized.

Almost every year for the last three decades, Congress has considered bills regarding the so-called Armenian genocide that ask the president to call the events that took place between the Turks and the Armenians during and after World War I "genocide." The last time the House International Relations Committee held hearings, Rep. Tom Lantos, California Democrat, now the committee's chair, said he decided to change his previous position and oppose Turkey because Turkey did not give U.S. troops a northern front into Iraq. This year, Armenians are hopeful that the bill will pass both the House and the Senate. For one, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stands for the adoption of the resolution.

"Hrant Dink's murder is tragic proof that the Turkish government — through its campaign of denial, threats and intimidation against the recognition of the Armenian genocide — continues to fuel the same hatred and intolerance that initially led to this crime against humanity more than 90 years ago," said Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America.

But Mr. Hamparian conveniently forgot about the Turkish diplomats victimized by Armenian hatred. Mr. Dink's murder has unquestionably cast a shadow over Turkey. But if Congress passes the Armenian genocide bill in the wake of Dink's murder, it will have given in to violence. Then we may expect a string of political murders by radicals or foreign agents that would push Turkey into a corner.

Turks don't believe that the facts of history are entirely known. Therefore any Western imposition on such a sensitive matter will push them away from their country's Western alliance — which the United States has also invested in for decades. It is easier to lose people than to earn their trust.

I can only hope that Mr. Dink's legacy would be a true dialogue, an effort to reach a consensus from both sides about the truth of history. Congress should keep this responsibility in mind as well.

Tulin Daloglu is a free-lance writer.




Confessions of a murder suspect
Sabah
A teenage boy named Ogun Samast, who has confessed to shooting an ethnic Armenian journalist outside his newspaper office in a brazen daytime attack, was taken back to the venue to demonstrate his crime to the police on Sunday night.

While Samast's interrogation continues, it was reported that during his initial questioning, he said he does not regret killing Dink and that he killed Dink upon Yasin Hayal's orders.
Istanbul's Security Director Celalettin Cerrah has stated that the suspect's interrogation is still ongoing.
Samast was taken to a cross examination by two terror experts, two MIT agents (Turkish Intelligence Service) and public prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin on Sunday. Samast said he had planned the murder four months prior to the event together with Yasin Hayal; also known as the McDonald's bomber.
Confessing that he and Hayal had been going to the Belgrad Forest for target practices, Samast said that Yasin Hayal had ordered him to kill Dink three days before the murder.
According to Samast's statements, Yasin Hayal sent Samast to Istanbul after giving him the gun and 170 YTL in pocket money. Samast said he and Yasin Hayal were mad at Dink for 'insulting the Turkish race'.
Samast denied having any connection with the Alperen Association.




Bekir Coskun: Filled with hope today

Today I am filled with hope, even if it's only a bit. From inside, what I really want to do is run to the windows of my room and yell down "Thank you...." to the people passing on the boulevard below. "Thank you to everyone...women and men, the educated and uneducated, adult and child, everyone....Thank you." Yes, that tiny phrase wants to come spilling off my lips, and it's a phrase I have not been able to say for years: "Thank you Turkey."

I might even sing. I love to sing while crying.

*

Are you aware that a very important thing has happened? The people of this country are crying after the murder of one of our Armenian citizens, saying "A bullet has pierced us all."

A women who never even knew Hrant Dink cries on television, saying "It's like I was shot."

Almost all the newspapers ran headlines saying "The bullet hit us all."

Newscasters on TV read the news of Hrant Dink's death with tears in their eyes.

Can you imagine? This country is screaming "Our child has been killed" for the Armenian, while labeling the nationalist (!) who shot him a "traitor to the nation."

*

Thank you Turkey.....

Despite all of the primitive taboos that exist, you have proclaimed loud and clear that what is most important is just being human.

People who don't even know eachother are holding signs saying "We are all Armenians......"

What better response can there be than this to the fanaticism that turns people against one another?

The funeral today will be crowded. And while, under all the accusations of a genocide, politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats, and academics writhed, trying to find an answer, ordinary people from all over Turkey gathered on the bloody Sisli sidewalk to give their answer in unison:

"Our child has been shot....."

*

Thank you Turkey, thank you. This has been one great step towards showing that the most important thing is just being human. And everything else just falls away.




The New York Times: Dink’s Assassination Leads to Conciliation Between Armenia and Turkey
23.01.2007
YEREVAN (YERKIR) - The killing of an Armenian-Turkish editor Hrant Dink in Istanbul last week and the sorrow it has generated within Turkey are leading to rare conciliatory gestures between Turkey and Armenia, historic enemies, and to calls for changes in laws here defending Turkish identity, PanARMENIAN.Net quoted The New York Times. Hrant Dink like many other intellectuals has been sentenced to 6 month imprisonment for insulting Turkishness under 301 article of Turkish Criminal Code, underlines The New York Times.

The magazine reports that Bulent Arinc, the parliamentary chairman from the ruling Justice and Development Party said he would back efforts to abolish the measure under which Mr. Dink was prosecuted. “It can be discussed to totally abolish or completely revise the Article 301,” Mr. Arinc said, adding that members of Parliament “are open to this.”

Despite the fact that the Armenian-Turkish border has been sealed since 1993 and diplomatic relations severed, Armenia is sending a deputy foreign minister, Arman Kirakossian, to the funeral, and the archbishop of the Armenian Church of America, Khajag Barsamian, also accepted the government’s invitation to the ceremony. High-level Turkish government officials are expected to attend the funeral.

Norman Stone, professor of history at Koc University in Istanbul, said Mr. Dink was killed at a time when Turkey was reacting to pressure to respond to the Armenian issue. Most Armenian Turks live in Istanbul, the diverse and cosmopolitan center of Turkey. But the anti-nationalist demonstrations that followed Mr. Dink’s killing also surfaced in Izmir, Sanliurfa and Hatay.

“Public opinion in both countries, weary of the years-long conflict, had reached a point of explosion,” said Kaan Soyak, a director of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Commission, the only bilateral trade council of Turkish and Armenian executives. “That’s what lies behind the massive outpouring for Mr. Dink.” But many here still blame Article 301 for Mr. Dink’s death and see it as an obstacle to freedom of speech in Turkey, The New York Times reports.




Comment: Omer Engin Lutem / Why Hrant Dink And Why Now?
23 January 2007
ERAREN
It shall be useful to address two questions regarding the murder of Hrant Dink to shed light on this seemingly complex matter. True, Hrant Dink did believe that an Armenian ‘genocide’ took place, but he did not concur in full with the views of the Armenian militants and contrary to the Diaspora, he was against making the ‘genocide’ issue a way of life for the Armenians. As opposed to targeting someone sharing all the views of the Armenian militants, Hrant Dink was selected for this murder due to him being well-known abroad and because his murder would draw a great deal of attention. In other words, he was deliberately selected due to the greater advantages it would present in terms of propaganda. As such, following the death of Hrant Dink, among the Diaspora and in Armenia accusations were leveled against Turkey in this regard.

Answering the question of “why now?” necessitates that one looks at those issues on the international agenda regarding the Armenian question. At present, two such topics stand out. The first, the draft resolution calling for the recognition of the Armenian ‘genocide’ expected to be presented in less than no time to the U.S. House of Representatives. Asserting that this would have an adverse effect upon its relations with Turkey, the U.S. Government has come out against this draft resolution. However, the negative outburst against Turkey engendered by the murder of Hrant Dink could cast a damper on the U.S. government’s initiatives in this regard. The second topic on the agenda, is the draft bill adopted by the French National Assembly last October, foreseeing the penalization of those denying the Armenian ‘genocide’ with a jail sentence of up to two years, and a fine of 45,000 Euros. Taking the right of ‘freedom of expression’ into consideration, the French Senate has shown signs of resistance to this bill. Nevertheless, a mass meeting was held for the bill to be placed on the Senate’s agenda last week in Paris, to which several French politicians attended. Hrant Dink being shot approximately 36 hours after the mass meeting drew to a close, has agitated the ill sentiment directed towards Turkey.

That all high-level authorities in Turkey, have strongly condemned the murder of Hrant Dink, and participated in his funeral, and that the culprit was captured upon the notification of his own father, may help mitigate the negative outburst directed against Turkey caused by this unfortunate event.




Orhan Pamuk: We Are All Responsible For Dink's Death
23 January 2007
Hürriyet
Turkish author Orhan Pamuk visited the family of murdered journalist Hrant Dink at their home in Istanbul yesterday, stopping to make a few statements to reporters on exiting the Dink home.

Pamuk, who told reporters that words could not even describe his sorrow, said "In a sense, we are all responsible for his death. However, at the very forefront of this responsibility are those who still defend article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. Those who campaigned against him, those who portrayed this sibling of ours as an enemy of Turkey, those who painted him as a target, they are the most responsible in this. And then, in the end, we are all responsible."




Turk And Armenian: Hrant Dink And Talat Pasha Murders (Sedat Laciner)
23 January 2007,
USAK
Hrant Dink is the first and the only Armenian victim murdered by a politically-motivated Turk in the history of the Turkish Republic. We hope it’s the last. The investigation continues but we don’t think this murder is related with the Armenian problem. It’s also impossible to evaluate the situation as racism. Right after the murder, both Turkish government and the Turkish people are getting along with this incident in a good way. After the murder, all of the Turkish newspapers cursed the incident. Lots of people marched in Ankara and Istanbul shouting ‘we are all Armenians, we are all Hrant Dink’. All of the newspapers in Turkey headlined the murder. Hürriyet for instance declared the murderer as a ‘Traitor to the Motherland’ and Sabah daily headlined the murder as ‘The biggest treason’. Other headlines were similar. Not even one single Turkish newspaper including the ultra-nationalist ones protected the killer. Even the most fanatic nationalists didn’t see the killer as a hero. On the contrary, the killer was seen as a ‘traitor’ and an ‘ignorant boy used by the underground and dark powers’.

Turkey has been accused for its possible responsibility in the murder by foreign press without a cause. Some accused Turkey even of being racist. All these claims and accusations have no base and just. Omer Celik, one of the closest deputies to President Erdogan, has recently offered to put Turkish flag on Mr. Dink’s coffin, a common tradition for the martyrs’ and famous statesmen’ funerals. No one raised any objection to this brave idea but lots of people thought that this was a great idea. As the most important symbol for a nation is a ‘flag’, it’s unfair to blame the Turkish people of being racist or anti-Armenian who want to put their pure flag on the coffin of an Armenian Turkish citizen, Hrant Dink.

President of Turkey, Turkish ministers, governor of Istanbul and top level officials of security bureaucracy all condemned the murder. Murderer was caught in 32 hours. President Erdogan said that ‘Dink was the son of this land’. The main opposition party leader Baykal expressed his despair by saying ‘We couldn’t let him live’. Almost every politician’s common attitude was to curse the murderer and they took the side of Dink. Even the ultra nationalist Turks saw the murder as the ‘agent of the dark powers’. Not even one politician was happy of the homicide. No one saw the murderer as a hero. The person who notified the police was the murder’s own father. None of his relatives said he did a good job. Their common attitude about the murder was that it was unacceptable and their son was used by the evil others. In other words even the killer’s most close relatives didn’t saw him as a hero and didn’t back him up.

***

There is another story on the other side of the medallion.

When Talat Pasha, the Minister of Interior of the Ottoman Empire, was killed by an Armenian named Sogomon Tehliryan on March 15 1921 on a crowded Berlin street (Germany), the attitude of the Armenians were not similar to the attitude of today’s Turkey people. Ironically there are many similarities between the murders of Talat Pasha and of Hrant Dink. As the Turkish historian Murat Bardakci wrote in Sabah newspaper dated 21 January 2007, both victims were shot from the back of their head. The bases of the shooes of the both victims were tattered and holed. Both murders were committed in daylight and on a crowded street. After the Talat Pasha Murder Tehliryan, the Armenian murderer was declared as a hero and even today the Diaspora Armenians and Armenians from Armenia see Tehliryan as a great hero. It was not just the Armenians but also the German Court strangely judged the victim instead of the killer. The Armenian murderer was set free after a short trial. Tehliryan was not the only murderer and terrorist who were declared as a hero by the Armenians. Lots of the Armenian terrorists were declared as heroes afterwards. The Armenian history is full of murderer heroes. Moreover Western courts committed law crimes again and again and set the Armenian killers free. For example the Armenian terrorist Max Kilnajian, who attempted to kill the Turkish ambassador in Bern city, was sentenced to two years by the French court and released shortly after the verdict. The mostly known Armenian terrorist Monte Melkonyan made lots of armed attacks against the Turkish diplomats. In these attacks lots of people were killed. But the French court released Melkonyan after 3 years in prison. Afterwards Mr. Melkonyan joined the Karabakh War against Azerbaijan and he murdered lots of people in that war. But Melkonyan has not been a terrorist or a murderer for Armenians, he has been hero to be respected and followed. Armenia gave salaries to many terrorists and protected them. Unfortunately, while these truths are clear, Armenia and Armenian Diaspora is blaming Republic of Turkey for the Hrant Dink murder.

***

The murder of Hrant Dink is one of the most dramatic murders of our history. But it’s unfair to exert pressure about Armenian problem by using this unfortunate murder. Also the Armenian Diaspora, who is blaming Turkey, was criticized many times by Hrant Dink himself. They were talking about Dink as a “traitor” and “servant of the Turkey” before, but now they are mongering on his death. Actually this is what they have done all the time. They are always using the reciprocal massacres to get the benefit out of it.

I am really sorry about Mr. Dink’s death. Because from now on, it’s hard to find an Armenian like him. Because he was a Turkish Armenian. He was son of this land. He was not making politics on death. He was working for the peoples who live. We have to do just like this from now on. We must not use the dead as an interest. We must not use a barbarous murder to attack each others.




Wider involvement suspected in Hrant Dink's assassination
International Herald Tribune
By Sebnem Arsu
January 21, 2007
ISTANBUL
Ogun Samast, the 17-year- old youth who was arrested in connection with the slaying of a leading Turkish journalist, probably would never have imagined setting foot on a private plane in his life before he was flown to Istanbul early Sunday to be charged.

Described as a quiet but courageous boy by his uncle, Faik Samast, the youth dropped out of secondary school before graduation. He was unemployed and came from a lower middle class family from Trabzon, a Black Sea port town.

Why he would want to murder Hrant Dink, an internationally respected intellectual, remains unclear since Samast had no obvious ties to militant organizations. People who know him have speculated that he was put up to the assassination by others who took advantage of his young age.

Named after the Turkish soccer star Ogun Temizkanoglu, the young Samast aspired to become a soccer player but failed after managers of the Yenipelitlispor club, listed in the second amateurs' league, expelled him from the team in 2005 because of his undisciplined behavior, newspapers wrote.

"His father hoped that soccer could make his son more disciplined," Hayri Kuk, a team official told NTV. "He refused to accept defeat, but at the same was totally open to manipulation. He couldn't have done this alone." Faik Samast, speaking in an interview on NTV Saturday night, said: "He was a very quiet boy. Some people must have exploited him."

Samast's age and origins in Trabzon are reminiscent of the killing last year of Andrea Santaro, a Catholic priest, also in Trabzon, by a 16-year-old youth.

Kazim Kolcuoglu, head of the Istanbul Bar Association, said that young people are sometimes used as assassins because they face lower penalties than adults convicted of the same crime.

In addition to Samast, six other men have been detained as suspected collaborators in the killing, and the police are working to decipher the links between them.

One of the suspects, Yasin Hayal, an alleged Islamic militant who learned to make bombs from Chechen militants at a camp in Azerbaijan and who served 11 months in jail for the bombing of a McDonalds restaurant in Trabzon in 2004, is suspected of masterminding the attacks on both Dink and Father Santaro.

Although early reports suggested that Samast was affiliated with an ultranationalist group called Nizam-i Alem, or World Order, the Istanbul head prosecutor said the teenager had no ties with any known militant organization.

The center right Vatan newspaper reported that the teenager had visited Istanbul five times in 15 days and was accompanied by two people in his last trip a few days ago.

Hurriyet, another center-right paper, quoted his family saying that Ogun brought lots of cash from Istanbul after a trip more than a week ago.

A nationwide manhunt for the youth had begun when the boy's father identified his son as the one in the videos.

Dressed in the same jean jacket, dark leather shoes and white beret that he was seen wearing in a surveillance camera video taken just before the shooting Friday in the Sisli district of Istanbul, Samast was arrested on a passenger bus as it was leaving the town of Samsun on the way back to his hometown.

Samast confessed to the killing shortly after his arrest, Samsun's chief prosecutor, Ahmet Gokcinar, told the state-run Anatolian news agency.

He was quoted by the semi-official AA news agency that after he was unable to meet with Dink at the newspaper, he "went to Friday prayers. After prayers, I went to the newspaper. At that moment, Hrant Dink went into a bank. After the bank he went back to the newspaper. He got startled when he saw me. Ten minutes later, he left the newspaper. I approached him from behind and shot him from one meter away. I'm not sorry."




Armenian champion in Turkey
The Independent/UK
22 January 2007
Hrant Dink, journalist: born Malatya, Turkey 15 September 1954; Editor, Agos 1996-2007; married 1972 Rakel Yagbasan (two sons, one daughter), died Istanbul 19 January 2007.

'For me, 2007 is likely to be a hard year," the Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink wrote earlier this month. "The trials will continue, new ones will be started. Who knows what other injustices I will be up against?" But with his computer filling up with e-mailed death threats he knew it was only a matter of time, even if he thought he would survive the year. He likened himself to a pigeon, constantly looking around for signs of danger.

Dink was gunned down on Friday outside the offices of Agos ("Ploughed Furrow"), the weekly Turkish Armenian paper he edited in central Istanbul. "I have killed the infidel," his murderer was heard to shout.

Hrant Dink was the most prominent and controversial ethnic Armenian figure in Turkey. With some 60,000 people, the Armenians are the largest surviving Christian minority in the country, despite a systematic and brutal attempt to exterminate or expel the entire population in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire in what Dink and all other Armenians rightly insist was genocide.

That successive Turkish governments have devoted massive resources to denying the genocide has poisoned relations between Turks and Armenians to this day. Yet Dink sought to overcome this legacy, arguing that the Turks of today are different from their Ottoman ancestors who conducted the killings. He also argued that Armenians around the world should no longer see relations with the Turks through the prism of the genocide. "Turkish-Armenian relations should be taken out of a 1915-metres-deep well," he argued.

But the Turkish authorities repeatedly tried to intimidate Dink into silence, closing the paper in 2001 and prosecuting him, but he was acquitted. Over the years he faced repeated trials, often under the notorious Article 301 of the Criminal Code which punishes "insulting Turkishness", on one occasion using deliberately twisted evidence.

Dink had a troubled childhood. One of a small number of surviving Armenian families in south-east Turkey in what had before the genocide been the heartland of Turkish Armenia, the Dink family disintegrated soon after Hrant's birth through his father's gambling. The young Dink was then cared for by his grandfather, the inspiration throughout his life. Even in primary school the boy objected to the mandatory daily recitation of the patriotic verse "I am a Turk, I am honest, I am hardworking", insisting that he was a Turkish citizen of Armenian origin.

When only seven, Dink and his brothers were sent to an Armenian orphanage in Istanbul, where he would meet his future wife. In his final year at an Armenian secondary school in the city he was expelled for his left-wing sympathies and finished his schooling at a Turkish school. In 1972 he legally changed his first name to Firak, which did not give away his ethnic Armenian origin in a highly nationalist country that refuses to embrace its many minorities.

Dink took a degree in zoology at Istanbul University, but failed to complete further studies in philosophy. He was occasionally jailed for his leftist activities. He and his wife then ran an Armenian youth camp, but after this he was subjugated to Education Ministry control he moved into journalism. For a decade he ran a bookshop with his brothers, steering clear of political activity.

In 1996 he founded Agos, which was published in Turkish and Armenian and came to have an influence beyond its circulation of 6,000. Run collegially, it had its offices in a converted flat that were always crowded and humming with debate. Dink paid particular attention to training young ethnic Armenian journalists, many of whom joined the mainstream Turkish media.

Not all in the Armenian community admired Dink's role as its unelected spokesperson. He was not devout and the Armenian patriarch often disagreed with his approach, preferring a quieter line.

But Dink was above all a figure in Turkish society as a whole, speaking up for democracy, human rights, free speech and the rights of oppressed groups, including women, Kurds and other ethnic minorities. A fluent Turkish-speaker (some say he was more eloquent in Turkish than Armenian), Dink was a popular interviewee, able to present difficult views directly and imaginatively without alienating his audience.

This made his conviction in October 2005 of "insulting Turkishness" and suspended six-month sentence particularly hard to bear. "When I first heard the verdict I found myself under the bitter pressure of my hope that I kept during all the months of the trial. I was stupefied," Dink recalled. "In my view, to humiliate people we live together with on the basis of ethnic or religious difference is called racism and this is something unforgivable."

Branding the verdict "a bad joke", he vowed to fight to clear his name. He cried as he spoke of it. "My only weapon is my sincerity."

Felix Corley




Deep Roots Of The Murder
1/22/2007
BY TAHA AKYOL
MILLIYET- ‘Who benefited from the murder of Hrank Dink? Turkey’s enemies. It means that the murder was committed by forces hostile to Turkey! Don’t consider the boy who was caught as the murderer, as there is a “killer state” behind him!’

These are unnecessary political conspiracy theories. If a 17-year-old boy has enough hatred within himself to kill someone, he can get a Beretta gun and do it! He only has to find a few people to help him. It’s clear the murder wasn’t a professional job, because he was caught by the police with the gun he used plus the white hat and clothes he wore while doing the job. Couldn’t big forces and clandestine, professional groups even get him a change of clothes? Of course, all possibilities should be explored by investigators.

Once Dink told a panel the following, which he later included in his column in Agos newspaper:

“In 1986, when I was in Denizli to do my military service, all of my friends were honored by being made noncommissioned officers, with only me left out … I had two children … I was disappointed with this discrimination.’ This is an example of discrimination he faced! Of course, we could talk about certain events in history. Such arguments won’t end for any nation or group. The problem causes from not overcoming feelings created by bad events in history. Armenian terrorist group ASALA shed blood for this reason, and the Armenian diaspora nurses its hatred. Let’s try to consider the situation of the world if we couldn’t overcome the traumas in history of all nations. This racist hatred murdered Dink! It’s enough for a boy to find a gun! It’s so simple, serious, and dangerous!

The unconscious hatred is seen in groups which are closed, insulated, and socially deformed, and ones which have bad tendencies. When there’s tension in the community, the worst actions are seen in these groups. It’s always like this, isn’t it? Let’s not forget that we have a responsibility to build our future. If we want to build a sustainable life for our children, and a bright and honorable future for Turkey, then one of the conditions for this is avoiding actions both individually and officially which breed racist hatred and instead showing respect for differences and freedom of expression!




The triggerman is a bait; the organization is behind
A top level authority told Sabah: "they wanted to make the suspect intentionally. Their aim is to make people say the incident is solved and to conceal the unseen actual target.

The suspect did not throw off his beret and carried his gun after the murder. So, his arrest was wanted. The suspect had only 1 YTL when he was caught. His radius of movement was narrowed by leaving him short of money in Istanbul.

The triggerman is a bait; the organization is behind

A top level authority said: "he wanted to get arrested. Maybe it is because they wanted us to think that the incident is solved and prevent us from the real target by getting an action opened."

In the investigation on the murder of the editor-in-chief of Agos newspaper, Hrant Dink, a suspicion that "Ogün Samast may be thrown as a bait to the security units of the government and the prosecutor to investigate the incident" started to prevail. All the representatives of the authorities conducting the investigation on Dink held an extensive meeting the day before yesterday. It was debated that it would not be right to start the questioning of all the suspects at once and it would be right rather to start questioning after gathering all the proofs.




Armenian Editor’s Death Leads to Conciliation
By SUSANNE FOWLER and SEBNEM ARSU
ISTANBUL, Jan. 22 — The killing of an Armenian-Turkish editor in Istanbul last week and the sorrow it has generated within Turkey are leading to rare conciliatory gestures between Turkey and Armenia, historic enemies, and to calls for changes in laws here defending Turkish identity.

On Monday, Armenian political and spiritual figures accepted an invitation from the Turkish government to attend the funeral of Hrant Dink, the founder of an Armenian-Turkish newspaper, who was killed outside his office on Friday, apparently by a young nationalist fanatic.

The suspect in the slaying, Ogun Samast, 17, was escorted back to the scene of the crime Sunday night by law enforcement authorities.

The head of the Istanbul security forces said that Mr. Samast “was driven to commit the crime by his nationalistic feelings” and had no ties to any group.

Mr. Dink was a staunch defender of free speech and like other intellectuals was prosecuted for insulting “Turkishness” and sentenced to six months in jail, though his term was suspended.

Bulent Arinc, the parliamentary chairman from the ruling Justice and Development Party, said he would back efforts to abolish the measure under which Mr. Dink was prosecuted, known as Article 301.

“It can be discussed to totally abolish or completely revise the Article 301,” Mr. Arinc said, adding that members of Parliament “are open to this.”

Despite the fact that the Armenian-Turkish border has been sealed since 1993 and diplomatic relations severed, Armenia is sending a deputy foreign minister, Arman Kirakossian, to the funeral, and the archbishop of the Armenian Church of America, Khajag Barsamian, also accepted the government’s invitation to the ceremony.

Earlier, the Armenian defense minister, Serzh Sarkisyan, called for improved relations so that Armenia could “establish ties with Turkey with no preconditions,” the Turkish news channel NTV reported.

High-level Turkish government officials are expected to attend the funeral.

Turkey and Armenia have long been at odds over Turkey’s refusal to use the term “genocide” to describe the deaths of Armenians beginning in 1915. Many scholars and most Western governments say more than a million Armenians were killed in a campaign they describe as genocide. Turkey calls the loss of life a consequence of a war in which both sides suffered casualties, and has suggested that a group of envoys from each country analyze the history. Armenia has expressed a willingness to participate but insists that the border must first be reopened to trade.

But many Armenians living abroad hold a much harder line and are lobbying the United States and European governments to deny Turkey entrance into the European Union until Ankara recognizes the killings as genocide.

Norman Stone, professor of history at Koc University in Istanbul, said Mr. Dink was killed at a time when Turkey was reacting to pressure to respond to the Armenian issue.

“There are a lot of balanced people here who say, ‘Look, the genocide issue is unclear, but if you just leave it as a matter of massacres, then we can start making progress,’ ” Mr. Stone said.

The funeral is shaping up to be far more than a farewell to a popular though controversial figure. The fact that the government is permitting it to take place on a grand scale is another sign of a change.

A wide boulevard in the heart of Istanbul’s main commercial district will be closed to traffic as the funeral cortege gathers outside the offices of the newspaper where Mr. Dink was shot.

The mayor of the district, Mustafa Sarigul, said the local government will hand out carnations and release hundreds of pigeons as a symbol of peace. Mr. Dink once said, “I may see myself as frightened as a pigeon, but I know that in this country people do not touch pigeons.”

The procession is expected to advance for about a mile before the body is driven across the Golden Horn to the Kumkapi district for a Christian funeral Mass at the Church of the Virgin Mary. Among the Turkish government officials expected to attend the Mass are the interior minister, Abdulkadir Aksu, and the deputy prime minister, Mehmet Ali Sahin. Burial is to follow at the Balikli Armenian Cemetery.

Most Armenian Turks live in Istanbul, the diverse and cosmopolitan center of Turkey. But the antinationalist demonstrations that followed Mr. Dink’s killing also surfaced in places as diverse as Izmir, the Aegean coastal city that is Turkey’s third largest, and in Sanliurfa and Hatay, which are close to Turkey’s eastern border with Syria.

“Public opinion in both countries, weary of the years-long conflict, had reached a point of explosion,” said Kaan Soyak, a director of the Turkish-Armenian Business Development Commission, the only bilateral trade council of Turkish and Armenian executives. “That’s what lies behind the massive outpouring for Mr. Dink.”

Ethnic Armenian Turks, like Jewish and Greek Turks, are an officially recognized minority group and as such are allowed to operate their own schools. Mr. Dink, for example, attended Armenian schools in Istanbul until entering a state-run university.

Mr. Dink was labeled as a target among nationalist groups on their Web sites. Mr. Samast, the suspect, read and was influenced by those postings, according to the Anatolian news agency.

Seven other suspects were also being detained over the weekend, including Yasin Hayal, who served 11 months in jail for the bombing of a McDonald’s restaurant in Trabzon in 2004.

Mr. Hayal, a known nationalist, is suspected of having a history of Islamic militant activity. He attempted to join the rebels in Chechnya but was turned away at the border, his former lawyer, Fatih Cakir, said by telephone on Sunday.

Havva Samast, Mr. Samast’s mother, knew that her son and Mr. Hayal were friends.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him on television and had a shock,” she said during a televised interview with the Dogan News Agency from her and her son’s home city of Trabzon. “He couldn’t have done this on his own. I know that he was friends with” Mr. Hayal.

But many here still blame Article 301 for Mr. Dink’s death and see it as an obstacle to freedom of speech in Turkey.

Copyright (c) 2007 The Daily Star




The Turkish curse after a death in Istanbul
By Hugh Pope

Is there a curse hanging over Turkey? Each time the country achieves sustained development, something trips it up. This time it is the assassination on Friday of Hrant Dink, a newspaper editor, peacemaker and one of Turkey's most prominent Armenians. Turkey is trying to rise to the challenge. Denunciations of the murder fill the airwaves, from the government to Islamic leaders to the army. Thousands of Turks marched through the streets hours after the shooting, shouting: "We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant Dink."

Turkey's credibility as a future European Union member state is at stake. A man who confesses to pulling the trigger has been caught - a nationalist, by all accounts - but no murkiness must remain about the people and the thinking behind the killing. Hrant Dink was not just left unprotected by the police. Bad laws, malevolent prosecutions and a growing nationalist hysteria created the lynch-mob atmosphere that transformed the sweet-mannered Dink into a public enemy number one.

What killed Dink, in short, is the Turkish Republic's inability to deal with the Armenian issue - the charge that its predecessor state, the Ottoman Empire, killed 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children in a 1915 genocide. Official Turkey is still stuck in a rut of denial. Efforts to open archives and to "leave it to the historians" lead into dead ends, partly because of intransigence in the Armenian diaspora, but also partly because of Turkey's anti-free speech laws - still extant in the form of Penal Code Article 301, with its catch-all penalties for "denigrating Turkishness." Discussing the great omissions in Turkey's public education remains taboo. Even as moderate a politician as Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul angrily rejects that there is any room for a Turkish apology.

That's because the Turks have reasons to feel victimized themselves. Christian powers don't apologize much for the ethnic cleansing carried out during the century until 1923, during which years they rolled back the borders of the Ottoman Empire. American historian Justin McCarthy estimates 5 million Muslims were killed. In 1915, World War I was raging. Turkey was again under attack from Russia in the east and Britain and France in the west. The Armenian leadership openly sided with Turkey's enemies, forming anti-Ottoman militias and demanding a state on Ottoman land.

Turkey also fears that an apology would trigger claims on its land or on seized Armenian assets. Turks cannot believe the sincerity of foreign parliaments who, usually ill-informed about the Turkish case, give in to Armenian diaspora lobbying for genocide declarations. One such bill looks more likely than ever to pass the US Congress in April. Politics often seems to trump history. Would the French Parliament have made it a crime last year to deny the Armenian genocide if an unrelated desire to keep Turkey out of the EU had not been prevalent?

Some maximal views of Turkish evil by Armenians were even criticized by Hrant Dink. He once wrote that diaspora Armenians should spend their energy supporting independent Armenia and not "let hatred of the Turks poison their blood."

But Turkey has an attitude problem, too. Idiotically, it was the newspaper column mentioned above by Dink that caused him to be put on trial for violating Article 301, on the pretext that he had said that Turks were "poisonous." Why is it that, of all the Turkish authors charged with Article 301 offenses, only Dink actually received a jail sentence (six months, suspended)? Three years ago, Dink says he was told "something will happen to you if you continue" by officials working for the same Istanbul governor who now smugly suggests the police win a prize for their swift apprehension of the assassin. (The governor's office denies making any threat).

Commentators are subtly shirking responsibility by labeling the murder a "provocation" or blaming "outside forces." Many expressed pain since Armenians were a "trust" under Turkey's protection. It took one of Prime Minister Reccep Tayyip Erdogan's advisers, Omer Celik, to point out that they were not guests and "were as much owners of this country as Turks are."

Neither Turks not Armenians should go on like this. Erdogan - whose government was the first to grant Dink's simple request for a Turkish passport - could try a grand gesture. The prime minister might open the border with Armenia, closed since the early 1990s. He could advocate an international conference, where Turkey could argue its case that there was no centralized attempt to wipe out the Armenian race. After all, Turkey already officially accepts that 300,000 died. Recent years have also seen brave Turkish novels, films, exhibitions and academic conferences that addressed the gaping loss to Turkish society represented by the Armenian disappearance. Best of all, Erdogan could abolish Article 301, which made all intellectuals like Dink a target. What debate can there be if Turkey drags anyone who deviates from the official line into court?

None of this, however, is likely to happen. Turkey has presidential and parliamentary elections this year, and ultra-nationalists pose the main challenge to Erdogan's centrist, pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party. Europe - whose support is critical in making a Turkish regime feel safe to reform - seems in no mood to extend lines of political credit to Turkey.

So the gap between Turkey and Europe will widen again. Muddled thinking and inward-looking nationalism will continue to plague Turkey, and not only in its approach to the Armenian problem. After all, Dink's murder is the symptom of negative currents that persist, not their cause. And that, of course, is why Turkey's curse keeps returning to strike with such tragic ease.

Hugh Pope is an Istanbul-based journalist. His latest book is "Sons of the Conquerors: The Rise of the Turkic World" (Overlook Duckworth 2005).
Copyright (c) 2007 The Daily Star




Hrant Dink (1954-2007): in memoriam
Fatma Müge Göçek

22 - 1 - 2007
Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian editor assassinated in Istanbul was a participant in work of dialogue and reconciliation across the great divide of history. His colleague Fatma Müge Göçek remembers her friend.

As I sit in front of my computer and type this first eulogy of my life with tears streaming down my face, I realise that what I will miss the most of my dear friend Hrant Dink's unexpected departure from this life are the big hugs he used to give: to me, to us, to all his friends, to humanity as a whole, those warm, comforting, loving hugs...

I mourn that I will no longer feel that happiness surge within me to see his face light up upon our next encounter; that he will never again say "Dear Müge!" and rush towards me with his arms open wide to give me one of his wonderful hugs. Instead, the last image of him in my mind's eye will be his tall, lifeless body lying covered on a pavement, mercilessly assassinated by a gunman in broad daylight in front of the offices of his newspaper Agos in Istanbul on Friday 19 January 2007.

I got to know Hrant closely in 2002 when he came to Ann Arbor, Michigan to attend the annual meeting of the Turkish-Armenian workshop of scholars that my colleagues Ronald Grigor Suny, Gerard Libaridian and I held at the University of Michigan.

Hrant Dink worked since 1996 as a columnist and editor-in-chief of the Armenian-language weekly newspaper Agos in Istanbul. The paper aims to provide a voice for the Armenian community in Turkey and to further dialogue between Turkey and Armenia.

On 19 January 2007, Hrant Dink was assassinated outside Agos's offices in Istanbul.

After the inaugural meeting at the University of Chicago in 2000, we had decided to invite journalists as observers and he, as the columnist and editor-in-chief of the Turkish-Armenian Agos newspaper, was among the invitees. Hrant was just as surprised as we were when he was issued a passport by the Turkish state to attend the workshop, as he had been refused one for the last twenty years.

At the workshop, he stunned all the participants by making several original contributions, specifically by his articulate presentation of the standpoint of an Armenian in Turkey, by his criticism of nationalist diaspora politics, and by his peaceful vision in relation to the future of Turkish-Armenian relations.

During our first meeting, I was personally struck by one thing in particular about Hrant Dink. At the time, I had been working intensely on the ethnic cleansing of the Armenians in 1915, and even the mere act of reading about the historical events had made me very angry and hurt, both as a human being and as an ethnic Turk.

I had also been born and raised in Turkey for twenty-four years before my arrival in the United States and therefore knew and was likewise very upset as a Turkish citizen about the prejudice and discrimination the minorities still faced in Turkey due to rabid Turkish nationalism.

When I could not overcome my anger, when the diaspora Armenians I met in the United States likewise struggled so much (sometimes successfully and at other times unsuccessfully) with their anger and hurt, how could Hrant Dink have achieved, how had he managed to overcome that ever-consuming, destructive, dangerous anger - and to fill himself instead with so much love and hope for humanity, for Turkish society, for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation? How could he do so in spite of the memory of 1915 and of the subsequent prejudice and discrimination he faced in Turkey?

It was for me that particular quality which made Hrant Dink a great human being and a great role model. That, and everything that flowed from it: his unwavering belief in the fundamental goodness of all humans regardless of their race, ethnic origin, regardless of what they had personally or communally experienced; his unwavering vision that we in Turkey were going to one day be able to finally confront our past and come to terms with our faults, mistakes and violence as well as our so brandied about virtues; his unwavering trust that we all would manage to live together in peace one day.

A voice of humanity

Hrant was very excited about our scholarly activities and became our fervent supporter from then on. "You scholars are the ones who are going to ultimately solve this issue!" he kept saying over and over again.

In spring 2006, when he was visiting the United States, I suddenly got a phone call from him to find out that he was on his way to Ann Arbor to especially meet with me: "Keep the dialogue between the Armenian and Turkish scholars going, that is the most significant endeavour we have for the solution of this problem and no matter what happens, do not let things get politicised", he told me during our long meeting over coffee.

He was aware, like many of us in the United States, Europe, Turkey and all over the world who belong to our Turkish-Armenian network, that the solution to this problem lies in cooperation, in dialogue, and in reconciliation. He was aware that we need to tackle this issue as a community of scholars who, like him, believe in the ultimate goodness of humanity, and who, like him, fervently hope and strive on a daily basis to move that dialogue, the possibility of that reconciliation forward.

Following his example, we shall attempt to overcome the deep anger we feel over his assassination, attempt to move beyond the narrow confines of our ethnic, national identities to reach for our common element of humanity so that our children, so that Hrant's children and beautiful grandchildren live in a world, in societies filled with love rather than hatred.

My dear friend Hrant, I promise you that I will continue, with the help of the community of friends and scholars that we altogether built around us, to keep reaching out with the same love, warmth and hope that you hugged all of us, and I will try to deliver the same message. And while your rest in peace in the soil of your ancestors you so loved and cherished to death, you will be there alongside us in spirit.




Turkey: Thousands Expected To Pay Homage To Slain Armenian Journalist
Istanbul, 22 Jan. (AKI) - Thousands of people are expected to turn out for a march in Istanbul on Tuesday to commemorate promiment Armenian Turkish journalist Hrant Dink who was shot dead in the city last Friday. Organisers have asked participants not to chant slogans, wave flags or carry placards along the march's eight-kilometre route from the downtown offices of Dink's Agos newspaper to an Armenian Orthodox Church in the city's Kumkapi district, where his funeral will be held. The organisers said that in compliance with what they believe would have been Dink's desire, marchers would wallk under one slogan: "We are all Hrant Dink, We are all Armenian".

Turkish foreign minister and deputy premier Abdullah Gul as well as several EU officials are scheduled to attend the funeral. The murder of Dink, a moderate proponent of the rights of Turkey's Armenian ethnic minority has raised EU concerns on freedom of speech in Turkey.

Police have arrested a 17-year-old boy in connection with the shooting of Dink who was hit by four bullets in front of the offices of Agos, the bilingual Armenian-Turkish newspaper he edited on Friday afternoon.

The suspect Ogun Samast, a native of the conservative city of Trabzon was picked up on a bus 32 hours after the murder after his father recognised him from TV images and notified the police.

Civil society organisations have pointed the finger at Turkey's ultra-nationalists blaming them for the sentiments of hate whipped up against Dink. On numerous occasions the journalist - who had been convicted on charges of breaking laws prohibiting the mention of the early 20th Century massacre of Armenians under the Ottomans - said he had received death threats from people who accused him of being a traitor.


Police are also quetioning a friend of Samast, Yasin Hayal who was involved in a 1994 bomb attack at a McDonald's restaurant in which six people were injured.
(Vah/Aki)




A Turkish funeral invitation to Armenians
By Susanne Fowler and Sebnem Arsu

January 22, 2007
ISTANBUL
Armenian spiritual and political figures from around the world on Monday accepted an extraordinary invitation from Turkey to attend the funeral of the founder of an Armenian- Turkish newspaper, Hrant Dink, who was killed outside his office Friday, officials said Monday.

The slaying has prompted an outburst of public demonstrations and has begun to suggest a warming of ties after a near century of animosity between Turks and Armenians.

Armenia is to send a deputy foreign minister to the funeral, Arman Kirakossian. The archbishop of the Armenian Church of America, Khajag Barsamyan, also accepted the government's invitation.

Earlier, the Armenian defense minister, Serzh Sarkisyan, called for improved relations so that Armenia could

"establish ties with Turkey with no preconditions," according to the Turkish news channel NTV.

Important Turkish government officials are to attend the funeral, and Kirakossian, a former ambassador to the United States, is to attend with Karen Mirzoyan, who represents the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation, according to Kaan Soyak, of the Turkish and Armenian Business Development Council.

The gesture to Armenia was a surprising departure for Turkey, which has no diplomatic relations with Armenia and has kept the border closed since 1993. To many Turks and Armenians, a thaw in the relationship after a personal tragedy suggests a display of humanity toward the very Armenians who have long referred to Turks as butchers. That could prove to be a setback for Turkish nationalists who oppose the country's membership in the European Union and oppose closer ties to Armenia if it means admitting to genocide before World War I.

Celalettin Cerrah, the head of the Istanbul security forces, said that Samast had no ties to any groups and that "the suspect was driven to commit the crime by his nationalistic feelings."

Diplomatic ties were severed in a dispute over territory, but the heart of the conflict is the mass killings of Armenians around 1915, which many countries consider to have been genocide.

Turkey instead calls the loss of life a consequence of a war in which both sides suffered casualties, and has suggested that envoys from both sides meet to analyze the history. Armenia has expressed willingness to participate but insists that the border must first be reopened to trade.

Many Armenians living abroad hold a much harder line, however, and are lobbying their U.S. and European governments to deny Turkish entrance into the European Union until Ankara recognizes the killings as genocide.

Norman Stone, professor of history at Koc University in Istanbul, said Dink was killed at a time when Turkey was clearly reacting to pressure to respond to the Armenian issue.

"There are a lot of balanced people here who say, look, the genocide issue is unclear, but if you just leave it as a matter of massacres, then we can start making progress," Stone said during an interview Monday.

The Turkish invitation signals hope for a new era at a time when many people in both countries say they are tired of an issue that threatens their peace and economic welfare.

"Public opinions in both countries, weary of the years-long conflict, had reached a point of explosion," said Soyak, director of the trade council in Istanbul. "That's what lies behind the massive outpouring for Mr. Dink."

The funeral is shaping up to be far more than a farewell to a popular, though controversial, figure. The fact that the government is permitting it to take place on a grand scale is another sign of a change in Ankara.

A wide boulevard in the heart of Istanbul's main commercial district will be closed to traffic as the funeral cortege gathers outside the offices of the newspaper where Dink was shot. The mayor of the district, Mustafa Sarigul, said the local government would be releasing hundreds of birds, a symbol of peace, and passing out thousands of carnations.

A large crowd is expected to follow the procession for a couple of kilometers before the body is driven across the Golden Horn to the Kumkapi district for Mass at the Church of the Virgin Mary. Among the Turkish government officials expected to attend the Mass are the interior minister, Abdulkadir Aksu, and the deputy prime minister, Mehmet Ali Sahin.

Most Armenian Turks live in Istanbul, seen as the center of intellectual and leftist thought in Turkey. But the anti-nationalist demonstrations that followed Dink's killing also surfaced in places as diverse as Izmir, an Aegean coastal city, and in Sanliurfa and Hatay, which are close to Turkey's eastern border with Syria.

Although members of the community complain of discrimination, ethnic Armenian Turks, like Jewish and Greek Turks, are an officially recognized minority group and are allowed to operate their own schools. Dink, for example, attended Armenian schools in Istanbul until entering a state-run university.

The suspect in the slaying, Ogun Samast, 17, was escorted back to the scene of the crime Sunday night to describe the attack to law enforcement authorities. Hundreds of police officers in riot gear formed a cordon so that Samast could divulge details. A small crowd of Turkish onlookers pumped their fists into the air and shouted, "We're all Hrants! We're all Armenians!"

One of the most prominent intellectuals in Turkey, Dink was a staunch defender of free speech. Like others he was prosecuted under a law known as Article 301, which nationalists have used to file suit against writers who supposedly insulted "Turkishness." Dink was convicted of insulting the state and sentenced to six months in jail; but his term was suspended.

The process labeled Dink as a target among nationalist groups that carried their tirades against the editor in their Web sites. Samast read and was influenced by those postings, according to the Anatolian news agency.

Seven other suspects also were being detained over the weekend, including Yasin Hayal, who served 11 months in jail for the bombing of a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon in 2004.

Hayal, a known nationalist, is suspected of having a history of Islamic militant activity. He attempted to join the rebels in Chechnya but was turned away at the border, his former lawyer, Fatih Cakir, said by telephone Sunday.

Samast's mother, Havva Samast, knew that her son and Hayal were buddies. "I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him on television and had a shock," she said during a televised interview with the Dogan News Agency from their home city of Trabzon. "He couldn't have done this on his own. I know that he was friends" with Hayal.

But many here still blame Article 301 for Dink's death and see it as an obstacle to freedom of speech in Turkey. In another sign of change, Bulent Arinc, the parliamentary chairman from the ruling Justice and Development Party, said he would back efforts to abolish the measure.

"It can be discussed to totally abolish or completely revise the Article 301," Arinc said, adding that members of Parliament "are open to this.




Police probe nationalist links in journalist’s slaying
Turkish police on Monday focused the investigation into the murder of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on alleged links between the prime suspect and an ultranationalist group.

“We are looking into the political aspect of the murder and possible links with illegal organisations,” Istanbul police chief Celalettin Cerrah told the Anatolia news agency. “The suspect was influenced by news articles he read” about Dink, he added.

A prosecutor said Sunday that the suspect, 17-year-old Ogün Samast, had confessed to Friday’s murder and newspapers quoted the teenager as telling police he shot Dink because the journalist insulted the Turkish nation.
Dink, 52, was a taboo-breaking critic of the official line on the 1915-17 Ottoman Empire massacre of Armenians, which he labeled as genocide, and was given a suspended six-month jail sentence last year for “insulting Turkishness”. Nationalists branded him a “traitor” and Dink wrote in recent articles in his weekly newspaper Agos that he had received threats.

Quoting sources close to the investigation, newspapers on Monday said police were probing links between Samast and a small, ultranationalist group in his hometown, Trabzon, on the Black Sea Coast. Samast told police he was told to kill Dink by a friend, Yasin Hayal, who spent 11 months in jail for a 2004 bomb attack against a McDonald’s restaurant in Trabzon.

“Yasin told me to shoot Dink. He gave me the gun. So I did,” the mass-circulation Hürriyet newspaper quoted the teenager as saying. Turkish newspapers described Hayal, who is also in police custody, as an “older brother” figure who frequently met youngsters in the area and influenced them with his ultranationalist views.
Hurriyet said Samast, an unemployed secondary school graduate, was among 10 youths aged 15 to 17 whom Hayal had last year trained to handle and shoot small arms in order to assassinate Dink. “I was chosen because I was the best shot and the fastest runner,” the daily Vatan quoted Samast as telling police.
Friends described Samast, who played football for an amateur team in Trabzon, as an introvert who frequented Internet cafes but who was also aggressive.

Prime suspect’s mother: Someone used him
His mother, Havva Samast, said Monday that she believed her son was a mere tool.
“He is not a person who could do this on his own,” she said in remarks broadcast on the NTV news channel. “Someone used him.”

Apart from Samast and Hayal, police are questioning six other suspects in connection with the killing.
Police conducted a re-enactment under heavy security of the murder with Samast late Sunday, which saw passers-by booing the teenager and calling him a “disgrace”. Showing no remorse, Samast reportedly told police that he first tried to meet Dink in his office but was not allowed in by suspicious staff.
He said he waited in the street until Dink returned from a nearby bank.

“I approached him from behind and fired shot after shot,” Samast was quoted by the liberal Vatan newspaper as saying.

Dink died instantly after being shot three times in the head and neck. Samast’s testimony turned the spotlight on Trabzon, a Black Sea port of one million and a hot-bed of nationalism, which hit the headlines in February 2006 with the murder of an Italian Catholic priest by a 16-year-old boy.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sunday that police would look into possible links between Dink’s killing and that of the priest.

Dink had gained respect in Turkey as a sincere activist for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and for free speech; he also denounced Armenian radicalism and, most recently, branded as “idiocy” a French bill making the denial of an Armenian “genocide” a jailable offense.

Dink will be buried Tuesday at an Armenian cemetary in Istanbul after a ceremony in front of the Agos offices and a religious service at the Armenian patriarchate.

23.01.2007
İstanbul Today’s Zaman with wires




ANDREW FINKEL
Anatomy of a murder

If there is a fortunate side to being a journalist, it is that as a profession we are not impotent in the face of senseless outrage. While others pause to grieve, we go to work. We acquire purpose through events which by rights should seize us with despair - even the senseless death of a warm friend, a brave colleague and a lovely man. At the time of his death, Dink was already being hounded in the courts and in the streets. Before the shot was fired , he was the victim of what has become the best-known Turkish law in the world - article 301 which makes it offence to insult Turkishness. Turkish officialdom makes light of its own cowardice in refusing to repeal a piece of legislation it knows to be wrong. “No one is actually in jail as a result,” the argument runs. The law was used, however, to prosecute Hrant Dink and in so doing distort his words, expose him to public wrath and warn others to be silent.

I first met him in this office several years ago at a time when the Turkish authorities were refusing to issue him a passport and I remember thinking that any sensible government would charter a plane to allow him to make his views known abroad. He was a true Turkish patriot and had no time for the grand gestures of foreign legislatures. To him, historical reconciliation was not the abstract project of political lobbies, nor a way of reinforcing the identity of an ethnic community abroad. Rather it was a practical way of being able to “love his neighbour”-the people in the street and in the apartment building next door. He believed that it was time that Moslem and Armenian Turk be able to look each other in the eye.

This was not the view of Ogün Samast, the teenager who shot him down, according to reports of his confession. “ I read on the internet news that he said ‘I’m a Turkish citizen not a Turk. And besides, Turkish blood is filthy.’ So I made up my mind to kill him…I’m not sorry. I’d do the same again.”

So, while I am able to grit my teeth, go to work in order to absorb the shock of loss of a life with and meaning, I feel strangely helpless reading about his assassin: the blind anger of a youth who said his Friday prayers then went off to kill. I flinch at the numb anguish of a father who recognised the closed-circuit photo of his son on the television news, then went to dial the police.

The implication of 17-year old Samast being tried in a juvenile court is that he is not fully responsible for his actions. And while he could still serve up to 19 years in jail, there are others quick to point the blame elsewhere. The rule of thumb appears to be that those who were quickest to question Hrant Dink’s patriotism while he was alive have been the fastest to attribute his death to some intricate foreign conspiracy designed to blacken Turkey’s name.

The prime minister too, has pointed to “dark hands” at work threatening Turkey’s democracy. And yet the simple truth is that Hrant Dink constantly battled for the most basic democratic right to speak his own mind. Much of the respect that has been lavished upon him by headline writers now was denied him while he was alive. He was prosecuted under a law designed to force his silence. And yet his former persecutors seem surprised that an impressionable youth, undereducated and under aged - arrested with only one lira and a few bullets in his pocket -- enforced that same silence in a more efficient way.

The one glimmer in all this is that there were others who “went to work” the moment Hrant Dink died. Not just journalists, but concerned citizens who gathered in front of his Agos newspaper first in their hundreds and then several thousands, insisting that the freedom to look your neighbour in the eye had to be kept alive.
23.01.2007




NICOLE POPE
Fanning the flames: Article 301

So the murderer, or at least the one who pulled the trigger, has been arrested.

But the fire of intolerance had been lit long before the 16-year-old boy from Trabzon trained his weapon on Hrant Dink. Article 301, under which the Turkish-Armenian writer was prosecuted for his articles, had made him a target, branded him anti-Turkish and fuelled the kind of hatred that led to his death on Jan. 19.

Politicians from all sides are now expressing the usual platitudes. When they were drafting the controversial law, they may not have foreseen that prosecuting intellectuals under Article 301 could have such lethal consequences. But now the implications of these legal proceedings are clear for all to see, and politicians should seize this opportunity to repeal the controversial article. Amending Article 301 has in fact been on the agenda for some time, partly because the European Union has raised objections, but politicians continue to dither. Let’s hope they act before anyone else gets hurt.

Some politicians argue that the problem lies not with the article itself but with its interpretation. Judges have indeed rejected accusations brought in the past couple of years against prominent writers and intellectuals such as Orhan Pamuk, Elif Safak and Perihan Magden, although Hrant Dink was found guilty and sentenced by the courts.
But the trials, irrespective of their outcome, were all preceded by ugly and violent displays of enmity against the defendants and their supporters outside the courtrooms. The defendants also received threats. Some quarters had apparently passed judgment and deemed the defendants traitors to the nation long before the judges had a chance to examine the files and announce their verdict.

We all know that intolerance exists in various forms everywhere. Its rise in the Western world, post September 11, is also a cause for great concern. In Turkey, laws that ban free expression fan the flames of a narrow understanding of nationalism, which has little to do with genuine love of the motherland. As a result, court cases against prominent intellectuals who are lauded abroad for their humanism and their talent continue to overshadow the remarkable economic and social progress achieved by Turkey in recent years.

The need for further political reforms to strengthen Turkey’s democracy and sustain the country’s development is understood by a broad segment of Turkish society. At the time Hrant Dink’s killer was getting ready to stage his deadly attack, TUSIAD was releasing a new report at the Swissotel calling for the 1982 Constitution to be amended. The document, an update of the “Perspectives on Democratization” report the industrialists and businessmen’s association had published 10 years ago, details measures to be taken to ensure that democratic practices become fully entrenched and get properly implemented in Turkey.

It would be a fitting tribute to Hrant Dink, a man who bravely fought all his life for democratic values and social reconciliation, if his tragic and early death could give renewed momentum to a movement for democratic change. How many more people have to be sacrificed on the altar of intolerance before Turkey sheds its fears and embraces a brighter future?

Hrant Dink was a passionate man who fought for a more open Turkey at peace with itself. His country, today, is poorer for having lost him.
23.01.2007




LALE SARIIBRAHIMOGLU
Turkey should take urgent steps to lift restrictions on freedom of speech

If Turkey's political leadership is really concerned about the core reasons behind the political assassinations of the past 30 years this country has witnessed- the latest being the slaying of the country's leading Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink - it should quickly take serious steps to lift the restrictions imposed on freedom of speech that have sent many intellectuals either to jail or to the graveyard. It should be the primary task of the government to immediately change Article 301 of the penal code which makes it a crime to insult the Turkish national character.

Dink, 52, who was shot dead last Friday outside the downtown Istanbul offices of the Agos weekly newspaper which he edited, was among many journalists, writers and academics who have been prosecuted under Article 301 for expressing their opinions.

His public statements describing the killings of Armenians during World War I by Ottoman Turks as a genocide were seen by many ultranationalist Turks as insults to the honor of Turks and as threats to national unity.
Turkey denies that the killing of Armenians during that time amounts to genocide and has prosecuted many writers, academics and historians for criticizing this stance.

Orhan Pamuk, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2006 and who was tried and acquitted last year under the same law as Dink, said that those who have been defending Article 301 were responsible for Dink's death.
I totally agree with Pamuk's assertion and this is why I am appealing to the government to urgently change Article 301.

I also agree with Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia program director Nicola Duckworth who said: “In Turkey there are still a number of harsh laws which endorse the suppression of freedom of speech. These laws, coupled with the persisting official statements by senior government, state and military officials condemning critical debate and dissenting opinion, create an atmosphere in which violent attacks can take place.”
Thus, in Turkey, on the one hand we have harsh laws that hinder freedom of expression while on the other we have senior officials making statements that sometimes may encourage violence.

Bearing this fact in mind, this latest murder once again underscores the urgency of promoting the rule of law, human rights and respect for individual rights in Turkey as an antidote to the growing danger of ultra-nationalism.

Additionally, increasing poverty in the country should also be tackled in a rational way to minimize the effects of the current social disorder; conditions that make it easy for the masterminds of violence to use young, jobless, brainwashed hitmen to easily kill intellectuals.

It is then not a coincidence that Dink's killer, a 17-year old male from the Black Sea town of Trabzon, and the 16-year-old killer of the Catholic priest Andrea Santoro in Trabzon in February last year, were jobless or had family problems.

Despite the negative atmosphere that still persists at the level of decision makers that may sometimes encourage those prone to violence, the fact that thousands of people in many cities in Turkey took to the streets to protest Dink's murder gives me hope that public awareness for widening freedom of expression will grow.

A placard carried during a protest in the southern city of Mersin read, “Hrant, do forgive us, we thought doves would not have been killed.” This emotional but meaningful slogan was in reference to one of Dink's last articles he wrote for Agos in which he likened himself to a dove and the “skittishness” of his soul as he faced the spurious prosecutions of nationalist lawyers.

But you were killed Hrant Dink, and we could not protect you like we could not protect the others.
23.01.2007




SUAT KINIKLIOGLU
Dink, doves and democracy

On the afternoon of Jan. 19 Turkey was seriously wounded. One of its brightest minds, Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of the Armenian weekly Agos, was assassinated in cold-blood in the middle of Istanbul. Since then, Turkey has expressed its disbelief, grief and disgust. Once again, we have demonstrated that we cannot stand men of letters, particularly if they challenge the views of the Turkish establishment.

Over the last four years we came to believe that the dark years of the 1970s and the 1990s were finally behind us. We came to believe that the democratization and EU-driven opening up to the world was an irrecoverable process and that our democracy was about to converge with that of the EU. It appeared as if it was only a matter of time before we consolidated the gains we had made. The murder of Hrant Dink violently showed us that this is not the case. It showed us that there are pockets in this country willing to kill intellectuals to disrupt Turkey’s democracy. It showed us that there are still people plotting to stop the transformation of this society.

It remains to be seen what the motives of the assassin and his accomplices were, but there is no doubt that the murder was a stab in the heart of our democratic existence. It was the rude awakening of a dream that this country was finally normalizing and integrating with the rest of the world. From now on, it will be much more difficult to revive the democratization momentum of 2003 and 2004. It will require much more energy, perseverance and determination to put Turkey back on track. The challenges, both from the inside and outside, will make it even more daunting.

There is no doubt that a lot depends on us intellectuals and elites, as we are also guilty in Hrant’s murder. We did not raise our voices enough to question the absurdities in the cases against him. We did not fulfill the responsibilities of honest intellectuals nor defend him adequately. That is probably why we are so united in condemning the murder. Knowing that we were not there for him when he needed us torments our consciousness.
Hrant’s assassination should remind all of us that we need to be more resolute in demanding a more open, transparent and democratic Turkey. We do not have a choice. Either we will dare to make the leap and move forward or condemn our children to live in a limited democracy.

Hrant Dink was a good journalist, an honest intellectual and a man who believed in the future of Turkey and Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. He was disliked by fanatics on both sides of the debate. By slaying him, we have committed a great crime against the social fabric of this country. By letting him down, we have damaged the already fragile internal situation with citizens of non-Turkish descent. By making him a target for fanatics, we have jeopardized the future of our democracy.

It is therefore critical for us to cling to the EU accession process and push for further reform, democratization and anchoring Turkey farther into the family of civilized democracies.
The first task ahead of us is to honor him with a respectful funeral and demonstrate to those who killed him that we stand by him and the freedoms he so passionately defended.
May his soul rest in peace.
23.01.2007




FATMA DISLI Turkish Press Review
Dink’s murder; amateur killer or orchestrated hit?

Hrant Dink's alleged killer was arrested barely 24 hours after the crime. Within hours of the shooting police released security camera pictures of a suspect that were broadcast across Turkey. A tip from the boy's father led to the arrest of 17-year-old Ogün Samast. He was caught in Samsun, apparently headed home, in possession of a gun. On Sunday prosecutors said that Samast had confessed to shooting Dink during initial interrogation. Samast claimed that he wanted to kill Dink because he was 'humiliating Turkish identity,' referring to statements the prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist had made three years ago. The alleged killer's youth has raised questions as to whether any mastermind or organizations were behind the murder. Indeed, police have arrested six more people in connection whom there are questioning. Hrant Dink was subject to numerous threats as well as a legal campaign initiated by nationalist lawyers for his writings on being an Armenian Turk. There are differing views suggesting this murder was either planned by some organization or was the work of an amateur killer.

Bugün's Emin Pazarcı rejects claims that Dink's murder was planned by some organization or by Turkey's so-called 'deep state.' He thinks these allegations are nothing more than conspiracy theories. If Samast had been a professional killer, says Parzarcı, he would have noticed the security cameras in the neighborhood and would have avoided them. A professional killer would not have worn such a conspicuous hat at the time of the murder and still be wearing the same hat when he was caught the next day. Pazarcı adds that a killer with the support of an organization does not travel by bus, as Samast did, on his way to his hometown; he would not be carrying the gun with which he committed the murder, and, most importantly, killers who are members of an organization do not confess their crimes immediately after being arrested. "It is apparent that Ogün Samast is a psychopath and poor guy. He might have been motivated or abused by people around him. But all these things do not change the result," explains Pazarcı. He concludes that Dink's murder was the job of an amateur killer and has nothing to do with professionalism.

Milliyet's Taha Akyol shares Pazarcı's view in that there is no organization behind Samast. He also calls allegations of 'deep state' involvement conspiracy theories. The numerous unprofessional attributes of the crime also ring true for Akyol. "If a 17-year-old boy is full of hatred to the point of killing somebody, he can simply find a Beretta and kill a man. The presence of a few other guys will be enough to help him," urges Akyol. But he still thinks that the judiciary should investigate every possible option in Dink's murder.

Vatan's Güngör Mengi is at odds with other columnists about the planning of this murder by a 17-year-old boy. He explains that secret organizations deliberately prefer to use people like Samast who do not seem intelligent. He thinks it is impossible that Samast could afford to buy a weapon which costs $1,000 while arrested he was only carrying $1. Furthermore, Mengi explains that Samast went to Istanbul by plane three times in a month. How could he manage to afford the travel costs if there was no organization behind him, says Mengi. "It is unlikely for a 17-year-old boy to find a weapon, travel to İstanbul from his hometown of Trabzon, find his target in such a big city and kill his target without any outside help," urges Mengi. He adds that Trabzon is steeped in a radical nationalist environment that sacrifices youth for nationalist hatred. According to Mengi, this reveals that there are some other reasons and powers behind the murder. "I hope that the security forces who arrested the killer will show the same success in finding the real address of the evil," concludes Mengi.

23.01.2007




Why is Hrant equivalent to Turkey?
The slaying of Hrant Dink will pose an important problem for Turkey's EU relations. As April approaches, it will also bring a new dimension to the debates over the Armenian genocide.
However, if we look beyond this and analyze the issue inwardly, we will see that there are developments showing the real target is something else. One point is very important: Dink stood on a platform where he received reactions from both sides. He represented a chance for Turkey to resolve this important problem. Dink was leading us to look for a common ground. This must be the essential reason he was targeted. This is why I say that Hrant was, in fact, Turkey. Turkey, just as Dink, stands on a common moderate path in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile. Despite this, the experience it has in being home to different ethnic and religious identities bothers those adamant about war.

23.01.2007
NASUHİ GÜNGÖR, STAR /Zaman




Just a murderer?
The profile drawn up of the suspect in the Hrant Dink murder has been of a less-than-intelligent young man who is prone to provocation and a man whose mind was clouded at Internet cafes.
However, Samast hasn't been found to have significant ties to any organization. There are steady and determined efforts to spread the belief that the murder was committed under the influence of nationalistic provocation. If this country says the file on Hrant Dink's murder is closed, claiming it is an isolated case of a confused young man, then it will not have closed the chapter on witnessing misfortunes like this. If the file on the raid of the state council had not been shut so quickly, perhaps the Hrant Dink murder would not have happened. Turkey is surely equipped with both the resources and strength to prevent such incidents.

23.01.2007
OKAY GÖNENSİN, VATAN / Zaman




Meaningful
The 17-year-old suspect in Dink's murder, who was caught in Samsun, should make us all contemplate whether or not we played a role in poisoning this young man's mind.
Whether we are journalists, teachers, soldiers or political figures, we should all ask ourselves this question. People such as Tayyip Erdoğan and Abdullah Gül, who have suffered personally due to limitations on their rights and freedom, initiated important reforms, facilitated the 'meeting of civilizations' and have been the in power for the past four years, should especially think about this question. I would have expected Erdoğan and Gül to ask themselves how it is that in a Turkey where they are in power, young people can be so full of hatred and intolerance. Instead, they responded with a knee-jerk reaction and said this murder was strategically planned in order to influence the French Senate and the US Congress.

23.01.2007
YASEMİN ÇONGAR, MİLLİYET /Zaman




Those who pointed the finger at Dink
Ilnur Cevik
ilnurcevik@yahoo.com
23 January 2007
Initial reports about the assassination of Hrant Dink have failed to reveal any connections to a terrorist cell or an organized group. There are suggestions that the suspect caught is a lone figure charged with nationalist feelings who took matters into his own hands to murder Dink …

If this is the case, then it is even more shocking because it means many liberal outspoken people in Turkey are in serious jeopardy of losing their lives at the hands of hotheads.

Whoever speaks any reason in Turkey or who voices views that do not appease the conservative establishment are immediately slated as enemies of the nation and unfortunately become targets.

We have two groups of people who provoke violence against such people.

The first are ultraconservatives who are charged with nationalist views. The second are the left-wing sympathizers who are more conservative and nationalist than the ultranationalists. They are all over the place from the press to the political parties. They hide behind left-wing views while they spread enmity and antagonism. They serve in some very prominent papers pointing the finger at liberal people making them a direct target.

Unfortunately they pointed the finger at Dink and it was only a matter of time that a hothead would try to take matters into his own hands …

The Armenian issue, like the Kurdish problem, is a hot potato in Turkey. Even if you make realistic assessments and evaluations you could end up being targeted in an adverse campaign by these conservative circles.

Now the whole nation is up in arms condemning the murder of Dink. Yet those who are today forced to condemn the killing were the ones who were pointing the finger at Dink a few days ago.

Let us hope they have learnt their lesson well that their actions, which seemed harmless, have in fact cost the life of a very good person.

Dink had his own views about the Armenian issue, which we may not like. But he had the courage of speaking up, believing that his views were for the benefit of this country, which he loved.

Those of us who speak up with force to tell our truth should not be deterred by this murder. We may lose some friends on the way by telling our nation the truth, but we are sure we will prevail.

May Dink rest in peace. May God accept him into heaven.




Political murder and Dink: Building a new bridge to history
Huseyin Bagci
bagci@metu.edu.tr
23 January 2007
The political murder of Hrant Dink created a great debate surrounding Turkey's foreign policy. The public diplomacy of Turkey could have suffered more if the murderer hadn't been caught in a day. The international press in particular started to sing in unison that the murder was a huge blow to Turkey's European Union bid and that Turkey's international image was damaged.

So Turkish police did a marvelous job in this respect. But the more important thing is that the entire country stood behind Hrant Dink with banners reading "We're all Hrant Dink." This is actually the best public diplomacy by the Turkish people and also a sign that Turkey is further on the way to a sound democracy and transparent society.

Yes, the killing shocked everyone and all condemned this attack, except those who planned and engineered it. Turkey is not the only country in this respect facing such politically motivated killings. There is further danger not only in Turkey but in all the countries where such public figures face similar threats.

When filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was killed by a young Muslim extremist on the street a few years ago in the Netherlands it was also condemned by all. However, we live in an era where organizing such political murders is much easier than it was in the past. The recent killing of a Russian journalist in London is an example showing that killers don't discriminate as to whether you're Russian, Dutch or Armenian.

Dink was a controversial figure in Turkey not only because of his ideas but also due to his stance on Turkey in international forums. In several instances he opposed the Armenian diaspora to defend Turkey and because of him, along with some other figures, Turkey started to discuss the Armenian issue, not as a taboo but rather as a means for reconciliation.

The most interesting aspect in his case was that he was a sincere man who loved this country and expected a more democratic Turkey. His life wasn't easy, and now it is Turkey which should revise certain policies since we can't continue with the Cold War mentality.

Indeed, Turkey isn't the country it was 10 years ago and the public is more aware of what is going on inside and abroad. The loss of Dink is a great blow to Turkey but at the same time a great opportunity to find some new ways to bring Turkish and Armenian societies closer. Turkey's public diplomacy is now facing a new challenge. But as the international media suggested, Turkey always has been a country familiar with political murders. The only difference is this that the murderer was caught very quickly, unlike the cases of Ugur Mumcu, Ahmet Taner Kislali, Professor Bahriye Ucok, and very recently Necip Hablemitoglu. There were just empty political words of politicians, as also seen in Radikal on Sunday as tailored by the well-known political showman Yilmaz Erdogan.

Will this political murder push the U.S. House of Representative to pass the so-called Armenian genocide resolution? Ankara hopes not.

This would fan the flames, not find common ground between Turkey and Armenia, and between Turkey and the U.S. It would be a grave mistake for the U.S. to pass the resolution. But the Turkish government should, as many expect in Turkey, take more concrete steps to open the borders with Armenia. It is known that political gestures do not solve main problems but at least create positive images for countries.

But the Armenian government should also make certain gestures and shouldn't try to manipulate the political situation. Dink would be the first one to oppose this if he were alive. The result should be that this political murder should build bridges rather than destroy them.

Also, the EU should be very constructive, and no doubt Armenia should be seen in the family of Europe.

The EU process of Turkey is a bitter one in many respects, including the minority issue. But when all the broadcasters said, "Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was assassinated," Turkey entered a new phase. Yet Turkey is a nation-state but also the successor of the Ottoman Empire with all advantages and disadvantages. Today's Turkey looks more and more a smaller microcosm of the Ottoman Empire.

The spirit of time is to recognize the fact that all the people living in this country are Turkish citizens with distinct ethnic and even racial differences. Nothing is wrong with this, as this fact has now been getting clearer. But at the same time there is only one country for all them who live on this land. In his book, "Who Are We?" Samuel Huntington comes to the conclusion that the American state should say whether the U.S. is an empire, nation-state or cosmopolitan state with several races and ethnic groups.

After 84 years of the republic, it seems the right time came for Turkey to revise certain views. Yes, Turkey is a nation-state with the heritage of the Ottoman Empire, which is not easy to carry into the new world of political conditions. Maybe all Turkish citizens should read the latest bestseller by historian Ilber Ortayli, ''The Last Empire: The Ottomans'' (Son Imparatorluk Osmanli), in order to understand contemporary Turkey better.




TurkishForum Advisory Board On Behalf Of Ataman Atlas
The sword comes out where Justice fails !


Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have not written for quite sometime due to a number of reasons, but have been following the issues on TF. As soon as I had heard about the murder of Dink, I expected this sort of reaction. It is all well and good to condemn all murderers and criminal activities, espouse to Freedom of Speech and unilateral, human rights etc etc.

But let us not forget one main point in any liberal democracy and that is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Why was the West not as a vocal when our representatives abroad were being murdered? Why have most of the murderers never been charged let alone convicted ??

If people expect me to feel sorry for Mr Dink, I am afraid they will be disappointed. I feel sorry for his family and loved ones but Mr Dink chose his own path. A path, which he knew all too well, especially residing in Turkey. Instead of pointing the finger at all Nationalists as in the article below, perhaps a more extensive examination into the cause of the murder would be of benefit. That is the apathy of numerous Turkish Governments in acting against these prolonged, spiteful, and deceitful Armenian Genocide allegations.

I would class myself as a Nationalist voter and I for one can say I do not have the blood of Dink on my hands as is eluded to in the below article. If any one other than the murderer has Dink’s blood on their hands, it is the entire Western media for their propagandist, one - sided, misleading and deceitful coverage of the false Armenian Genocide allegations.

It looks like the chickens are coming home to roost as Malcolm X may have said. How long did people think that Turks were just going to lay down dead and do nothing? I end this with a very thought provoking quote, “The sword only comes out where Justice fails”.

Ataman Atlas
Atlas Legal
Irwin Chambers
Lvl 3 / 16 Irwin Street
Perth, W.A 6000

Phone: (08) 9218 8024
Fax: (08) 9218 8027




Who Killed Hrant Dink?
Hrant Dink was a Turkish-Armenian journalist. He was murdered yesterday.

Like many liberal Turkish writers, including Nobel winner Orhan Pamuk, he’d been to court charged with breaking the infamous “regulation 301”. It forbids anyone from insulting “Turkishness”. Hrant believed that Turks must be reconciled with their own history before genuine reconciliation can take place between Turks and Armenians.

In the past such murders were ascribed to “shadowy figures in the deep state”. Not any more. The nationalists, reacting in part to Western, particularly American, cultural and political ambitions in the Middle East, have created a monster which freely roams the streets. It kills Christian priests, fires guns and lobs Molotov cocktails at Protestant churches, and makes a mockery of Turkey’s claims at being a cross-roads of diversity and multi-culturalism.

The monster is a deliberate creation of nationalist politicians, newspaper men (and women), and film producers, notably the creators of the violent series Kurtlar Vadisi (Valley of the Wolves). A like-minded group of lawyers led by the infamous Mr. Kemal Kerincsiz hauls those who think slightly differently to court on the least excuse. If they cannot see you behind bars, they’ll blacken your name. You might even be killed… Like Hrant Dink.

Hrant is not the first, and won’t be the monster’s last victim. It will continue to devour until the Turks, en masse, are sickened by it. Only then will the politicians, newpapermen and women, and film producers change their tunes; they, after all, are merely driven by the vote and the bottom line.

Who killed Hrant Dink? Every nationalist voter.




50,000 Turks mourn slain Armenian editor
Jan 23, 2007
By Daren Butler
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Some 50,000 people filed silently through Istanbul on Tuesday behind the coffin of Turkish Armenian editor Hrant Dink, whose murder has stirred debate about the influence of hardline nationalism in Turkey.

From early morning, tearful mourners, many holding identical black-and-white signs reading "We are all Hrant Dink" and "We are all Armenians", gathered outside the Agos newspaper office where Dink was shot three times in broad daylight last Friday.

White doves were released into the air as sombre music played. Much of downtown Istanbul, a sprawling city of city some 12 million set on the Bosphorus waterway, was closed to traffic.

Ogun Samast, 17, has confessed to killing Dink for "insulting" Turks. A nationalist militant friend of Samast has admitted to police he incited Samast to kill Dink, who had worked for reconciliation between Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks.

"We are seeing off our brother with a silent walk, without slogans and without asking how a baby became a murderer," Dink's widow Rakel, surrounded by her three children, told mourners.

Turkey has become a more open, liberal country in recent years, helped by a swathe of reforms driven by the country's campaign to join the European Union. But the murder has highlighted the continued influence of ultra-nationalism.

Amid tight security, thousands of people followed the black hearse with the coffin on its 8-km (5 mile) journey across Istanbul and the Golden Horn waterway to an Armenian church.

Ministers, foreign diplomats, Armenian government officials and members of both Turkey's 60,000-strong Armenian community and the global Armenian diaspora joined the service.

"We still hope that (Turks)...will accept that the Armenians are Turkish citizens that have been living on this land for thousands of years and are not foreigners or potential enemies," Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II told the mourners.

Dink will be buried at the Balikli Armenian Cemetery.

MASSACRES

Dink, like dozens of other intellectuals including Nobel Literature Laureate Orhan Pamuk, had been prosecuted for his views on the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 -- a very sensitive issue in Turkey.

Turkish nationalists, including some senior politicians, regard the intellectuals' calls for Turkey to own up to its role in the massacres as a threat to national security and honour.

"This (murder) is not an exceptional case but the result of a poisonous nationalist atmosphere. Turkey's credibility abroad has hit rock bottom," said Vural Oger, a leading Turkish-German businessman and politician.

Turks are taught from early childhood to revere their country, its flag and its founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -- but this heavy emphasis on the nation can lead to intolerance for outsiders and has fuelled various militant groups over the decades ready to use violence against perceived threats.

Kurdish insurgency in the southeast, for instance, has raised hardline warnings of a national disintegration that had threatened before Ataturk founded the republic in 1923.

Turkey denies claims that 1.5 million Armenians died in a systematic genocide at Turkish hands, saying large numbers of both Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks perished during the messy breakup of the Ottoman Empire.

But, to Ankara's dismay, many foreign parliaments have passed laws recognising the massacres as genocide.

Dink's murder has increased pressure on the pro-EU government to scrap a controversial law, article 301, used against Dink and others to curb freedom of expression. Many mourners carried signs on Tuesday saying "301 -- murderer".

(Additional reporting by Gareth Jones in Ankara and Thomas Grove in Istanbul)

© Reuters 2007




Turks flock to editor’s funeral
By Vincent Boland in Ankara
January 23 2007
Tens of thousands of people turned out on the streets of Istanbul on Tuesday for the funeral of Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor shot dead in the city on Friday in an apparently politically motivated murder.

They held up placards saying “We are all Armenians” and threw carnations at the cortege as Dink’s coffin was brought to the Armenian Church of the Virgin Mary for a funeral mass officiated by Mesrob II, the Armenian patriarch of Istanbul.


Rakel Dink, his widow, made a brief speech before the funeral ceremony got under way. His family had earlier pleaded with mourners not to turn the event into a protest, and the large crowds were mostly silent.

Large parts of downtown Istanbul were cordoned off for the funeral, one of the largest public events in the city in recent years.

Dink, 52, was murdered on Friday on the street outside the office of Agos, the bilingual Turkish and Armenian newspaper he founded and edited. The murder shocked Turkey and drew expressions of condemnation from abroad.

He was a leading protagonist in the painful and frequently censored debate in Turkey about the fate of Armenians as the Ottoman empire collapsed during the First World War.

Armenians say the massacres were genocide, a claim Turkey denies.

Dink was instrumental in getting Turks to discuss the Armenian issue, which had long been taboo in public discussion. He was also sometimes critical of the Armenian diaspora, which is based mostly in the US and France, for its insistence on the claim of genocide.

Ogun Samast, a teenage boy from the eastern city of Trabzon, has confessed to killing Dink. Several people are also being questioned amid reports that the alleged assassin was set up by others.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007




Thousands Mourn Slain Editor in Istanbul
By SEBNEM ARSU and SUSANNE FOWLER
ISTANBUL, Jan. 23 — Huge crowds of mourners, including senior Turkish and Armenian officials joining for a rare display of unity, poured into the heart of Istanbul today to bid farewell to Hrant Dink, the Armenian-Turkish journalist who was shot and killed on the street in front of his newspaper’s offices last week.
Related
Armenian Editor’s Death Leads to Conciliation (January 23, 2007)

With hundreds of police officers in riot gear on duty and traffic barred on major thoroughfares, the normally chaotic section of the city took on a somber atmosphere. Armenian music played from loudspeakers along Republic Avenue as Turks of various ethnicities stood shoulder to shoulder, many of them in tears. Others leaned out windows or over balcony railings to watch the procession.

Mr. Dink’s widow, Rakel, addressed the street gathering and said that she and Mr. Dink “will be reunited in heaven.”

Mr. Dink’s family had requested a silent vigil in front of the offices of Agos, the weekly bilingual newspaper that he edited. But the crowd instead broke out with spontaneous bouts of whistling or applause. The few chants that were heard called for solidarity with Turkey’s minority communities, including Kurds and Jews as well as Armenians.

An elderly woman of Armenian descent, crying on the street, said that it was “important to remember that Turkey became a republic with our blood, too.” She asked not to be identified, saying that was afraid that someone might shoot her as well.

Pigeons were released into the air, a reference to something Mr. Dink wrote in one of his last articles for Agos: He described himself as a pigeon, always nervously looking from side to side, fearful of threats against him and his family.

Another mourner, a high school student named Eren Yigit who is 17 — the same age as Ogun Samast, the suspected killer — said that he could not imagine committing such a crime. “It’s obvious that someone began brainwashing him at a younger age,” he said of Mr. Samast.

Basak Yilmaz, 27, was waiting to take the subway to her job in the marketing department of Finans Bank. “This is not all just because Dink was Armenian, or any other ethnicity,” she said. “It’s about humanity and freedom of speech.”

Many who gathered held red carnations distributed by the local mayor’s office, or waved circular black and white placards reading “We are all Hrant Dink” in Turkish on one side and in Armenian on the other.

Other signs in the crowd read “Abolish 301,” a reference to the article of the Turkish penal law making it a crime to insult the state or Turkishness. Scores of intellectuals, including Mr. Dink and the Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, have been prosecuted under the article because of lawsuits brought by nationalists.

Tugrul Eryilmaz, 60, the features editor of the daily newspaper Radikal, was moved by the emotion and sweep of the march.

“Someone should have done this long ago,” he said. “We should have all reacted like this to Article 301, and to the killing of that priest in Trabzon. Well, better now than never.”

At the start of the procession, Mr. Dink’s coffin, covered with white daisies, lay inside a black hearse parked outside his newspaper offices. The hearse then moved off slowly in the direction of Taksim Square in the city center, and then across the Golden Horn waterway to the site of the funeral mass. At least one Armenian religious leader rode in the front seat of the hearse as family members walked behind on foot.

At one point, the entourage passed a billboard several stories tall advertising blue jeans with the headline “Make History.”

Spiritual and political leaders from Armenia and from Armenian communities elsewhere did just that by accepting the Turkish government’s invitation to attend the funeral, held at the Holy Mother of God Armenian Patriarchal Church.

They included the archbishop of the Armenian Church of America, Khajag Barsamyan; Arman Kirakossian, the former Armenian ambassador to the United States, who is now the deputy foreign minister of Armenia; and Karen Mirzoyan, the Armenian representative to the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.

Representing the Turkish government were Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin and Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu.




Haunted by the past Leader
January 23, 2007
The Guardian
Writing what turned out to be his last column before he was murdered, Hrant Dink likened himself to a pigeon, "obsessively looking to my left and to my right, in front of me and behind me". Not without good reason. As editor of a bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper, he had never shunned controversy, and on Friday he paid the price. He was shot three times as he left his office.

Worryingly, this was not an isolated incident. In the past 15 years 18 other Turkish journalists have been killed for their work, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists - making Turkey the eighth deadliest country in the world for members of this profession. Aside from the risk to life and limb, journalists - along with academics and others - have suffered pervasive legal harassment for allegedly violating article 301 of the penal code, which makes it a crime to "insult" Turkey, its government or national character. Those who have fallen foul of this law include the novelist Orhan Pamuk, who late last year became the first Turk to win a Nobel prize.

Mr Dink, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, had also been prosecuted several times - on one occasion for complaining about certain lines in the Turkish national anthem. But most of the trouble heaped upon him resulted from his views on the mass killing of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915, which many regard as genocide. More than 90 years after the event, it remains one of the most sensitive and intractable issues in Turkish politics, with the government continuing to reject the "genocide" label. Mr Dink's contribution in this area was far from unconstructive: he had been looking for ways, as he put it, to "change this historical conflict into peace" and had urged Armenians in the diaspora to temper their anger.

This is one key issue (along with Cyprus and the Kurdish question) that Turkey will have to resolve as it strives towards membership of the EU. The need to do so is obvious but, in fairness to Turkey - sandwiched between Europe and the Middle East, shackled by relics of its past and attempting to balance the demands of conflicting internal forces - we can scarcely expect results overnight.

What we must expect, though, is a thorough and transparent investigation into the killing of Mr Dink, with scrutiny that is up to the best standards, rather than those of the Middle East. We might also hope, though with less confidence, that the Turkish government will take this chance to reconsider article 301, not just because such laws have no place in a modern state, but because honest debate is the best, and perhaps the only, way in which the ghosts of history might finally be laid to rest.


Comments
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January 23, 2007
"have suffered pervasive legal harassment for allegedly violating article 301 of the penal code, which makes it a crime to "insult" Turkey, its government or national character".

It's simple. Turkey should not be allowed to enter the EU until it commits to democracy and democratic principles. No ifs, no buts.
------------
January 23, 2007
No one can defend a murder whatever the motives. So, I condemn the murder of Hrant Dink like all the rational Turkish people. What irritates me, though, is the fact that many registered Turkish "haters" seem to find yet another opportunity to criticize Turkey and everything that is Turkish.

Turkey is powerful enough to fight its problems and will do so not because some "others" want it to do so, but because it itself wants to do so. Democracy and democratic principles are in no one's monopoly.

What I see in this heinous murder is that Dink is not the first journalist who is killed or will be the last unfortunately. In the past journalist murders the role of the foreign services have been proved. In this sense, there exists hypocrisy especially in the Western world towards Turkey. On one hand they seem as if they sincerely criticizing Turkey, and on the other they do everything possible to destabilize it. The covert support for the terrorist PKK is just another example. Besides, by continually rejecting Turkey's membership, the EU also contributed to the formation of the murderous environment.

Turkey has already captured the murderer and will be able to find other "ties" in a short time. However one should not forget that fanatics of all sorts can be found in any country.
-----------------------

January 23, 2007
The killing of Hrant Dink is the most appalling and the ugliest crime in Turkey in recent times as far I am able to observe. It is a crime for which this government (and the ones before it) and all state institutions –police, justice-bear full and direct responsibility. Helped by the recent nationalist euphoria in the Turkish media, they made this most innocent man an obvious target and yet offered him no protection. The murderers and their backers are no secret at all: neo-Nazi ultra nationalists (whose core organization was established by CIA in the 1950s to fight communism) who have been killing and intimidating “dissenting” journalists, writers and politicians for the several decades, and have always been getting away with their crimes of any kind.

Sadly, “a thorough and transparent investigation into the killing of Mr Dink, with scrutiny that is up to the best standards” is what we will NOT get. This is THE problem. It explains why Turkey has not been able to put an end to these brutal killings. Furthermore, it suggests that we may see more killings of this type. Only a most brave government can conduct a proper investigation the Leader rightly demands. This government is not -of course I hope to be proved wrong. As far as I can follow, this country has never had a brave, fully democratic and transparent government in the last several decades. Is it possible to expect one in the near future? I doubt it.
----------------
January 23, 2007
The killing of Hrant Dink is the most appalling and the ugliest crime in Turkey in recent times as far I am able to observe. It is a crime for which this government (and the ones before it) and all state institutions –police, justice-bear full and direct responsibility. Helped by the recent nationalist euphoria in the Turkish media, they made this most innocent man an obvious target and yet offered him no protection. The murderers and their backers are no secret at all: neo-Nazi ultra nationalists (whose core organization was established by CIA in the 1950s to fight communism) who have been killing and intimidating “dissenting” journalists, writers and politicians for the several decades, and have always been getting away with their crimes of any kind.

Sadly, “a thorough and transparent investigation into the killing of Mr Dink, with scrutiny that is up to the best standards” is what we will NOT get. This is THE problem. It explains why Turkey has not been able to put an end to these brutal killings. Furthermore, it suggests that we may see more killings of this type. Only a most brave government can conduct a proper investigation the Leader rightly demands. This government is not -of course I hope to be proved wrong. As far as I can follow, this country has never had a brave, fully democratic and transparent government in the last several decades. Is it possible to expect one in the near future? I doubt it.
-----------
January 23, 2007
Surely, one cannot expect "results over-night" from Turkey with regard to the acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide. But Turkey applied for EC membership in 1964 and thus had ample time to make at least some moves. This has not happened. Could it be that it is the extreme Turkish nationalism that actually keeps the country together? If so, Turkey will never be an acceptable player in the EU. They would make UK and Polish obstructionism look like a child's game.
--------------
January 23, 2007
Surely, one cannot expect "results over-night" from Turkey with regard to the acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide. But Turkey applied for EC membership in 1964 and thus had ample time to make at least some moves. This has not happened. Could it be that it is the extreme Turkish nationalism that actually keeps the country together? If so, Turkey will never be an acceptable player in the EU. They would make UK and Polish obstructionism look like a child's game.




Murder investigation focuses on accomplices
January 23, 2007
ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News


The investigation into the murder of journalist Hrant Dink on Monday focused on those who aided the 17-year-old suspect, with similarities between the murder of an Italian priest last summer in the Black Sea city of Trabzon coming under increasing scrutiny.

Priest Santoro was murdered by a 17-year-old and the murder was seen as a crime perpetrated by a disturbed youth, but developments and Dink's murder has made some think that criminal groups in Trabzon are using impressionable youth to commit heinous crimes.

"We are looking into the political aspect of the murder and possible links with illegal organizations," said Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah, adding that they believed the suspect was influenced by news articles he read about Dink.

Later on Monday, Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu said most of those who were involved in the murder of Dink were in custody, adding that their investigation was continuing.

Dink, 52, was a taboo-breaking critic of the official line on the 1915-17 Ottoman Empire massacre of Armenians and was given a suspended six-month jail sentence last year for "insulting Turkishness." Dink had gained respect in Turkey as a sincere activist for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and for free speech; he also denounced Armenian radicalism and, most recently, branded as "idiocy" a French bill making the denial of Armenian "genocide" a jailable offense.

A prosecutor said on Sunday that the suspect, Ogün Samast, had confessed to Friday's murder and newspapers quoted the teenager as telling police he shot Dink because the journalist insulted the Turkish nation.

Samast told police he was told to kill Dink by a friend, Yasin Hayal, who spent 11 months in jail for a 2004 bomb attack against a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon.

"Yasin told me to shoot Dink. He gave me the gun. So I did," Hürriyet daily quoted the teenager as saying.

Turkish newspapers described Hayal, who is also in police custody, as an "older brother" figure who frequently met youngsters in the area and influenced them with his ultranationalist views.

Hayal confessed police that he charged Samast to kill Dink “to save the honor of Turkey,” making him the leading suspect of the investigation after Samast, the daily Hürriyet reported. Hayal told police in Istanbul that he first tried to persuade another teenager to kill Dink, but he eventually went after Samast. Hayal said he gave money and a gun to Samast and congratulated him for his success. “I'm angry with what's going on in Turkey. The state does nothing against those who are against the state and Turkey. That's why we charged Ogün for that mission,” Hürriyet quoted Hayal as saying.

Samast also told police that they had done some practice shooting at a plateau near Trabzon and that he was chosen because he was the best shooter.

The fact that both teenagers came from poor families, were not well educated and were not trained because they were caught with the murder weapons showed that there was a trend in choosing the murderers, said an unidentified police officer to Hürriyet.

The officer also said that if the “elder brother” in the first murder case had been caught, the second murder would not have taken place.

Media focuses attention on Turkish society:

The recent social and political environment in Turkey, with rising nationalist sentiments, is to blame for what happened, said many commentators on Monday. İsmet Berkan, the editor-in-chief of daily Radikal, wrote in his column on Saturday that he did not believe it was the “deep state” that perpetrated the crime but the nationalist sentiments incited by politicians.

“… Those who created the nationalist atmosphere in Turkey fed a monster that produced many children who are eager to believe they need to take the matter into their own hands,” wrote Berkan in his column.

Hürriyet said Samast, an unemployed secondary school graduate, was among 10 youths aged 15 to 17 whom Hayal had last year trained to handle and shoot small arms in order to assassinate Dink.

"I was chosen because I was the best shot and the fastest runner," the daily Vatan quoted Samast as telling police.

Friends described Samast, who played football for an amateur team in Trabzon, as an introvert who frequented Internet cafes but who was also aggressive.

His mother, Havva Samast, said on Monday that she believed her son was a mere tool.

"He is not a person who could do this on his own," she said in remarks broadcast on the NTV news channel. "Someone used him."

Apart from Samast and Hayal, police are questioning six other suspects in connection with the killing.

Police conducted a re-enactment under heavy security of the murder with Samast late on Sunday, which saw passers-by booing the teenager and calling him a "disgrace."

Showing no remorse, Samast reportedly told police that he first tried to meet Dink in his office but was not allowed in by suspicious staff.

He said he waited in the street until Dink returned from a nearby bank.

"I approached him from behind and fired shot after shot," Samast was quoted by the liberal Vatan newspaper as saying. Dink died instantly after being shot three times in the head and neck. /TDN




Article 301 under pressure
January 23, 2007
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
Arguments against the controversial Article 301, which defines the crime of “insulting Turkishness”, have been raised one more time after the murder of journalist Hrant Dink, who had been tried under this article. Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) has been criticized widely and harshly as an impediment on freedom of speech. A number of prominent authors and intellectuals have been tried under the terms of Article 301, including Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk and writer and TDN columnist Elif Şafak.

Pamuk expressed his condolences to the murdered journalist's family, and stated that those who defend Article 301 and want it to remain in force are those responsible for Dink's murder.

Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç said that Parliament would do its best to remove the article if a proposal were formulated. He said that a partial change of Article 301 or its complete removal were both possibilities. “The cabinet has opened the issue to debate. Civil society institutions have met in order to come to an agreement. But no conclusion has been reached yet,” said Arınç, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Abdüllatif Şener said in a program on Kanal 7 that similar articles existed in other European countries, with the only difference that no cases based on the articles were actually carried out. “Our 73 million people should know to love differences,” said Şener, emphasizing that people's perspectives change through discussion.




Hrant Dink's legacy
January 23, 2007
FERAY AKŞİT/EMİNE İNCE
ISTANBUL - Referans
The journalist devoted 25 years of his life to reopening the children's camp in Tuzla. Those who wish to honor his memory could do so by giving the camp a second lease of life

It is 1962. He is only 8, carrying stones with his tiny hands to the construction site. Once the building is completed, he will not only have a camp where he can forget about his loneliness, but also a new home. Thirty orphans, including Hrant Dink, their ages ranging from eight to 12, are staying at the church on the property and are working hard to help with the construction of the camp. Two years of hard work bears fruit: A summer camp is completed with rooms for children and teachers, study and dining halls and gardens. In time the camp develops into a complex where 1,500 children live.

He met his wife Rakel in the camp:

Dink even met his wife Rakel there, in the Tuzla summer camp. Hrant and Rakel loved the camp so much that they had their wedding ceremony there and their children were born in the camp grounds. He became the administrator of the place years later. However, in 1979 the state took over the camp, which then housed about 1,500 Armenian orphans. Ever since then Dink struggled to have the camp restored to the children.

He even wrote a book about the story of the camp but his attempts failed to provide a solution. He summarized his experience of the camp: “I was eight when I first went to Tuzla. I have worked hard for 20 years for that camp. I met my wife Rakel there. We grew up together. We got married there. Our children were born there. But one day they handed us a court declaration. We were defeated after a five-year struggle. What could we do, we had the state against us?”

In 1979, the General Management of Foundations started court action to have the land deed appointing the Foundation of Gedikpaşa Armenian Protestant Church as the owner of the camp land revoked, asking that the land be returned to its previous owner. Following a four-year legal process the court ruled that the land should be returned to its previous owner. The decision in line with the 1974 Court of Appeals decision declaring that all real estate acquired by minorities after 1936 be either given back to their previous owners or handed over to the National Real-estate Foundation; minority foundations were banned from acquiring property.

Dink wrote about the camp in “The Tuzla Armenian children's camp: a story of confiscation.” He was bitter: “They have seized the hard work of 1,500 children who grew up in the camp. They have usurped all our labor. If only they had remade it into a camp for needy or orphaned children, I would have happily passed on any ownership of the project but I cannot do that under the circumstances.”

He last visited a couple of years ago:

The camp, only a couple of minutes' walk from the sea, is now encircled by top-end villas. Once a lively place full of children's laughter, the camp is now in ruins. It is a heart-rending sight. The only thing in the camp that has not changed is the caretaker, Selahattin, who was employed there during Dink's administration and still lives there with his family.

About the current condition of the camp grounds, Selahattin related the following: “No one lives here now. The new owners came here three or four years ago and did some survey of the place. But they never came again.” He added that Dink has last visited the camp a couple of years ago.




I am an Armenian today
January 23, 2007
CUNEYT ULSEVER /TDN
Today I am an Armenian. I am a Jew, a Greek, an Asyrian, a Chaldean.

Today I am a Kurd, a Laz, a Circassian, a Georgian, an Abkhaz, an Arab, a Gypsy!

Today, I am very hurt, weary and sad.

Today, my stomach is upset because I am forced to watch the same film over and over again.

Why was Hrant Dink slain?

Two things I am sure of:

Whenever Turkey tries to be active in foreign politics, it is forced to deal with its own issues.

Now, Turkey will be humbled by “genocide bills.”

She will be receiving a hard blow in the United States Congress, just as she is electing her new president in April.

But what I find more consequential is:

Instead of being an active country in the Middle East, once again Turkey will become a passive country busy trying to acquit and explain herself.

I see a link between the latest developments in the Middle East, the Turkish Parliament's decision for a secret meeting, and this loathsome murder.

As of now, every time Turkey will try to make a leap in issues relating to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), about Kirkuk, about northern Iraq, she will be told, “Clean up your own shame first.”

A shamed entity cannot advise, instruct, or guide someone else!

Whenever there is a sharp divide between the will of the nation and the will of the state, the skies first covered up with dark clouds, then it starts hailing, and, in the end, there is a storm.

Dark clouds have been gathering ever since the episodes in Şemdinli. It is obvious that as May 2007 nears, first it will start hailing, and then a storm will break out.

Will the person at the top become the president of the Republic?

Or will he be the president of the state?

That is the issue!

I wonder:

Will the conscience of those who insist on not changing Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), who cannot pronounce the word “Turk” for Hrant Dink but only refer to him with the cold label of “ citizen of the Turkish Republic”, who made Dink suffer in courts but passed judgments in front of cameras without any restraint, who elusively answer “my party will decide on that” when asked whether they will be attending Dink's funeral, and who think they can avoid any responsibility by claiming “he did not request any protection,” ever rest?

Do not look far away for Dink's murderer. Do not mix up those who politicize Dink's murder with the murderer.

Do not rest before the real murderers are caught!

“The fire burns where it falls!”

My condolences to his family!

Hope he rests well in heaven!

Farewell Hrant!




301 killed Hrant Dink
January 23, 2007
Mehmet Ali Birand /TDN

Today is Hrant Dink's day.

Today we will be marching for him. Those who love Turkey will be carrying his coffin on their shoulders.

However, we still cannot be exonerated. We can neither bring Hrant back nor restore Turkey's reputation.

The young man whose finger pulled the trigger in Hrant's murder has been captured.

However, the real murderer will again go scot-free.

We are the real murderers of Hrant.

We have nourished our murderers in a mindset and against a backdrop shaped by Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). We have handed them the guns.

All those responsible are still among us. What is worse, some of them appear on television broadcasts and go on and on about how sorry they feel.

And how about those who abide strictly by Article 301, just because it is “written” even while there is still debate over it? How about those who have filed complaint upon complaint against Dink, basing their claims on Article 301?

How about those public prosecutors who have taken these illogical complaints seriously and have decided to proceed, saying, “I would like to get rid of the responsibility so I will file a suit and let the court decide?”

And how about the judges who accepted these legal cases, only to interpret Article 301 in the most restricted fashion possible so as to convict Hrant?

What about them?

We are all responsible. The list is very long.

Those who massed at courts, rushed, cursed and even took a punch at people like Dink, chanting, “We want our democratic rights…”

Those who raid Armenian conferences, ruin exhibitions…

Please tell me if I am wrong…

Are we not rough as a society?

We especially belittle our minorities. We do not consider our citizens of diverse ethnic groups as one of our own. We hate different points of view. We do not like discussions. We are all too ready to employ violence to impose our views. We become rude. We lash out when we are angry.

Is it not true?

This is the reason why we have all killed Hrant…

This is the reason why Article 301 killed Hrant…

This is the reason why, if we would like to make a change as a society, we need to change Article 301.

This is the only way we can ask for Hrant Dink's forgiveness.

We would like to see everyone at the funeral today:

Many of my colleagues have been writing about the issue for days. I agree with them.

We would like to see Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gül, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt and, most importantly, our president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, at the funeral today.

A citizen was murdered. And he was slain only because he was of Armenian descent. He was shot at because he called for freedom of press.

Dink is a martyr of democracy.

We should show the same sensitivity toward Dink's funeral as we do for the fallen in the name of our country. We should embrace Ömer Çelik's proposal and wrap his coffin in a Turkish flag.

President Sezer should demonstrate his devotion to the law and to justice in this way.

Prime Minister Erdoğan should not be afraid of losing nationalist votes. He should prove his claims today openly as he is very proud of his courage and repeatedly states his devotion to democracy.

The rumor has it that his schedule is full. But he could just postpone the closed meeting of Parliament, see Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi to his private jet, and attend the funeral, even if only for two hours.

We are well aware of Gen. Büyükanıt's sensitivity to the issue. We are sure that he will not simply settle for sending a garland to the funeral. Let's all support Turkey today. Let's show the whole world that the genocide claims are lies. Let's demonstrate that the murderers are not amongst us.




The anatomy of a pre-announced murder
January 23, 2007
CENGIZ AKTAR
At first, clergyman and representative of Sunni Islam, Religious Affairs Directorate head Ali Bardakoğlu was very worried that Turkey's “image was damaged.” The chief of general staff said that the bullet was actually fired at Turkey. The minister of justice, the architect of Article 301, according to which Hrant Dink was tried, said that the murder was a “well-calculated provocation.” The prime minister clarified the situation with “dirty hands have chosen our country.”

Friday night, in a salvo and as if in agreement, members of both the state and politicians said over and over again that Turkey was being attacked via this murder. Statements from both people and men of importance were textbook maxims originating from the reflex to protect the state. They were strong words that remind us, in our country, that the state needs to be protected before the individual. As if Dink was guilty of being murdered and thereby of disadvantaging the state…

Making-a-big-deal-out-of-nothing specialists repeatedly stated that the murder was a provocation. It was implied by both members of the state and politicians that the secret aim of this murder was to ease the path for Armenian genocide plans, expected to pass in the U.S. Congress. In other words, it was implied that the murder was carried out by focal points who will benefit from disadvantaging Turkey – Armenians, French, Americans, Argentineans, Swiss – in short, all those countries that declared it genocide, and all those that did not. But insistently not the Turks. So, Dink, who received regular life threats from all over Turkey, who was claimed as a target by many internal focal points, and who was the target of much antagonism by the rampant nationalists, was killed by one of the above foreign forces? Or is it that the worst trick on Turkey is being pulled by Turks again? Or is it that the Turk's worst enemy is itself?

Right after the murder, it was discussed whether or not the cause was negligence. If there has been such a threat that could so gravely hurt the country, what measures has the state taken to prevent it? In the aftermath of the controversy as to whether Sabiha Gokcen was Armenian or not, the state has implied, during a meeting at the governor's office that “the nationalist spirits have surged, if you keep talking, they may not be controlled.” So what has the state done to prevent such a provocation? Nothing! So, at the end of the day, it could not protect itself, “the almighty state,” just as it could not protect Dink's life. As a result of this reasoning, has not the state been negligent in taking care of its well-being, just as it has been in protecting a citizen's life?

We have not heard anything from either the members of state or politicians about the gruesome situation the country is in or the reality of increasing ethnic nationalism with a religious theme. Armenian, Greek, Kurdish, Jewish, Assyrian, Alevi, women, disabled, leftist, liberal, homosexual … Who will protect the right of life for those where insulting anyone except for “Sunni-Muslim-Turkish-man-who thinks like the state” goes unpunished? It is not clear how society, all minorities, and anyone who thinks dissimilar will be protected against this deep-water wave. On the contrary, a nightmarish Article 301 rises against all those who think differently.

The political sphere has not yet explained how it intends to tame the nationalist greed that has come unhinged during a period of election. No politician has voiced the desire to annul Article 301 with this as the aim. Or is it the political world that entices the lynching mood that we are in? Could it be that the reason for using only themes of protection and national injury in Turkey is to cover the embarrassment, while Germany says of the murder “we are appalled by this murder,” and the United States calls it “worrying”?

Dink was the conscience of realities that were not talked about for centuries. Even though I became aware of the Armenian issue a long time ago, every time we talked, I learned something new about this big Anatolian drama. Whole Armenian villages that were converted en masse after 1915, tribes that took over Kurdish attributes, Armenian brides, fortunes created with Armenian properties…

Writers who talk about the Armenian issue are marginalized, while journalists are slain here. It is true that the bullet was fired at Turkey. But it was also fired at a Turkey that was trying to make pace with itself by a Turkey that is sure of its taboos and dogmas. … Dink said, “We were candidates to turn the hell he is living in, into a heaven.” He is now in heaven himself, without having the opportunity to make this place heavenly. Turkey without Dink is left as an incomplete Turkey that will have a harder time resolving its problems.




Armenian reps to attend Dink's funeral
The New Anatolian
23 January 2007
In a surprising move, Turkey has invited official Armenian representatives to attend the funeral of a slain Armenian-Turkish journalist.

Following Friday's assassination of Hrant Dink, Turkey invited both officials from Armenia, with whom it has no diplomatic relations, as well as Armenian diaspora figures to attend his funeral set for today.

The Foreign Ministry said that they received positive responses from both Yerevan and the Armenian diaspora, but it is not yet clear who will represent Armenia at the funeral.

Taking action at the instruction of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Ambassador Altay Cengizer invited members of the Yerevan administration to Dink's funeral.

Moderate figures from the Armenian diaspora were also invited to the funeral. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, was also invited.

The funeral ceremony for Dink will be held today, starting at 11 a.m. with a memorial service in front of the offices of Agos, the daily Dink founded.

Following the ceremony to be held at the Virgin Mary Church in Kumkapi at 2 p.m., Dink will be laid to rest at the Balikli Armenian Cemetery.

Meanwhile, Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc said during a visit of condolences to Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan that he and President Sezer would not be able to attend the funeral due to scheduling conflicts.

Gul will participate in the funeral on behalf of the Turkish government.

A written statement issued by Agos said: "Upon the wish of Hrant Dink, it is diligently requested that no slogans be shouted, no banners be held and no atmosphere of demonstration be created."

Armenian village to commemorate Dink

In commemoration of Dink, a memorial ceremony will also be held today in the village of Vakifli in the Samandag district, where many Turkish citizens of Armenian origin reside.

Vakifli Muhtar (local official) Berc Kartum stated that Dink played a balancing role in the development of Turkish-Armenian relations and that the capture of the suspect in his murder was helping to heal the wounds from his slaying.

"Dink wondered so much about our village," said Kartum. "He intended to come several times. But he wasn't able to come for various reasons. Our hope is that the dark powers which stand behind the 17-year-old suspect will be found. We will open the church at the same hour as the funeral in Istanbul tomorrow and pray."




Police: No organizational link so far in Dink murder
The New Anatolian
23 January 2007
As both the media and politicians concentrated on pondering the actual reasons for the murder of Hrant Dink, the police said yesterday that the suspect has no ties to illegal organizations or political underground groups, based on the his testimony so far.

Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah added that the suspect, Ogun Samast, committed the murder due to the influence of nationalistic sentiments.

Dink, a Turkish journalist of Armenian descent, was killed outside his bilingual Turkish-Armenian Agos newspaper's office in Istanbul on Friday.

The comments are likely to increase disappointment among the public, with the police chief's remark being compared to past police statements over unsolved murders.

The interrogation of the suspect is ongoing, added Cerrah. There are six other people under interrogation at Istanbul police headquarters and one in Trabzon, the police said.

However an ex-convict and reportedly a friend of Samast confessed to encouraging the assassination. The man, Yasin Hayal, was convicted on charges of bombing a McDonald's restaurant in the northern province of Trabzon three years ago.

Hayal said in his testimony at Trabzon police headquarters that he provided a 7.65 model pistol and money to Samast. Cerrah confirmed the information.

Hayal also told the police that he was disturbed by Dink's comments and by a series of columns he wrote, which also led to a smear campaign against the journalist, and that he ordered Samast to kill Dink.

Dink, the 53-year-old editor of Agos, was known as moderate journalist who faced the country's controversial Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301, which grants prosecutors and judges much room for interpretation, particularly regarding insults to Turkishness. Several other writers, mostly over issues still considered taboo in Turkey, have stood trial under the article.

Reports also claimed that Hayal first ordered Zeynel Abidin Yavuz, apparently another member of a group of youths led by Hayal, to do the killing, but after he rejected it, Samast agreed. "Ogun fulfilled his duty and saved the honor of Turkey," reports quoted Hayal as saying.

Hayal has allegedly given firearms training to a small group of teenagers in Trabzon, while indoctrinating them with the idea of punishing "traitors," daily Hurriyet said.

Hayal said that he learned how to make bombs from Chechen militants in a camp in Azerbaijan and told police he attacked the McDonald's restaurant "to punish the United States and its collaborators."

Samast's mother Havva Samast, confirming an earlier comment by his uncle, told reporters that she believed her son had been used. She also said that Ogun regularly went to Internet cafes and that his contacts with Hayal had become frequent in the last one-and-a-half months.

Samast says he got YTL 200 to gun down Dink

Samast reportedly said during a police interview, attended by a police intelligence officer, a public prosecutor and a representative from the police juvenile department, that he planned the assassination four months ago and that he was given YTL 200 to kill the journalist.

Police also seized two computers from an Internet cafe reportedly used by Samast as well as his mobile phone for further investigation.

Police captured Samast in the Black Sea city of Samsun late on Saturday after a tip-off from his father following the broadcast of pictures on television. A photograph taken by a security camera two blocks from the scene of Dink's shooting was broadcast across Turkey, and allegedly showed the suspect carrying a gun and running from the scene.

Samast is reportedly a hot-tempered teenager open to manipulation and has been practicing martial arts for years.

Police took Samast, who said to be around 17, to the crime scene late Sunday and prosecutors asked him to describe how he killed Dink. A small crowd of onlookers shouted at the suspect, "We're all Hrants. We're all Armenians!"

It has been suggested that Samast is older than 17, contrary to information on his identity card. In rural areas children are frequently registered with state population offices late. It has been said that the real age of the suspect could be ascertained thorough a bone test.




Mehmet Y. Yilmaz: Time to think, as we cry for Hrant Dink
Hurriyet
Hrant Dink was a journalist who was trying to say something, but whose words were often not heard due to the commotion that surrounded him. The Agos newspaper, of which he was the general editor, has let us know of the wish that funeral participants not yell any slogans at the proceedings for Dink. Who knows, maybe they want us just to think quietly while walking behind his coffin.

For example, perhaps we could meditate on why it is that in his passport, his name is written "Firat" rather than "Hrant." (The former being a Turkish name, while the latter is clearly Armenian.) Or maybe it would serve us to think about why one of his brothers was referred to in one of yesterday's newspapers as "Orhan," when in fact his two brothers are called "Hosrof" and "Yervant." (Same thing; the first name is Turkish, while the latter two are Armenian.) Yes, it would behoove us to think about these things.

In yesterday's Radikal newspaper, a Turkish citizen of Armenian extraction was talking about his youth, noting "When I was a child, when my mother called me in the park, she would use my Turkish name." I wonder why?

Other newspaper articles, examining Dink's life, have noted that despite the fact that he scored high points as a soldier, he was never made into a "sargeant" as a young man. One newspaper even noted that Hrant Dink had cried because of this. But why was it that Hrant was never seen as worthy for a pair of epaulets?

Yes, the newspapers and television programs have revealed to us all in the wake of Hrant Dink's death that he was raised in an Armenian charity school, and even met his wife there as a youth. And many of us read these details of his life story with wet eyes. But I am sure that as we read these details, very few of us recalled that it was the Turkish Republic which, at one point, stopped the donations of money from Armenian wills which were the only funding for these charity schools, and that the charity schools then had to shut down due to lack of funding.

Yes, there are many, many things about which to think as we continue crying about Hrant Dink's death.




A "Trabzon Legend" gave the orders to kill Hrant Dink
Hurriyet
A Trabzon Legend gave the orders to kill Hrant DinkYasin Hayal, the man now suspected of giving the orders to 17 year old Ogun Samast to murder journalist Hrant Dink, had in fact previously chosen a different candidate for carrying out the act, but had met with resistance from first young man's family.

Hayal, who himself had served 10 months in prison for the bombing of a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon, has been known recently for gathering young Trabzon youth around him and leading them in activities such as rifle practice. His ultra-nationalist rhetoric focused on what he perceived as "enemies of the state," and he told the disaffected youth who spent time with him that it was "their duty" to see to the punishment of those who "insulted Turkey." Interestingly, it has been revealed that Yasin Hayal set up a web site, still under construction, called "Yasin Hayal; Trabzon's Legend....Is Returning....." The incomplete web site can still be viewed at www.trabzonun.efsanesi.com.

Following the identification of murderer Ogun Samast by his father, Ahmet Samast, Yasin Hayal and 12 others in Trabzon were arrested, at which point Hayal reportedly admitted "I gave the gun and the money to Ogun Samast. I am angry at the things which are happening in this country. The state is doing nothing to the people who are against Turkey. Which is why I gave Ogun this job. He carried out his duty successfully, and he helped rescue Turkey's honor."





Hrant Dink's killer: I am not sorry
Hurriyet
Ogun Samast, the 17 year old young man who has admitted to murdering journalist Hrant Dink, and who was captured two nights ago in the main Samsun bus station, gave a first description of Friday afternoon's events to gendarmes in Samsun, saying "Hrant Dink's writing and his speeches on television bothered me. I shot him directly. I am not sorry."

Samast, who is maintaining he was alone during the actual shooting, said "I was chosen because I was good at running, and a good shot during shooting range practices. Yasin Hayal gave me the gun, and wished me good luck."

Ogun Samast, after shooting Hrant Dink Friday afternoon, left Istanbul on Saturday afternoon at 13.30 for Trabzon, traveling on an inter-city bus belonging to the Metro Turizm company. His capture, on arrival in Samsun, had been facilitated by his father, Ahmet Samast, who went to the Samsun police after seeing images of the young man he recognized as his son following the murder. By the time the information had filtered through, Samast had already boarded the bus for Samsun; police decided to allow the bus to reach its final destination, the central Samsun bus station, before capturing Samast. On arrival at the station, the bus was immediately boarded by police forces in civilian outfits at the front door, while gendarmes boarded through the middle doors. In searches which took place immediately upon arrest, Samast was shown to be carrying only 1YTL on his person, while the bag above his seat on the bus contained a loaded gun and the white beret which had been captured on film at the time of the murder.
During initial testimony in Samsun, Samast explained that he had read some of Armenian journalist Dink's writings on the internet, and that he was angered by them: "These things bothered me. I decided to kill him. I went to Istanbul two days ago. I would do it again today. I am not sorry."




Erdogan: Hrant Dink's murderer is the opposite of a nationalist
Hurriyet
Erdogan: Hrant Dink's murderer is the opposite of a nationalistPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan used his closing speech at the AKP Kizilcahamam retreat to lambast the murder of ethnically Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, saying "The kind of people who did this might be anything, but they can definitely not call themselves nationalists."

Speaking from Kizilcahamam, where his AKP Party has been on a retreat, Erdogan thanked the media for showing the necessary sensitivity and care during the coverage of Dink's murder, and added:

"The determination showed by the government and the people to illuminate the events which occured showed results in the short time of only 32 hours. It was very very important to us that we capture this murderer before the burial of Dink took place. It is clear that there are social and psychological aspects to this murderer to which we should pay attention. Families and schools play important roles in our society in terms of rescuing our youth from this poisonous foundation......This country's greatest treasure is that we all live together, and that we all run towards the same goals." Erdogan delivered a strong warning at the closing speech for the Kizilcahamam camp that Turkey would not be swayed from its course by the actions of so-called nationalists like Ogun Samast, the 17 year old who murdered Hrant Dink.




Turkish General Says Journalist's Killing A Trap
21 January 2007
Anatolia News Agency
Retired General Edip Baser, Turkey's special representative for countering terrorism, said murder of Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, is a trap in order to put Turkey on the spot in terms of its international relations and added that Turkey should not walk into this trap. The retired general told Anatolia that this is a very sad event. "The murder of one of our citizens in such a mean terrorist attack is very sad in the first place. On the other hand, one has to see the trap set for Turkey and one must be sensible in order not to walk into this trap.

In my opinion, all our citizens, no matter from which ethnicity, should act with reason regarding these issues," said Baser. "I think this was a trap to put Turkey on the spot in terms of international relations. Especially in a period when Armenian claims of genocide are brought to spotlight, that such an attack should occur these days when all Turkey's attention is on the troubled region in the south (north of Iraq), raises questions about different intentions," continued retired Gen Baser. Baser said one of the aims can be to reach faster solutions in countries where the claims of the so-called Armenian genocide will be discussed. Turkey's special representative for countering terrorism said another reason could be to direct Turkey's attention from Iraq and the national interests there, and keep Turkey busy with internal conflicts. Baser, who drew attention to journalist identity of Dink, said his assassination will attract reactions from more than one aspect. "Those who planned this attack calculate the reactions, its zone of influence, therefore they select people such as Dink in order to have a wider zone of influence." Retired Gen Baser offered his condolences to everyone, Armenian citizens in particular.




Murder Of Hrant Dink To Incandesce Domestic Political Situation In Turkey: Head Of Turkish Department Of Armenian National Academy Of Sciences
20 January 2007
Arminfo
The Jan 19 murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul will incandesce the domestic political situation in Turkey, Candidate of History Rouben Safrastyan, the head of the Turkish Department of the Oriental Studies Institute of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, said at the discussion club, Saturday.

According to him, elections will be held in Turkey in May 2007, and at the moment, contending for the presidential post are present Turkish president Ahmed Cezer, a representative of the so-called Kemalist or pro-European direction, on the one hand, and advocates of the pro-Islamic direction of the country led by Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, on the other hand. However, one shouldn't forget that at the same time, there is also a group of high ranking officials who prefer to remain in the shadow and solve important state problems by means of extremist groupings like the terrorist organization. Probably, these people ordered and performed the murder of Hrant Dink to show that the true Turkey is not the central blocks of houses in Istanbul but the rest of Turkey's territory with the pro-Islamic population, R.Safrastyan considers. He also noted that this crime will put off the illusive prospect of unblocking the Armenian-Turkish border. Hrant Dink really believed that one could change Turkey from within, but his death showed once again how far Turkey is from democracy and freedom of speech, the expert noted.

Political Scientist Alexander Iskandaryan, the director of the Institute of the Caucasian Mass Media, also said that one should distinguish Istanbul from the rest of Turkey. The population of the central blocks of Istanbul striving for Europe organized a protest rally in connection with the murder of Hrant Dink, but 20 km far from Istanbul you find yourself in a quite different Turkey, whose population really doesn't understand the reason of the protest rally on some Armenian's death, A.Iskandaryan noted. As regards the Armenian-Turkish relations after the Jan 19 murder, nothing special will happen. A.Iskandaryan considers that those who were against improving Armenian-Turkish relations will not take a different view, and those who came out for normalizing the relations, will consider that nothing special has happened as murders are committed in many countries of the world.

At the same time, both participants of the press-conference agreed that one needn't look for some third countries behind the murder of Hrant Dink, as it is the consequence of the present domestic political situation in Turkey.




Hrant Dink Killed By Dark Hands
20 January 2007
Sabah
"Is your blood cleaner now?" The daughter of Dink, Sera, came to the incident location as soon as she learnt the news. Sera wept a lot and cried out: "they shot my father dead. Now is their blood cleaner? They could not face him so they shot him from behind." Sera watched her father's dead body being carried from the balcony. Then Dink's son and wife came to the incident location. His wife had a nervous breakdown when she saw all the blood on the pavement and said: "take me near my husband. Please God forgive my children's sake". The mother and her daughter in pain were taken to the hospital.




Turkey mourns its slain son
Mourners lit candles, laid flowers and read prayers yesterday in memory of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, shot down on Friday in a murder that outraged the country. Dink, widely acknowledged as an advocate of reconciliation, was shot dead in front of his newspaper office.

His suspected killer, a 17-year-old boy identified as Ogün Samast, was arrested late on Saturday and reportedly told the police that he had killed Dink because he insulted Turks.

"I read on the Internet that he said 'I am from Turkey but Turkish blood is dirty' and I decided to kill him ... I do not regret this," Samast told interrogators shortly after he was arrested in Samsun on the Black Sea coast, according to private CNN Türk television. Four other people detained along with Samast were also brought from Samsun to İstanbul for interrogation.

Dink was sentenced in September to a six-month suspended imprisonment for an article he wrote in his bilingual Agos newspaper, with the court saying that his writing had "insulted Turkishness" under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

The European Union has repeatedly urged Turkey to get rid of the notorious article but the government declined to do so immediately, saying no one has been sent to jail under the article.

Dink, visibly frustrated by accusations of insulting Turkishness, had frequently said he could not accept the charges. "It is immoral to live with people you insult," he had once commented. "You should rather act morally and leave to carry on with your fight from a different place. But I have no fight against the Turks."

He also criticized the government for saying that the Article 301 was not dangerous, since no one has been jailed. "As if it's only about going to jail," Dink wrote in his last column for Agos, which appeared on Jan. 19. "I'm just like a pigeon… I look around to my left and right, in front and behind me as much as it does. My head is as just active… But I know people don't touch pigeons in this country."

Mourners -- Armenian and Turkish -- flocked to an Armenian church in İstanbul, to Dink's house and Agos headquarters to bid farewell to him and many grieved that he could not be saved.

"My brother, I just came from Kars. My beloved brother, we could not protect you, just like all other beauties," wrote one mourner in a book of condolences in Agos newspaper.

"Those who shot you should know that they will never reach their goal," vowed another mourner. "Turkey has been a country where minorities lived in peace since the Ottoman times and it will remain so. Dear Hrant, you are a martyr," wrote one mourner in the book.

Turkish and Armenian versions of a touchy Anatolian folk song -- telling about story of a Turkish man falling in love with an Armenian woman -- kept playing in the background.


PM not attending funeral
Dink will be buried tomorrow (Tuesday) in İstanbul. Agos executives said there would be no slogans or banners during the funeral in line with Dink's will and participants were asked to march in silence.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said the government had a special responsibility to shed light on the killing, will not be able to attend the funeral due to his schedule. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül will attend the funeral on behalf of the government.

22.01.2007
İstanbul Today's Zaman




Turkish Minister Says Murder Of Dink May Be Part Of "a Well-calculated Plan"
ANKARA - Turkish State Minister and Deputy Premier Abdullatif Sener questioned the timing of the assassination of journalist Hrant Dink and said the murder might me part of "a well-calculated plan".

"Dink was a primary target for those who might seek to harm Turkey. I believe that Dink was chosen as a target in kine with a well calculated plan," Sener told the private Kanal 7 television channel.

"The murder should not been as an individual case," Sener said.

"Whether it is an act of an illegal organization or a murder planned by some international organizations or intelligence units ... We hope the real scope of the incident would come into the daylight soon," he added.
1/22/2007
The Anatolia Times




At Large
Turkish Blood
By Christopher Orlet

1/22/2007
In his last newspaper column, Hrant Dink wrote that he was now considered an enemy of the state and of the Turkish people. He had but recently completed a six-month suspended sentence for the charge of "insulting Turkish identity," and he now faced two additional charges. More ominously his email's inbox, he said, was crammed with death threats.

"My computer's memory is loaded with sentences full of hatred and threats," Dink noted in his last column for Agos, the Armenian language weekly of which he was editor-in-chief. "I do not know how real these threats are, but what's really unbearable is the psychological torture that I'm living in....For me, 2007 is likely to be a hard year. The trials will continue, new ones will be started. Who knows what other injustices I will be up against." Even so, the editor believed he would survive the year.

He was wrong. Last Friday at 1 p.m., as Dink was leaving his newspaper office, Ogun Samast, an unemployed 17-year-old Turk, waited outside on the busy Istanbul street. He approached Dink and fired four shots. Three of them hit the editor in the neck and head. The assassin then shouted, "I shot the non-Muslim!" and fled the scene.

Samast was a native of the Black Sea port town of Trabzon. It was there that police, acting on a tip from Samast's father, arrested the gunman as he stepped off a bus. Once in custody he proudly confessed to the murder.

Police also suspect Samast of last year's murder of an Italian Roman Catholic priest shot and killed in the courtyard of his church in Trabzon. It seems likely that Fr. Andrea Santaro, 60, was killed in connection with the uproar following publication of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper, cartoons that many Muslims found insulting.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, an ardent supporter of article 301 of the Turkish criminal code that outlaws insulting Turkish institutions or Turkish national identity, is also a shrewd politician who seeks EU membership for Turkey. The prime minister thus condemned Dink's murder. "A bullet has been fired at democracy and freedom of expression," he said in a news conference. "I condemn the traitorous hands behind this disgraceful murder." This must have puzzled the dozens of Turkish writers and intellectuals charged under article 301, like publisher Abdullah Yilmaz who faces jail time for issuing a Turkish edition of Greek writer Mara Meimaridi's novel The Witches of Smyrna. The novel describes parts of the Turkish quarter of Izmir as "dirty." A cynic might say that Mr. Erdogan and his government have no business talking about freedom of expression.

DINK, AN ETHNIC ARMENIAN, was given a six-month suspended sentence in October 2005 after writing about the Armenian "genocide" of 1915. Last fall he was again charged with "insulting Turkish identity" for using the word "genocide" in an interview with Reuters. After his conviction at a trial that PEN, the international association of writers, described as featuring the controversial courtroom procedure of an "attempted lynching," Dink began to think seriously about emigrating. When he announced that, if the case against him was not dropped, he would leave Turkey, Ankara charged him with attempting to influence the judiciary, a crime punishable by 4 1/2 years in prison.

I suspect that Dink's murder will finally force Ankara to reconsider article 301. Similar charges against novelist Orhan Pamuk for remarks he made about the Armenian genocide doubtless contributed to his winning last year's Nobel Prize for Literature. Indeed, the award was seen as a slap in the face to Ankara and Turkish nationalists. (The Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer refused even to congratulate Pamuk.) Similarly Ankara's demonizing of Hrant Dink no doubt stirred up the jihadist in Ogun Samast and is at least partially to blame for the editor's murder.

After Dink's 2005 conviction, Ankara said it had no intention of lifting article 301. Perhaps now Ankara, fearful of losing out completely in its EU membership bid, will think twice before it throws journalists and novelists behind bars for telling the unpleasant truth about the Armenian genocide. Perhaps then Hrant Dink's death will not have been in vain.

Christopher Orlet is a frequent contributor and runs the Existential Journalist.

The American Spectator




Dink assassination has united Turkey
Ilnur Cevik
ilnurcevik@yahoo.com
22 January 2007
A sad event had brought some good in Turkjey. The assassination of Hirant Dink created a massive reaction so much so that even many Turks charged with nationalistic feelings declared their support for our citizens of Armenian origin and declared ”we to are Armenians.”

Of course there are those who are blinded by the conservatism and extremism who want to think this is a plot staged by the militant Armenian Diaspora to bring Turkey into disrepute and manage to push their agendas in the American Congress and elsewhere to push through laws acknowledging the so-called Armenian genocide at the turn of the previous century.

It is a great comfort that a suspect has been taken into custody with the use of modern technology. Police managed to catch the suspect thanks to the security cameras that monitored the area where Dink was killed. This time the suspect could not “evaporate” thanks to technology…

Turkey has too many hot heads prepared to use arms. Unfortunately most of these hotheads are being fed with ultranationalist views.

Anyone who speaks common sense and calls for understanding for minority views in Turkey becomes a target.

There are many Turks who shared the views of Dink that the Armenian issue should be addressed in a realistic manner. There were also many more who opposed him.

The fact that we have lost too many diplomats and their family members in the hands of Armenian terrorists in attacks all over the world has created deep resentment in Turkey and has aroused national sensitivities. So it is understandable that there will be a strong reaction against the articles of Dink but we of course this did not warrant any form of violence to be applied against him.

What is sad is that ultranationalists ganged up against Dink and violently protested against him. They encouraged people to harass Dink. Those let-wing people who were supposed to be more tolerant also joined in with them to create a wave of enmity. Now they are harvesting the seeds of enmity they sowed. Are they happy?

The death of Dink showed that it is a dangerous business to talk about controversial issues and raise questions in Turkey. You do not only face legal prosecution but you also risk the bullet. This should not be the case in Turkey.

People should be able to debate their issues in a civilized manner without fearing bullet…

Let us hope the unity and solidarity displayed by our intellectual community will be translated into creating an environment that freedom speech can flourish on healthier grounds in Turkey.

We do not think this incident should slow down Turkey’s accession process in the EU. On the contrary it could contribute to speeding it up.




When we loose the doves of peace...
Cem Oguz

ccem@bilkent.edu.tr
22 January 2007
When it comes to interacting with people, my personal experience has already taught me, the most important trait I need to take into account is sincerity. The criteria I used to measure the value of an intellectual and/or a particular thought's significance, on the other hand, is simply its level of consistency. Any interaction, either on an intellectual or a daily basis, with people who have failed to absorb these two crucial traits, is, in my humble opinion, nothing more than a mere waste of time.

In the atmosphere of intellectual terror revolving around the Armenian "genocide" (as well as Turkey's democratization), both in and outside the country, I've seen notorious and illustrious self-proclaimed experts who were neither sincere nor consistent. While some of them were merely prejudiced and obsessed, others were either politically motivated or ignorant.

There are three names that are exceptions, none of which I happen to know personally. They have proven themselves sincere and consistent. I've heartfeltly envied the attitude of these three men, although on certain issues I categorically disagree with them.

The first one is Professor Baskın Oran. In response to the infamous Armenian conference held at Bilgi University in September 2005 and attended by experts either opposing or challenging the "official ideology," an alternative gathering was organized in Ankara. The participants were overwhelmingly those scholars supporting the "Turkish thesis," but the attendees of the first were reported to have been invited as well. I later found out that except for Professor Oran, none of them deigned to accept this invitation. His noble decision to attend confirmed, at least in my eyes, Professor Oran's sincere respect for freedom of speech or thought as well as the need for healthy dialogue with the "other," the doors of which, under the present circumstances, are increasingly closed not only among but also within the communities themselves.

The second figure is Turkish Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan II. I humbly believe that the speech he made at the symposium held in Kayseri last spring is of grave importance for the future of Turkish-Armenian relations. Readers may well remember that I quoted a couple of his remarks in my previous analyses. Be sure it was not because I naively believed that praise motivated by narrow opportunism would help strengthen the Turkish standpoint. In my understanding, his noble stance, purified from potentially combustible human instincts such as revenge, indeed serves as a valuable roadmap for healthy dialogue. Unless the Turks and Armenians, without any cunning or sly motives, agree, as Patriarch Mutafyan warned in the said speech, to give up abandoning their responsibility or completely putting it on the other side, there won't be any peace between these two emotional peoples, who strongly resemble each other.

The third one is, or sadly was, journalist Hrant Dink. He obviously was a man of emotions. I could understand his level of sincerity even by the way he excitingly spoke on TV. In the current messianic atmosphere, everybody, whether a Turk or an Armenian, is trying to exploit what is happening in the respective countries to support their personal views vis-a-vis the "other." Everybody, both in Armenia and Turkey, is trying to play to the gallery, despite the social and psychological divisions caused at the end of the day between ordinary peoples. Dink, in turn, said what he sincerely believed, without expecting to be proven right. He chose to do what was not only difficult but also risky to do.

In his last article, he wrote that he felt like a frightened dove.

And now, the dove has murdered.

I expect the government to quickly as possible find the real, if any, perpetrators of Dink's murder, since I don't want to live in the moral grave that these dark figures have successfully cast the Turkish people into.

But the dove is dead …

I see vultures gathering in the sky.

I remember Dink zealously and self-sacrificingly fighting against these vultures, not only among the stubborn, blind Turks and Armenians but also among irrelevant third parties who, due to Turks' as well as Armenians' own mistakes, have come to bear responsibility as well. I hope what Dink during his life failed to do will be realized through his untimely loss.

But I am not hopeful.

I see increasing numbers of vultures on the horizon approaching.

And when there are vultures in the sky, the doves of peace won't be able to fly.




2 messages to 2 countries from defense minister
Evren Deger
evrendeger@thenewanatolian.com
19 January 2007
Turkey is going through a complicated process. On one hand there are domestic political developments such as May's presidential election and the fall general elections. On the other hand there are foreign political developments like the current situation in Iraq, the referendum to be held this year in Kirkuk, the present and possible wars occurring in the Middle East, and the Armenian "genocide" bills, etc.

Especially current developments in Turkish foreign policy and possible developments are in the sphere of interest of soldiers and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, who is as close to the situation as the soldiers, as well as diplomatic circles.

Gonul will go to the U.S. next week. Of course we can't know what issues he plans to address. Developments in Iraq and the Armenian "genocide" resolution in the U.S. before April 24 (the day on which Armenians mark the so-called genocide) will be on Gonul's plate.

Speaking to The New Anatolian before his trip, Gonul gave important messages to France. Some of these messages, especially messages regarding the so-called Armenian genocide, are also for the U.S. in a sense.

Gonul summarized Turkey's Iraq policy to TNA as follows:
"Establishing stability in Iraq has a vital importance in establishing peace and security in our region, which is already struggling with several problems," said Gonul. "Adopting this understanding, Turkey's Iraq policy depends on the principle of supporting efforts to build a well-governed, democratic, transparent Iraq at peace with its own citizens and neighbors, and protecting its political unity and integrity of the land. Our policy regarding Iraq takes shape in accordance with this principle."

Saying that despite all efforts, various difficulties have been witnessed in the process of resolving conflicts, Gonul stated that there have been problems establishing security. "Turkey gives full support to the Iraqi government in their efforts to resolve these problems. Moreover, Turkey does its best to make the highest contribution to these efforts on bilateral and multilateral platforms," said Gonul. "In this context, Turkey has cooperated with Iraq in the area of defense, as in other fields. Here, the priority is given to the improvement of security, which tops Iraq's current problems. The concrete example of Turkey's activities regarding this problem is our presence on the NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I) program. Under this program Turkey has trained 89 high-ranking Iraqi soldiers, and there are still four Turkish soldiers serving in Iraq as part of the program."

Gonul also said that in addition to the contribution to the NTM-I program, Iraqi officials were told that Turkey is ready to give training in Turkey. "This proposal was repeated during Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's visit to Turkey last November, year and Iraq gladly accepted the proposal," he said.

Despite of all the recent negativity, Gonul said in a message of friendship to Iraq, "Through establishing stability in Iraq, Turkey will continue to give its all in support of Iraq in efforts to promote not only to regional peace and stability, but also strengthen Turkish-Iraqi relations."

'We're watching French bill closely'

Last October France's Parliament passed a bill to criminalize denial of the so-called Armenian genocide -- though the bill has not become law -- and that started a new process in Turkish-French relations.

This process put Turkish-French relations onto a tightrope. Right after it was passed, Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug announced that military relations between two nations were suspended.

Millions of dollars of defense projects whetting the appetite of defense moguls were shelved through the bill's passage. In other words, French firms has almost lost their chances to compete, even they can't win.

Gonul's messages towards France were clearer. "With the deep-rooted relations between France and Turkey, however important France is for Turkey, Turkey is equally important for France," he said. "The months ahead will be very instructive in terms of testing the mutual regard and the strength of relations. In this context, we're watching the process of the bill carefully. In this process, we hope that the voices of the right-minded section of French society and Turkey's real friends and the honest, fair and responsible French people objecting to years of one-sided propaganda conducted for years and the imposition of a groundless claim can all work to head off this mistake."

Warning that the bill's passage despite all of Turkey's efforts and warnings will be reflected in bilateral relations, Gonul said that the French Parliament and the government have the responsibility to prevent more harm being done to relations.

"In the legislative process the attitude of the French government declaring that they are against the bill will determine the changes, either negative or positive, not only in military relations but also in every other area," stated Gonul.

The defense minister gave this message to the French government. Yet, the message was also a response to other possible attempts of some other countries to accept the so-called genocide. The U.S., where the Armenians are making new attempts, comes first among "some other countries." The so-called genocide will be up for consideration in the runup to April. And hopefully, Turkey will continue to show the self-respecting stance it adopted against France to the U.S.




Suleyman Demirel: Turkish hostility unites world Armenians
22 Jan. 2007
Former Turkey President Suleyman Demirel’s exclusive interview to the APA

-How do you estimate the situation concerning false “Armenian Genocide” which is in the focus of the U. S Congress?
- Actually, Turkish hostility unites all Armenians over the world. Armenians killed nearly 40 Turkish diplomats, thousands of Azeris in Nagorno Karabakh. Armenians has not left occupied Azerbaijani territories yet. No-one in the world sees it; they only see the events happened 90 years ago during war situation. The attempts of Armenians to claim Turks for genocide have not resulted well in the U.S Congress up to now. But now the draft law is expected to be approved. If the congress passes decision about the law, I hope it will not have any value, because, it is impossible to implement this law. This is social struggle, what will they achieve? I hope that the U.S president will prevent the approval of this draft law. At the present the president can only put veto to prevent the law. We are used to this kind of situations, but we should stand up and unite in case of injustice. It is not possible to solve this problem other way. Actually the politicians try to do the works that history can do. Politicians try to pass decision instead of history.

-Turkey Foreign Minister called Armenians problem the second issue threatening Turkey. What threat does he mean?
-The main threatening issue is to arouse social hostility against us in the world. Certainly, they harm Turkey. We can do nothing, but to overcome the problems.
-The government made some suggestions to Armenia on claims on false genocide, and these proposals did not result positively. What do you think of mitigation policy?
-Their aim is not to solve any problem; their goal is to continue their slander policy. Armenians suffer from slander disease.
–How Turkey and Azerbaijan should unite their power against Armenia?
- Azerbaijan and Turkey are one nation in two countries. We are always together and will continue our way together. I deliver my best regards to Azerbaijanis by your Agency. /APA/




The Assassination of Hrant Dink: Another Deadly Incident Destined to Remain Unsolved?
1/22/2007
(Balkanalysis.com)
By Mehmet Kalyoncu
The assassination of Hrant Dink, one of the most prominent Turkish Armenians and the editor-in-chief of bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper Agos outside his newspaper’s office was a deplorable act by any definition. Yet it was not an unexpected one, given the selection of the target and its expected/actual impact on Turkish society and on Turkey’s position vis-à-vis the issue of the ‘Armenian genocide’ that has taken on new proportions internationally of late, with the US Congress weighing a resolution on the issue. Ankara has already warned about the implications of American genocide recognition for bilateral relations.

This is at least the thesis of a good percentage of the population in Turkey, where all too often such murky crimes are blamed ultimately on malevolent and all-powerful outside forces- with the result that it is rare that full investigations are ever executed.

The Turkish police caught Mr. Dink’s assassin in just 32 hours, something which the government took great pride in noting. Yet has the problem been solved with the simple arrest of a 17-year-old gunman? Was he the ultimate and sole perpetrator of the killing? Just as with other recent violent events in Turkey, such as with the 16-year-old who killed a Catholic priest in Trabzon last year, the murder of the Turkish-Armenian journalist has been added to the pile of unsolved or semi-solved incidents that have been planned against the peace and stability of Turkey by the so-called “dark hands.”

This expression – karanlik eller in the Turkish – is the metaphor mostly used to refer to what the public views as the sinister masterminds behind the scenes. It is used in general to refer to those who allegedly always wanted to stir things up in Turkey. Even officials have used the “dark hands” metaphor after unsolved assassinations, bombings and the like. And there have been more than a few over the past year or so.

Fortunately, it seems like the killing did not breed the expected conflict between the Turkish Armenians and the Turks, mostly due to the fact that both sides are more aware than ever of the detrimental results that possible provocations could cause. Regarding the killing of Mr. Dink, the Turkish Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II noted, “[t]his assassination is a deplorable act that targets our country’s stability and its international relations.”[1] Moreover, regardless of their ethnic background, thousands took the street and protested the Dink killing by shouting “We are all Hrant, We are all Armenian!” Further, the fact that the killer was identified and reported to the police by his very own father suffices to suggest that the Dink killing has so far failed to cause social conflict between ethnic Armenian Turks and the Turks.


Nevertheless, it is imperative for the AK Party government to not let the Dink case go unresolved, or be left semi-resolved as were three other infamous recent incidents: the bookstore bombing in the southeastern Kurdish-inhabited town of Semdinli, the aforementioned killing of the Catholic priest, and the murder of Supreme Court magistrate Mustafa Yucel Ozbilgin in May of last year.

The Semdinli Incidents

On November 9, 2005, a bookstore (Umut Kitabevi) in Semdinli, near Hakkari, the most notable town in the southeast of Turkey, was bombed, killing two and injuring fourteen. The local people nearby managed to apprehend the suspected bomber and two other men allegedly involved with the bombing. In the alleged suspects’ automobile were discovered AK-47 assault rifles, Semdinli area maps, a name list of the political opposition leaders, and a document consisting of information about certain individuals in Semdinli.

Interestingly, two of the three alleged perpetrators were identified to be gendarmerie intelligence officers (JITEM) and one, a PKK [the armed Kurdish separatist group] informant. More interestingly, one of the JITEM officers was allegedly linked to then-Commander of Land Forces General Yasar Buyukanit, who is now the Chief of General Staff and whose relationship was never officially denied.

Immediately after the bombing, despite the call for calm by Kurdish community leaders and the officials, about a thousand people took to the streets and put the police checkpoint under fire.[2] The AK Party government assured the public that those responsible would be brought to justice shortly, and immediately established an investigation committee. The committee still continues its inquiry today, and the three alleged perpetrators were sentenced. However, the public is hardly convinced that the three men sentenced were the masterminds behind the Semdinli bombing.

The Semdinli bombing took place during a period when the military-civilian relationship was being scrutinized and it was argued that the civilian administration should have higher control over the military- to keep in line with EU requirements.

The Killing of Catholic Priest Andrea Santoro

On February 5, 2006, Priest Andrea Santoro of Italian Sancta Maria Catholic Church in Trabzon, who ministered to Turkey’s small Catholic population in this northeastern Black Sea town, was murdered by a 16-year-old boy. The killer reportedly had a personal problem with the priest, rather than a religious or ideological one.[3] However, before the investigation was even completed, the European press in general and the Italian press in particular had been quick to link the killing to the Prophet Mohammed cartoon crisis in Denmark and elsewhere. The Italian press thus portrayed the incident as an indication of religious fanaticism in Turkey- whose European Union bid has always been clouded in many Europeans’ eyes by the religious make-up of the country.

Indeed, a Corriere Della Sera article reported that the killer shouted “Allahu-Akbar” before killing the priest, thereby sufficing it to seem an act motivated by religious fanaticism.[4] Similarly another Italian newpaper, La Repubblica, reported that the killer interrupted the service, approached Priest Santoro and shot him after screaming “Allah Akbar”.[5] La Republica also reported that there hade been similar attacks in Beirut as well on the same day due to the Denmark-sparked cartoon crisis.

The investigation started immediately after the killing and identified other suspects involved with the killing of the priest. The prolonged judicial process, focusing exclusively on the 16-year-old gunman, ended after the 9th court trial, with an 18-year sentence imposed.[6]

Yet was the whole case really solved? The Turkish public still hardly believes that it was. Again the familiar reference to “Dark Hands” manipulating the killing from offstage was made. Priest Santoro’s killing also took place right after Turkey started EU accession negotiations with the European Union in October 3, 2005.

The Killing of the Supreme Court Magistrate

On May 17, 2006, Mustafa Yucel Ozbilgin, a Turkish Supreme Court Magistrate, was shot dead by a young attorney Alparslan Arslan. The immediate news reports noted that the assailant screamed “We are Allah’s soldiers. Allahu Akbar” while shooting Ozbilgin, a claim which was, later on, disputed.[7] Certain ultra-secular groups allegedly related the killing with the Supreme Court’s ban on the headscarf, and sought to send a warning to the AK Party government which was seeking a formula to resolve the headscarf problem. The family members and immediate friends of the assailant denied that he was even a practicing Muslim let alone a fanatic who would perpetrate such a killing due to religious motivations.

As of today, the Alparslan Aslan court trial still continues. Will the case be solved when he is sentenced? It may seem so, but it is still hard for the Turkish public to believe that he was the mastermind of the killing.

Finally, Hrant Dink: The Latest, but Unlikely to be the Last

The assassination of Hrant Dink has come during a time when the Armenian Diaspora is preparing to wage full battle against Turkey. On February 8, 2007, a resolution that recognizes the Armenian genocide and foresees certain sanctions on Turkey will be voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives, where long-time supporter of the so-called resolution Nancy Pelosi of California is the incoming Speaker. Bolstering the correlation of the timing of the Dink killing with the upcoming voting on the resolution, Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of ANCA (Armenian National Committee of America) noted, “Hrant Dink’s murder is tragic proof that the Turkish government –through its campaign of denial, threats and intimidation against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide – continues to fuel the same hatred and intolerance that initially led to this crime against humanity more than 90 years ago.”[8]

Ironically, however, as Turkish Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II noted, Hrant Dink was known as the foremost Armenian Turkish intellectual, and one disliked by the Armenian Diaspora due to his efforts to promote dialogue between Turkey and Armenia, and settle the conflict over historical disputes through open intellectual exchanges. Nevertheless, Dink’s death presents a matchless opportunity for the Armenian Diaspora to exploit against Turkey at this crucial time. Again, another mysterious death at a politically sensitive moment for Turkey- the fourth in just 15 months.

The “Dark Hands” Syndrome

The real challenge for the AK Party government now is less finding the assailant of the Dink killing but more pursuing the very investigation, wherever it may lead, to find the mastermind(s). The Turkish authorities and population have proven indulgent in the past about blaming such attacks on abstract external powers, or the so-called “dark hands.”

From top government officials to prominent intellectuals, almost everyone refers to the so-called “dark hands” that target the peace and stability of Turkey and try to drag the country into chaos.

Given the fact that in 2007 will be held two critical elections, presidential and parliamentary, in which chaos in Turkey hampers the political process and the government’s abilities to cope with ever-more complex situation, there is no reason to not expect such random assassinations as that of Hrant Dink in the days and weeks ahead. Nevertheless, popular acceptance of the so-called “dark hands” phenomenon would be an easy way out and would hinder the AK government’s ability to investigate the assassination and bring those really responsible to justice.

Referring to the assassination as a mere provocation attempt Prime Minister Erdogan recently noted, “we know that those who shot him (Mr. Dink) have in fact shot Turkey. Our solidarity, democracy, freedom of thought, peace and stability was the target.”[9] Similarly, the intelligence officers cited, the strategists and commentators, have in the immediate aftermath so far followed the course and attributed the latest killing to the so-called “external powers.”[10] Most importantly, they have all drawed attention to the correlation between the timing of the Dink assassination and the upcoming discussion of the Armenian genocide in the U.S. House of Representatives. The argument is that certain interest groups should have wanted to bolster the Armenian Diaspora’s hand as it prepares to pass resolution in the U.S. Congress to recognize the Armenian genocide.

Former MIT (Turkish National Intelligence Service) officer Mahir Kaynak suggests, “[H]rant Dink’s killing would benefit the Armenian Diaspora in the United States. He was the right choice to start a long-term campaign against Turkey”. Similarly, former Chief of Intelligence Bulent Orakoglu stresses that the assassination of Dink is a signal for similar future killings: “such assassinations were already expected starting in early 2007. Creating chaos is the strategy of certain powers.”

Along similar lines, Retired Lt. General Edip Baser, Special Coordinator for Terrorism, views the killing as a deliberate effort to divert the AK Party government’s attention away from the situation in Northern Iraq.

Certainly the failure to bring the mastermind(s) of Hrant Dink assassination to justice will weaken the AK Party government’s public image as it nears the presidential and parliamentary election domestically and Turkey’s position vis-à-vis the genocide allegations internationally. Perhaps it was such a motivation that led the so-called “dark hands” to kill this prominent Turkish Armenian journalist- if they actually did, of course. If history is any judge, we may never know.


[1][1] “Mutafyan: Saldiri ulkemizdeki huzur ortamini hedefleyen igrenc bir suikasttir”, Zaman 19.01.2007 at http://www.zaman.com.tr/webapp-tr/haber.do?haberno=490232

[2] “Provakatorler Semdinli’de sahnede”, Zaman 11.11.2005 at http://www.zaman.com.tr/webapp-tr/haber.do?haberno=227927

[3] “Trabzon’da Katolik Kilisesi’nin papazi olduruldu olduruldu”, Zaman 06.02.2005 at http://www.zaman.com.tr/webapp-tr/haber.do?haberno=253613&keyfield=6B61746F6C696B207261686970

[4] ““Turchia: ucciso un prete cattolico italiano”, Corriere Della Sera 02.06.2006 at http://www.corriere.it/Primo_Piano/Esteri/2006/02_Febbraio/05/turchia.shtml

[5] “Turchia, sacerdote italiano cattolico ucciso in chiesa mentre pregava”, La Repubblica 5 febbrario 2006 at http://www.repubblica.it/2006/b/sezioni/esteri/moriente30/preteucciso/preteucciso.html

[6] “Rahip cinayeti davasinda temyize gidildi”, Zaman 30.10.2006 at http://www.zaman.com.tr/webapp-tr/haber.do?haberno=445458&keyfield=6B61746F6C696B207261686970

[7] “Danistaya hain saldiri”, Zaman 05.18.2006 at http://www.zaman.com.tr/webapp-tr/haber.do?haberno=286041&keyfield=616C706172736C616E2061736C616E

[8] Press Release “Anca Condems Murder of Hrant Dink”, available at http://www.anca.org/press_releases/press_releases.php?prid=1059

[9] “Hain bir provakasyonla karsi karsiyayiz”, Zaman 01.20.2007 at http://www.zaman.com.tr/webapp-tr/haber.do?haberno=490465

[10] “Turkiye’ye yonelik bir operasyonun isaret fisegi – Signal Bullet of an Operation against Turkey”, Zaman 01.20.2007 at http://www.zaman.com.tr/webapp-tr/haber.do?haberno=490332





Who is behind killing?
The New Anatolian / Ankara with wires
22 January 2007
An underage, caught by police Saturday night related to murder of Hrant Dink, an Armenian origin Turkish journalist, confessed to his deed yesterday relieving the tension for many but raising further questions.

Police captured the suspect, Ogun Samast, a 17-year old male living in northern Trabzon where a catholic priest was killed last year by another underage who is said to be mentally unbalanced.

The suspect who was caught at the bus station in neighboring Samsun said in his initial testimony that he killed the journalist after he performed Friday prayers, a significant remark resembling that of yet another assassin who killed a judge of the Council of State last year.

The suspect resembles both killer of Italian Catholic Priest Andrea Santoro, which was solved in the eyes of the state although the motivation and connections of the so-called insane gunman has yet to be illuminated, and the deadly council of state attack which triggered a harsh debate between two political poles in the country.

Both gunmen were arrested and either sentenced to prison sentences or are on trial, but both incidents' behind the scenes are still in the dark.

The suspect's uncle Faik Samast told that he didn't think his nephew was capable of acting alone. "He didn't even know his way around Istanbul," Samast said. "This kid was used." But to a great majority, the clandestine links won't be revealed as it always had been the case in previous unsolved murders on this land.

Police said the suspect was captured following a tip from his father after pictures were broadcast on Turkish media.

Samast was apparently on his way by bus from Istanbul back to his home town when he was caught. The image taken by a camera showed the suspect allegedly toting a gun and running from the scene.

Almost all concurred on the fact that the murder was meant to damage the unity of the country and put it on the hot spot regarding Armenian genocide claims in spite of the fact that Dink was a staunch patriot who long paralyzed due to a grave dilemma either to leave the country because of a smear campaign against him or stay to breast perils.

Even his archenemy, Kemal Kerincsiz of ultranationalist Grand Lawyers Union, condemned the killing underlining they are against violent means, but the media currently has conducted researches to find out depth of his relation with a notorious ex-general, Veli Kucuk, who is said to threaten Dink.

Kucuk, a mysterious ex-army member who also involved in the Susurluk scandal of late 1996 which revealed clandestine links between the state, mafia and politicians, belied claims in an immediate comment on Saturday.

Govt lambasted for failing to protect Dink

The government also faced allegations that it didn't do enough to protect Dink although the threats were no secret.

Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler rejected accusations saying that the journalist had not asked for help. However, in a sudden decision, the government declared it will provide all writers and journalists prosecuted under controversial Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301 on charges of "insulting Turkishness," with close protection.

The public prosecutor's office, which had received a petition from Dink about a letter he was sent from Bursa, said that they examined the letter and that there was no such address in the city.

The media also contributed to his killing with agitating news articles and epithets meant to provoke hatred against the journalist, according to many.

PM gives reassurances

Police also detained four other suspects in Trabzon, including a man suspected of involvement in the bombing of a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon in 2004, who may have helped Samast.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Ogun Samast, suspect of journalist Hrant Dink's murder, was arrested in Black Sea province of Samsun. "We will perpetuate our determination which we have been carrying on from the beginning," he noted. Asked whether it was an individual action or linked to an organization, Erdogan said security forces and judiciary authorities would carry out necessary procedures.

Funeral set for Tuesday

Hrant Dink will be laid to rest on Tuesday in Balikli Armenian Cemetery following a funeral in Virgin Mary Church at Kumkapi district, said Patriarch Mesrob II, the leader of Turkey's Armenian Orthodox community, said.

As mass participation is expected to the funeral, the bilingual Turkish-Armenian daily Agos of Dink, requested possible participants not to shout slogans and carry banners.

Yet again, the funeral is expected to mark the history as several civil groups revealed that they opted to use two slogans, one of which is highly striking given the nationalist sentiments of many Turks: "We're all Armenians."

A group from the European Parliament is also expected to attend the funeral under Joost Lagendijk, co-chair of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission. Premier Erdogan will not be attending as he will be in northern province of Bolu with his Italian counterpart Romano Prodi for a tunnel opening




After Dink's murder, let's not join its accomplices
Cem Sey
22 January 2007
I cannot call Hrant Dink a friend. I met him just once. But this was enough for me to recognize how powerful his message was, how sincere he was.

I was supposed to interview him in Berlin for the German daily Die Tageszeitung. We sat in a room to the rear of the newspaper morgue. It was a long conversation filled with emotion.

I asked him why he wouldn't use the word "genocide." "History requires an ethical approach," he answered. "Legal concepts which have a certain international meaning are preventing us from learning what happened back then.”

He was hopeful. He explained that the Turkish stance in the Armenian question was shifting from denial to acknowledgement. "You can't expect deep-rooted denial to change instantly to acknowledge," he said. "There will be one more stop on the way."

In the two years since I did that interview we saw a backlash in this issue in Turkey in form of indictments and even -- in his own case -- with an embarrassing conviction.

What happened?

In a press release condemning Dink's murder, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) calls it "tragic proof that the Turkish government -- through its campaign of denial, threats and intimidation against the recognition of the Armenian genocide -- continues to fuel the same hatred and intolerance that initially led to this crime against humanity more than 90 years ago."

Indeed, the murder of this brave journalist makes it obvious that the form of engaging supporters of recognition of the genocide in Turkey has opened the door for aggressive assaults and ultimately led to Dink's murder. Everybody in Turkey -- even those who don't believe in the genocide -- knows that without the reinvigorated aggressive social psychology in Turkey, Hrant Dink would still be with us.

The people of Turkey and above all its officials -- and I don't just mean the government -- should now think seriously about changing their attitude for the sake of the still-fragile democracy in the country. Everybody has to be ready to go all the way through the investigations until the last unknown aspect in this case is made clear, even if it ends with accusations against "sacred" institutions like the army or other representatives of the state. Turkey shouldn't stop investigations, debates or trials against superior officials, like what happened in the November 2005 Semdinli case, if this becomes necessary.

But Dink's death brings a huge responsibility to the Europeans as well, who, I am afraid, aren't really aware of this.

In 2005 Dink said in his interview with me that the German conservatives would misuse this issue to try to block Turkey's European Union accession. "As an Armenian I can't accept this," he said. "Today I am suffering greatly because the catastrophe of 1915 is being turned into a political triumph."

Two years later his own tragedy may be misused for the same purpose, if politicians, journalists, and lobbying groups throughout Europe take advantage of this murder and make it into an argument against Turkey's EU bid.

This should be clear to anybody: Even after his death, one can still become an accomplice to his murderers -- in Turkey and elsewhere.

Hrant Dink believed in the power of the emerging democratic movement in Turkey. And he always saw Turkey's EU accession process as a strong supportive element for this movement, but knew this process was just the result of this movement, not its trigger.

Turkey's path to modernity up until today has been strewn with blood, massacres and murder. There is no hope that this will be different in the future. Even though the country has written a success story in its addiction to modernity.

Turkey's next step on this path will be membership in the European Union. Enemies of this can make the way painful and delay its success. But they won't be able to stop it.

Hrant Dink was the first victim, one who paid for his clear views on the path to the European Union.




[The Boston Globe]
A journalist’s dangerous mission

Turkish nationalists believed they won a great victory when, at the end of last year, the EU suspended talks aimed at making Turkey an EU member. Some apparently believe that if they cannot do it by indicting free thinkers, they can do it through murder.
This attack has generated revulsion across Turkey. It will undoubtedly galvanize the country's large and increasingly bold corps of human rights advocates. Their first step may be to intensify their campaign for repeal of the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, which places a series of restrictions on free press. To achieve that, and to finish reshaping Turkey's political system, will not be easy. Turkey is being torn by an epochal crisis of identity. The old and oppressive political tradition is dying, but its death throes are becoming disturbingly violent. Turkey's violent ultra nationalist fringe, long supported by elements in the police and military, aims not only to kill journalists but also to stop the progress of Turkish history. No government has tried seriously to crush it. Yesterday's murder, and the wave of anger it has set off, gives Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a chance to do so, Stephen Kinzer said.

22.01.2007 / Zaman




British European Turk NGOs serving the community:
The probable conclusion is that the past Armenian terrorism and the killing of Hrant Dink must all be put under magnifying glass to wriggle the worms out of their burrows, whom ever these worms might be. Worldwide terrorism is the scourge of humanity, hence the urgency.

Here is the dastardly deeds of the Armenian Diasporan terrorism for the world to see! we should be able to stick this up the nose of those crying out loud on Hrant Dink's murder because no Armenian yet came out condemning the Armenian terrorism of 1973-1986 and beyond.

We must emphasise that terror from whatever quarter must be crushed with determination and it can be.

read http://www.tallarmeniantale.com/terrorism-breakdown.htm


Hold Water wrote:
Let's not forget, Armenian terrorism went beyond 1985-1986, continuing well into the 1990s. (www.tallarmeniantale.com/terrorism-breakdown.htm)

The irony is that Mr. Sassounian could well have been a participant in these events. Can't say more until the facts are verified, but I'm not talking simply about columns as his that consistently "create an atmosphere of intolerance," and during the years of terrorism, surely "indirectly encouraged" "those who pulled the trigger(s)."

Holdwater
===================

British European Turk NGOs serving the community:
Excuse us Harut the Barut, what about the 180 odd Armenian acts of terror committed from 1973 to 1985 (did you read Erich Feigl's 'MYTH OF TERROR') ..

Does any of your people assume a large responsibility in these cold blooded acts of terror?

Straight answer please, no ifs and buts .. straight to the point
===================

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Hrant Dink is the latest victim of the Armenian Genocide, Harut Sassounian, editor of The California Courrier told the PanARMENIAN.Net journalist. In his words, the Turkish government has a large share of responsibility in this cold-blooded assassination. “Turkey creates an atmosphere of intolerance, passes laws against speaking about the Armenian Genocide and encourages its denial. Those who pulled the trigger on Hrant Dink were indirectly encouraged to do so by the intolerant Turkish regime. Hrant was my friend, my journalistic colleague and a fellow activist for "Hay Dat". May God bless his soul,"� Sassounian said.

==================




Profile of Hrant Dink's Juvenile Murder Suspect
January 22, 2007
ŞAFAK TİMUR
ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News
A 17-year-old described by friends as combative and by his family as impressionable was arrested Saturday in the Black Sea city of Samsun for the murder a day earlier of journalist Hrant Dink.

Ogün Samast, a resident of Trabzon, reportedly confessed to the killing shortly after his arrest, allegedly on his way home by bus after gunning down the famed Armenian-Turkish newspaper editor on an Istanbul street mid-day Friday.

“I don't regret it. I would do it again,” the youth was quoted as saying during his preliminary interrogation in Samsun, according Chief Prosecutor Ahmet Gokcinar.

As Samast was transported to Istanbul over the weekend, a round-up of other suspects continued in the country amid widespread condemnation, protests from Istanbul to the southern province of Hatay. As of Sunday evening, a total 12 others suspected of complicity had been arrested in Istanbul and Trabzon. The youth's ties to Trabzon also focused attention on the city's reputation as center for anti-western feeling. Catholic priest Andrea Santoro was slain there in February of last year, also by a juvenile.

The Internet was an influence in his decision to attack Dink, Samast told police during his first interrogation in Istanbul, according to the Anatolian News Agency and other reports.

"I read on the Internet that [Dink] said 'I am from Turkey but Turkish blood is dirty' and I decided to kill him ...I do not regret this," CNN Turk quoted Samast as saying.

Samast's jailhouse talk of the Internet turned attention to various nationalist web sites, many containing expressions of joy in various forums. One post read: “Thanks to whoever has given the order and thanks to whoever has pulled the trigger.” Another statement from the forum said, “The best news ever.”

“Why is terrorist training free on the internet?” asked journalist Mustafa Mutlu in a Sunday column in the mass daily Vatan. He described how much information is on the internet which can be used for terrorist attacks.

In the aftermath of the killing which topped the news of every newspaper and television broadcast over the weekend, many decried the Internet as a source of dissemination of the hatred behind the killing of Dink, a native of Malatya who was 53.

Much television commentary and debate also turned on the fact no protection was provided for Dink, despite a barrage of death threats before and after his suspended conviction last year for “insulting Turkishness” under the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish penal code. Security officials, including Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler, responded that Dink rejected offers of security.Owners of the series of small shops that surround Dink's newspaper, Agos, quarreled with that account, however. One shop owner told the TDN that a plainclothes surveillance policeman generally kept an eye on the door of the newspaper but was absent on Friday. His absence may have let other regulars in the neighborhood to dismiss Samast's loitering presence in front of the newspaper Friday as a change in the guard. The quick arrested was credited in the media to the aid of the youngster's father, Ahmet Samast, who reportedly identified his son from the broadcast of CCTV footage capturing the fleeing gunman and alerted policeç

Among suspects under continued questioning in Istanbul, one, Yasin Hayal, served 11 months in jail for bombing a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon in 2004, Vatan reported. Investigators drew a think line between Trabzon and Istanbul in their early reconstruction of the killing and its planning.


"The murder was planned in Trabzon and carried out in Istanbul. Everybody who helped with this has been identified," Trabzon Governor Huseyin Yavuzdemir said.Various description of Samast emerged over the weekend, family described him as a boy who was calm and withdrawn but friends said he could be aggressive and contentious. Samast family neighbors in the town of Peletli neighboring Trabzon said the youth was a combative teenager and was kicked off the town football team because of his aggression. Having left high school, the unemployed teenager spent a great amount of time on the Internet. “It is a disaster to have a son in Trabzon,” said Nihat Genç, a journalist and a native of Trabzon in a phone interview with the Turkish Daily News. The combination of high unemployment and a large and energetic young population is a lethal brew, he said. Frustrated youth become hard to control and “they will leave Trabzon sooner or later, like a destiny.”While neighbors told the NTV news network that Samast was not overtly political, no more or less nationalist than his peers, the profile of others arrested pointed to ultra-nationlist ties. His suspected co-conspirator Hayal, convicted the McDonald's bomb attack, is accused, according to reports of Samast's statements to police, of enlisting him kill Dink. Hayal had managed a tea house of the Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) Peletli branch. MHP is known for its ultra-nationalist leanings.The party's deputy president, Ali Işıklar, accused foreign powers of the murder of Dink: “There are foreign powers behind this murder;” said Işıklar in his statement about the murder, the Anatolia agency reported. Işıklar argued that changing Turkey's political agenda was the motive behind Dink's murder.

Media reports also speculated that Samast was a member of the youth wing of the radical nationalist Great Union Party (BBP). The party's chief, however, rejected the allegation: “Our colleagues said that they do not know such a person and he does not have any connections with the organization,” said Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu the Doğan New Agency reported. People that knew Samast stressed that he was an impressionable and easily influenced young man. Hayri Kuk, coach of the local football team from which Samast was dismissed, said that Samast's character was vulnerable to persuasion. He added that Samast could not have acted alone and done something so critical.Samast's uncle Faik Samast also claimed that people could have exploited his nephew. Samast was a brave teenager, his uncle said in a phone interview with CNNTurk. He also said that Samast was having quarrels at home recently because of money. Faik Samast argued that his nephew could be deceived for money. Drugs may have played a role. Şevket Arz, a Trabzon parliamentarian told the TDN, that allegations that Samast was a narcotics abuser were confirmed by the Trabzon governor's office.The surname Samast takes its roots from a branch of Oğuz tribe that is believed to be the ancestors of Central Asian Turks. The clan Çepniler known by their roles in the Turkish transformation of eastern Black Sea region in north Anatolia that families carrying the surname Samast generally live in Tarbzon, Istanbul, Bursa, Tekirdağ and Ankara, reported the private news agency ANKA. Sunday morning at the Armenian Patriarchy, Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II, was hoped to preside and speak about the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. The Patriarch did not attend the Mass. No explanation for his absence was given. Around 400 Armenians attended the Mass. At the Mass, a representative of Hrant Dink's newspaper Agos said that no Agos employee would give a statement until Tuesday. Also present at the Mass were representatives from Armenian TV.

There was no mention of Hrant Dink during the Mass, though passages from the Bible were read, that evoked the idea of an innocent victim dying for others benefit. BOXEven the clues were on him

The alleged murderer of journalist Hrant Dink, Ogün Samast, was caught by police on the way back to his hometown, Trabzon. Samast, a 17-year old youth, carried the gun and wore the infamous white beret


ISTANBUL - with wire dispatches Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan announced late Saturday that the suspected murderer of journalist Hrant Dink was captured in Samsun, a city at the Black Sea region, at 11 p.m.

Ogün Samast, a 17-year old who later confessed to the murder, was brought to Istanbul by a private plane at 4.50 a.m. After being medically examined, he was taken to the İstanbul Police Department, reported the Anatolia news agency.

A shortwhile after the capture, PM Erdoğan made an announcement, broadcasted live on television channels. "The suspect of the Hrant Dink murder, Ogün Samast, is captured in Samsun,” he said. “The gun used at the murder was also found with him. The white beret, claimed to be worn by the suspect at the time of the murder was on his head ... The suspect's being snatched before Tuesday (the day of Dink's funeral) is a cause for delight. The investigation will be carried on with the same firmness."

10 suspects under custody:Four of the ten people who were held in custody in Trabzon were also brought to İstanbul by a scheduled flight yesterday morning, while Samast's father, mother and sister were released. Another 3 were taken under police custody in Trabzon yesterday. While the TDN was going to print, there were a total of 10 suspects under custody related to the murder.

As the suspect had not reached lawful age, Governor of Istanbul, Muammer Güler, said that police are following questioning techniques for the underaged.

Attorney General of Istanbul, Cengiz Engin, told journalists that the investigation will be carried forward by a police unit specialized in organized crimes.

According to CNN Turk news channel, Ogün Samast said “I shot him after Friday prayers and I am not regretful,” right after he was taken under custody by the Samsun Police Department. “I have read about him on the internet. I decided to kill him because he had said he was a Turkish citizen, but that Turkish blood was dirty,” Samast continued.

The young suspect was turned in by his father. According to news reports, the father, Ahmet Samast, saw the CCTV images on television and immediately called the Trabzon Police Department, saying “This is my son.” Samast said his son left for İstanbul three days ago and no news had arrived from him since then.




Dink not mentioned in Sunday's sermon
January 22, 2007
VERCİHAN ZİFLİOĞLU
ISTANBUL- Turkish Daily News
Participants of this Sunday's service of the Virgin Mary Church in Kumpkapı, also home to the Armenian Patriarchate building, were greatly surprised because the assassination of Turkish-Armenian writer Hrant Dink, one of the country's prominent defenders of freedom of speech who was outspokenly against Turkey's official denial of the alleged genocide of Armenians, was not mentioned once during the sermon, a TDN correspondent attending the funeral reported.

Turkey's Armenian community would traditionally be expected to mark Dink's assassination with a lengthy Sunday address and hymns sung by a large choir. However, yesterday's service at the Patriarchate's Virgin Mary Church with a 15-person choir was nothing but extremely unexceptional, which is anything but ordinary.

Armenian Patriarch of the Istanbul Armenian community Mesrob Mutafyan, known for keeping his distance stance from Dink, which was not unreciprocated, did not attend the service. Thus Sunday's sermon was carried out by another priest of the church. The bi-lingual sermon delivered in Turkish and Armenian mainly focused on the Bible and the life of Christ and made no single mention of Dink.

Hrant Dink, the voice of freedom for Armenian society, was frequently a target of criticism among some sections of Istanbul's conservative Armenian community. Dink had troublesome relations with the Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate, which severely reacted to Dink's unorthodox views.

Meanwhile, Karekin II, the Patriarch of all Armenians, sent a letter today to Archbishop Mutafyan, about the tragic assassination in Istanbul yesterday of journalist Dink, editor of the “Agos” weekly newspaper.

The message expressed sorrow over Dink's assassination. The statement said: “All our people and we grieve the loss of yet another intellectual who has become an innocent victim. In the strongest of terms, we condemn this clandestine assassination which took from our people a graceful and courageous son, who faithfully brought his service with his pen for the love of a just, free and peaceful life and better world. We also expect that the authorities of Turkey will uncover and punish the individuals responsible for this crime to the fullest extent of the law.”




I was not a friend of Hrant Dink
January 22, 2007
Ariana Ferentinou / TDN

I did not know that Hrant Dink had so many friends in Turkey. Close friends that now, after his untimely death would cry so loud through their columns about the loss of such a man of 'immense courage, professional integrity, outspokenness, kindness, friendliness, etc.'

“When I heard it, I felt so bad, I threw up twice. I could not sleep. All night I had nightmares about trains passing over me loudly,” my Rum journalist friend on the other end of the line was trying to describe his reactions after hearing the news of Hrant Dink's assassination last Friday.

He was a friend of his, a family friend. He knew the family, the wife, the daughters; he had appeared with him many times on discussion panels over - what else? - the rights of minorities in Turkey. He had heard – as all of us did – the criticism hurled against him by Armenian patriarchate circles for raising his voice too loud, for rocking the boat too much. “He was, after all, doing nothing more than defending the legal rights of his community,” said my friend, and in his broken voice I could clearly read his deeper message: “He was, after all defending the rights of his community, as we all are, too.”

I did not know that Hrant Dink had so many friends in Turkey. Close friends that now, after his untimely death would cry so loud through their columns about the loss of such a man of “immense courage, professional integrity, outspokenness, kindness, friendliness, etc.” And I did notice that many of today's friend's were nowhere to be seen when Dink was tried for “insulting Turkishness,” while being very keen in stirring up their Turkish readers and viewers against anybody who would dare to bring up the issue of “Armenian genocide,” here or abroad. Furthermore, I noticed that no famous Turkish intellectuals who benefited from the “Armenian genocide” debate in Europe and the United States came out to count themselves as “Hrant's friends.”

I was not a friend of Hrant Dink and I am not a member of the minority of the Rums who have felt the chilling fear of a politically motivated racial killing at their doorstep.

But I am worried about how history can be abused as a tool of the present. And how our modern technological world can facilitate the misuse of historical memory and the overemphasis on feelings at the expense of a rational, scientific, historical assessment. In other words, how a neighborhood Internet café can be a more dangerous medium than any method of dissemination of knowledge we knew before.

I was not Hrant Dink's friend, I am not a member of a historical ethnic minority in modern Turkey. But I do wish that his death would provoke an attitude of temperate objectivity against the misuse of history for the small benefit of the present.

The problem is that I have lived long enough in this country to be skeptical enough to know that I am asking too much.




Turkey's politicians condemn Dink murder
January 22, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Turkey’s politicians continued to issue messages condemning Dink’s murder on Sunday, with some suggesting international intelligence units are behind the assassination

A large number of politicians and hundreds of civil society organizations in Turkey on Sunday continued releasing messages condemning the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

“This kind of inhuman act will never achieve its purposes” President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said in a statement.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated security authorities on the arrest “in the name of the ... country, in the name of the fight for democracy and freedom” at a party convention near Ankara.

“The arrest of perpetrators of this attack, which deeply saddened our nation, is all our expectations,” he added.

Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç condemned the murder and said, “This felonious, insidious and willful attack is aimed at destroying Turkey's future and happiness.”

Meanwhile, Turkish Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu said that the assassination was an attack on democracy, peace and brotherhood. He condemned the attack and expressed sorrow over Dink's killing and offered condolences to his family.

Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said Dink's murder had caused “a very profound and most sincere agony,” across the entire country and in every section of society. During a visit to Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II, Baykal offered condolences to Turkey's Armenian community.

Talking to the press after the visit, Baykal said the murder could help the longed-for environment of peace, freedom and brotherhood in Turkey. “I think this is something that occurred after this very painful incident. We should extend this feeling. We should learn from this incident to create an environment of solidarity, love and peace in Turkey.”

Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) deputy Mehmet Erdemir said in a statement that the murder was an act by those attempting to cause the eventual disintegration of Turkey. The AKP's Turhan Çömez called for a joint demonstration by supporters of all Turkey's political parties.

Social Democratic People's Party (SHP) leader Murat Karayalçın, speaking at a party congress on Sunday, praised the security forces for catching Dink's murderer, however he still criticized inaction by the state. “You don't wait for an application to protect someone. Protecting is the duty of the security people. They should be doing their jobs.”

Karayalçın said the murder had caused sorrow across the country, and warned against using the assassination as an instrument for other purposes.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Chairman Ali Işıklar said “foreign powers” were behind Dink's assassination. “Considering the current situation of Turkey, the tension in the Middle East and the European Union process, there are attempts to change Turkey's agenda, fed by foreign powers.”

He said this was a development providing “at least a little bit of relief” to Turkey, which might encounter grave problems at home and in the international arena.

Free Party (Hürparti) leader Yaşar Okuyan said the assassination was an act against Turkey. “It has damaged Turkey,” Okuyan said in a statement he released on Sunday, underlining that any links the murder might have with other groups should be revealed as soon as possible.

Happiness or Contentment (Saadet) Party (SP) Chairman Recai Kutan said Turkey was rapidly headed to disintegration, adding “Hrant Dink's murder is a part of that.”

SP Deputy Chairman and former Justice Minister Şevket Kazan condemned the assassination, but also criticized mourners protesting on the street and the Turkish media for using expressions such as “We are all Hrant,” “We are all Armenian.”

Kazan said, “We are Mehmet, Hasan and Hüseyin. We are not Hrant, we are not Armenians. This is tantamount to being servants [to other nations]. This can't happen. This is sucking up to the United States.”

Kazan also claimed that the CIA and Mossad were behind Dink's murder.

Great Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu released a statement condemning the murder and praising the security forces for finding the perpetrator, however he said shedding light on links to the background culprits had to be a priority.

Yazıcıoğlu also denied claims that the murderer had any links to his party's youth organizations. He condemned newspapers “running libelous news stories at a time when Turkey needed to unite in solidarity the most.”

Ali Müfit Gürtuna, who leads the newly founded Turkuaz Movement, offered condolences to Turkey and Turkey's Armenian community.

Meanwhile, hundreds of mourners paid their respects to the journalist at the spot where he was gunned down, lighting candles and laying flowers underneath his portrait. Some groups shouted slogans condemning the murder.

Thousands marched across many Turkish cities, including Dink's hometown of Malatya.




All the culprits must be found
January 22, 2007
Yusuf KANLI / TDN

It is the foremost duty of the government to do everything possible and identify those who masterminded the Dink murder.

It is of course impossible not to share in the congratulation extended to the Turkish judiciary and the police by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the speedy establishment of the identity and eventual capture of the suspected assassin of our friend and colleague Hrant Dink, less than 32 hours after he was felled in front of the Istanbul headquarters of his Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos newspaper on Friday afternoon. We are definitely proud of our judiciary and police for this great accomplishment, particularly in view of the fact that the assassins of many other Turkish intellectuals remain at large “despite all efforts” of the same cops and prosecutors over many years.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, and particularly Prime Minister Erdoğan, was very quick to condemn the Dink murder as an attempt on Turkey, and indeed they were right. The rapid condemnation of the murder by the government, the entire Turkish media and by the overwhelming majority of the nation – unfortunately we have to exclude those primitive and rather backward elements of our society who still believe that ideas can be killed with bullets – was some consolation for our deep pain over the loss of a distinguished son of this country.

Cannot be a lone action...

No one should try to belittle the Saturday night capture of Ogün Samast, Dink's suspected killer, which occurred on a bus outside the Black Sea town of Samsun while he was heading to his hometown of Trabzon; definitely not. According to reports, he has already confessed to prosecutors that he has killed our colleague. But can this heinous murder be a lone act by a 16 year old? The investigation into the Dink murder must be continued until the perpetrators who ordered this boy from Trabzon to pull the trigger in cold blood and fell our colleague are netted and subjected to an adequate penalty by the Turkish courts.

It is the foremost duty of the government, if it wants to serve to the cause of justice, the memory of Dink and the interests of Turkey, not to stop at this point, but to order the police and the judiciary, as well as the entire civilian-military intelligence network, to do everything possible to identify those who masterminded the Dink murder.

Naturally it is also the responsibility of the government to act, removing the contentious Article 301 of the penal code under which the intellectuals of this society, such as Dink, are being persecuted on grounds of insulting “Turkishness” – whatever that obscure word may be – thus making them targets for ultra-nationalist hordes, even if eventually acquitted. Expressing sorrow over the death of a victim of Article 301, however, is like shedding crocodile tears, we're afraid to say. A government that really cares for the security of its intellectuals and which really believes that the capture of Dink's assassin(s) would do a great service to Turkish democracy and freedom of thought must make it its responsibility to cleanse the Turkish legislation of such odd and obscurely defined crimes that could be exploited by hard-core conservative, ultra-nationalist and even racist groups. These groups appear to have taken it upon themselves to carry out that self-appointed duty we might call “guarding the honor of the neighborhood.”

Fearing a nationalist backlash in the elections and not acting to eradicate either Article 301 or other articles in the penal code that represent the same crooked mindset will make the government “accountable” for future crimes that might be provoked in the future by of the existence of such contentious crimes in our judicial system.

Time to act on Article 301 of the Penal Code

We were also pleased that the Office of the Istanbul Governor, acting on the orders of the Interior Ministry, has started providing security for the entire group of intellectuals persecuted under the contentious Article 301. Indeed, under existing Turkish legislation, it is an obligation for the Turkish state to provide security for people who have become targets for terrorists, even if those persons do not apply for protection. If that order could have been issued a few days ago, perhaps the murder could have been avoided. Besides, the Turkish judiciary must take action against elements – including but not restricted to that fascist group of lawyers in Istanbul – that have been disseminating hatred and enmity in our society. There is no need to introduce new penalties against these backward and dangerous people. The existing laws of the country are sufficient.

Erdoğan was right when he said the bullets fired at Dink were indeed fired at Turkey, at the democracy and freedom of thought in this country. Now besides providing security to similar potential targets of terrorism it is the responsibility of the government and government agencies to nab the real culprits behind this murder, and to take judicial as well as legislative measures to widen freedom of expression while criminalizing dissemination of enmity.




Letters to the editor
TurkishDailyNews
January 22, 2007
Dink opposed both Turkish and French authoritarianism:

The murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink came as a shock to all of us at the Zoryan Institute. About four years ago he visited the institute and shared with us his vision of bringing together the Armenian and Turkish peoples through dialogue and reconciliation. He reiterated this vision at the scholarly conference in Yerevan in April 2005 and again at the Third Armenia-Diaspora Conference there last September. He was a passionate individual, devoted to promoting truth, freedom of speech and democracy.

On behalf of the Zoryan Board and staff we wish to express our deepest condolences to his family. We express our sympathies to the people of Turkey, who believe in what he stood for, as they have lost a staunch champion for human rights. We also express our sympathy to the Armenians of Turkey, who have lost a strong voice of leadership in the effort to reconcile the Armenian and Turkish peoples.

Dink used his newspaper, Agos, as a vehicle to disseminate his views with conviction. He raised questions about Turkish history and the highly politicized Armenian genocide issue, thus contributing to an open public debate. When addressing Armenians, he pleaded that they, especially those in the diaspora, who are primarily descendants of the survivors of the 1915 Genocide, not view the people of Turkey with the spectacles of that era, but rather to seek ways and means of sharing the truth with Turks in order to ultimately achieve reconciliation.

Unfortunately, Dink became disillusioned because of the events that took place over the past four years. Despite the promise of the Turkish Government to bring about freedom of speech and democracy, some 75 people were indicted under the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. He was part of the Istanbul Conference in 2005, whose participants the Turkish justice minister called “traitors” and accused of “stabbing the nation in the back.” Most of the people indicted under Article 301 were acquitted. He felt that he was being singled out, as a Turkish citizen of Armenian heritage, for rougher treatment for the same alleged offense. No one has been imprisoned in Turkey for breaching Article 301, but the appeals court confirmed a six-month suspended sentence against Dink. He was beaten by an angry mob when leaving the courthouse.

He was equally disillusioned by France's effort to penalize denial of the Armenian genocide. He felt strongly that the law in both countries was being used to stifle freedom of speech and expression. It is ironic that, he, while being persecuted in his own country for referring to the massacre of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 as genocide, at the same time challenged the French government to indict him under their proposed new law, in defense of the same right of free speech.

It is our opinion that, while trying to promote freedom of expression and bring about mutual understanding between Turks and Armenians, Dink was a victim of the political struggle between the forces of democratization in Turkey and the forces of the “Deep State” that want to maintain the status quo. This casts a terrible chill on the entire human rights movement in Turkey and dims the hope of reconciliation.

Let Hrant Dink's vision and spirit stay alive and inspire all those who continue the struggle for universal human rights.

Torrey Swan,

Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation on Genocide Diaspora and Armenia, United States

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Dink was murdered by the Turkish government:
This comment is directed at the Turkish government and not the good people of Turkey who realize what an insult and travesty the murder of Mr. Dink represents. Let the Government of Turkey know that the Armenians scattered throughout the world from Turkey's campaign of genocide will now wage a full-scale political and economic challenge that will result in not only the recognition of crimes committed by Turkey but full reparations for the stolen property and businesses and the return of six vilayets in southeastern Turkey and Mount Ararat. Mr. Dink was murdered by the Turkish government that declared him a traitor, prosecuted him and marked him as a target for death. There will be no EU membership or respect for Turkey until justice has been served.

Karen Walling
United States

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This Turkey is certainly not ready for the EU:

Hrant Dink is dead for expressing an opinion on the Armenian “genocide.” He insulted “Turkishness” like many writers in Turkey often do.

Where does this leave Anglo-Turkish writers like myself? Am I protected by the British government, or do I have to answer to the Turkish nationalist party in Ankara? Shall I abandon my first novel, where I will be exploring, not exposing (there's a difference in case the nationalists read this) the lack of women's rights in Turkey as well as many other issues? Will they take away my citizenship and issue a diplomatic jail sentence?

Maybe I'll abandon my ethnicity all together in my writing and leave the Turks in Turkey to explore and debate “Turkishness” through literature or otherwise. Or Turkey should abandon writing altogether...

The Turkish government is under the assumption that the public needs ideological protection. This is certainly not a country ready to participate in the EU.

Olcay Dağıstan
United Kingdom

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A loss for all of us:
Hrant Dink's passing is a loss for all of us and all who believe in the possibility of improving Turkish and Armenian relations. I believe that good will can prevail in the region, but I know that this sort of assassination makes the situation much more difficult.

Rachel Pentlarge
United States

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Dink was clear on genocide:
I am appalled at the editorials by Mr. Kanlı and others in TDN in response to the assassination of Hrant Dink. Mr. Dink was always clear that he considered that the Ottomans committed genocide against its Armenian subjects. Shame on you for giving the impression that “Dink always argued the killings were the result of fringe radicals on both sides.” He did not.

Mr. Dink's message to the Armenian diaspora was that modern Turks are not aware of this history, indeed have been kept from it, and so must be given time to learn about it as Turkey opens itself to democracy. Consequently he was against criminalizing genocide denial in France and he was in favor of Turkey's accession to the EU.

His message to Turks was that genocide occurred against fellow citizens and that Turkey should learn to deal it with it. Clearly she has not.

Richard Elliott
Canada

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Not ‘Muslim genes' but indoctrination:
According to the TDN story, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot claimed this week that “genes” are behind Muslim intolerance. His use of the term “genes,” if it actually occurred, is obviously not meant biologically. If it's true it was a bit unfortunate; a use of a slang expression in the wrong place. The rest of the quoted sentences just describes the situation in the Netherlands, and to some degree in Germany, correctly.

As to “rhetoric creates shock waves,” compare Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) deputy İbrahim Özdoğan on the ecumenical patriarch (TDN Jan. 19, 2007) and the fate of Hrant Dink. There is something in the “genes,” I'm afraid something we know all-too well in Germany. It's not biological, but about indoctrination.

Hans-Peter Geissen, Germany

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Don't exaggerate ‘Islamophobia':
I don't think the article about Bot's remarks was written in a neutral, journalistically correct, way, but rather tried to create a shocking effect. What he means is that with some immigrants, intolerance is in their genes, just like intolerance is in the genes of a lot of non-immigrants as well. The goal is to stop those people from doing any harm. What's so Islamophobic about that?

It seems every time you say something about Turks or Moroccans it's Islamophobic. Is saying something critical about Dutchmen immediately Christophobic or atheistophobic? It seems like some Muslims, just like some Jews, get some kind of weird pleasure out of being seen as victims. Your article won't help in getting rid of tensions between religions worldwide, that's for sure.

Tom Roes
The Netherlands

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© 2005 Dogan Daily News Inc




Turkish Press Yesterday
January 22, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

Anguish, despair and clichés:

Radikal daily printed a full-page picture on its front page yesterday of the newspaper covered body of assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink under the headline “Anguish, despair and clichés.”

“What must be done will be done,” “His blood won't go unavenged,” “This is the work of Turkey's enemies” and “This bullet was shot at all of us” were among the many clichéd statements by public officials quoted on top of the picture.

Radikal's issue was prepared as a memorial for Hrant Dink. His life, thoughts, death and the recent developments regarding his assassination were covered throughout the newspaper.


The murderer shot him on his way back from the bank:

Hürriyet's coverage of recent developments on Dink's assassination mainly focused on the key suspect of the murder, who was turned in by his father who called the police after recognizing the security camera images of him in the media.

Hürriyet also extensively covered the international media reaction to Dink's murder. In addition, Hürriyet underlined that Dink's daily newspaper, Agos, called for calm, no chanting of any slogans or unfolding posters during his funeral.

Hürriyet also said that the prime minister had appointed a bodyguard to everyone who was judged under Article 301 of the penal code for “denigrating Turkishness.”

Dink was the only writer who was convicted under the article so far.

His coffin should be draped with the Turkish flag:

Sabah's coverage yesterday focused mostly on Ogün Samast, the young man arrested by the police on suspicion of being the hit man in the Dink murder case.

Samast's own family turned him into the police. The 17-year-old was caught in the Hopa district of Artvin trying to escape to Russia. Samast, whose year of birth is 1990, confessed to having shot Dink during the interrogation.

Sabah said six others were detained on suspicion of being linked to Samast.

Sabah noted that Samast was reported to be a member of the nationalist youth group Alperen Ocakları, an organization linked to the Great Unity Party (BBP).

BBP Chairman Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu denied this claim and said Samast had nothing to do with his party's youth organizations.

Sabah highlighted a proposal from Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Ömer Çelik to send Dink on his last journey with a flag-draped coffin. The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said it supported the idea.

A senior member of the AKP, Salih Kapusuz, also expressed that it would be a symbolically important gesture to “show that the state cares about its citizens.”

The bodyguard scandal:

In its coverage of the Dink assassination, Posta focused on claims that the murder could have been prevented and that the negligence of authorities played a role in Dink's assassination.

The daily stressed that the existence of death threats directed against Dink after he was convicted under Article 301 was openly known. The daily also underlined that Dink had applied to the prosecutor's office demanding investigation into a threatening letter from Bursa but the investigation was not concluded.

Posta said in a case opened against the Interior Ministry after the death of Uğur Mumcu, another “democracy martyr” in Turkey who was assassinated with a bomb planted in his car, the Council of State said the Ministry was responsible for its “negligence,” despite no application from Mumcu himself for protection. The court had said, “Not protecting individuals who have become open targets to terrorism, even though they might not want it, is negligence of duty.”

Posta said, “Based on this decision of the State Council, the Istanbul Governor's Office should have appointed a body guard.”

The daily also said, “The Istanbul's Governor's Office, which did not protect Hrant Dink despite the existence of the above mentioned court decision, acted on an order from the prime ministry to protect Turkey's writers and intellectuals, such as Orhan Pamuk, who have been tried under Article 301.”


Hrant Dink's blood is avenged:

Vatan's coverage of recent developments in the Dink assassination focused on the legal aspects involving the murder. The daily said Samast, the confessed murderer of Dink, would get only 16 years in jail because he is under the age of 18.

The 17-year-old would have to do 36 years had he been one year older.


He was caught in Samsun on his father's call:

Zaman yesterday covered in detail the operation to catch Dink's murderer Samast. Elsewhere, the daily called Turkey's citizens to be sensitive during Dink's funeral and avoid loud protests.

The daily also said the entire nation, including the people, the media and the government had shown great sensitivity and common-sense in their reactions to Dink's murder. “The father did his job by turning in one of his own. Now it is the state's turn,” Zaman said.

The daily demanded that all individuals or organizations linked to the assassination had to be found. “For those who want to use the murder against Turkey in the international arena are making noise already before his blood has even dried,” the daily said.

The daily also noted that the global media mainly focused on Dink's support for Armenian genocide allegations, rather than the murder itself.

It is that address again:

Yeni Şafak said the traces of “nationalist provocation” were becoming visible behind Dink's murder.

Yeni Şafak recalled that a hit man who murdered a senior judge in the state council earlier was linked to a “nationalist” group and some retired generals. The daily also recalled that Italian Priest Santoro was also killed at a time when groups which announced “everyone as Turkey's enemies” were most active.

Yeni Şafak quoted Dink's lawyer who said Dink had received a phone call from Veli Küçük, an army member suspected of having links to the Susurluk car crash of 1997, a case which revealed dark relations with the criminal world and nationalist groups nested within the state apparatus.




Dink's murder a reminder of need for genocide recognition, US Armenians say
January 22, 2007
ÜMİT ENGİNSOY
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
U.S. Armenian organizations have called on President George W. Bush's administration to drop efforts to prevent Congress from formally recognizing the Armenian genocide, especially at a time when the assassination of prominent Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink illustrates “Turkey's campaign of denial and intolerance.”

“In light of this terrible tragedy, it is all the more inappropriate for the administration to oppose congressional reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide,” said Hirair Hovnanian, chairman of the board of trustees for the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), according to an AAA statement following Dink's killing. “In memory of Hrant Dink, we reaffirm our commitment to fight for universal reaffirmation of the Armenian genocide,” he added. AAA Executive Director Bryan Ardouny also expressed his sorrow at Hrant's assassination, saying, “Sadly 92 years after the start of the Armenian genocide, Hrant Dink is now the latest victim of Turkey's outrageous campaign of denial and intolerance.”“[This] brutal murder serves as a wake up call to the United States and the entire international community to unite together in ending forever the Turkish government's denial of the Armenian genocide,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Hrant Dink's murder is tragic proof that the Turkish government – through its campaign of denial, threats and intimidation against the recognition of the Armenian genocide – continues to fuel the same hatred and intolerance that initially led to this crime against humanity more than 90 years ago,” said Hamparian in an ANCA statement.In a CNN-International interview, he said that Dink's murder was a terrible tragedy, but not entirely a surprise, “in light of the environment of escalating intolerance intimidation created by the Turkish government against those who openly acknowledge the Armenian genocide.” The AAA and ANCA are the two largest U.S. Armenian organizations. Dink, 52, the editor of Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, was gunned down outside his newspaper's office in Istanbul on Friday, causing a huge wave of protests inside and outside Turkey. Police on Sunday detained a teenage suspect over the slaying.

The journalist had stood trial several times for his public comments on the genocide, and was convicted last year for “insulting Turkishness” under a much criticized article of Turkey's penal code; he received a six-month suspended sentence.Pro-Armenian lawmakers in U.S. Congress are gearing up for the introduction of a fresh resolution in the House of Representatives classifying World War I-era killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. Originally the resolution was expected to come last week, but its sponsors decided to wait for another week or so in an effort to maximize the number of legislators backing the measure in writing. The AAA said late last week that the resolution would be formally introduced in the House before the end of January.

The Washington administration strongly condemned Dink's assassination, calling on Turkish authorities to bring those responsible to justice. But State Department officials said that official U.S. policy on the last century's Armenian killings in the last days of World War I was unchanged. Successive U.S. administrations have declined to qualify the Armenian killings as genocide so as not to alienate Turkey, also urging Congress to refrain from genocide recognition. However, the new Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, backs the genocide resolution's passage.U.S. Armenians want the resolution's approval in a full House floor vote before April 24, designated by U.S. presidents as the day of remembrance of the Armenian tragedy.




Hrant’s silent voice should not fade
January 22, 2007
SYLVIA TIRYAKI /TDN
It is very hard to absorb the fact that Hrant Dink has irreversibly joined the chorus of silent voices of those murdered by arrogant intolerance and fear…

Whatever objective Hrant's murderers have had, the means they chose to achieve it was silencing his voice. Yet it is only Hrant's voice that has survived it all. It was his voice that almost instantly, after being silenced by the cold-blooded killer, multiplied itself in metamorphosis, rising again through thousands and thousands of people marching through the streets of Turkey chanting: “We are all Hrant.”

The people marched because they were outraged. They were outraged, and rightly so, because someone had tried to silence with three bullets that which the Turkish soul represents: multiculturalism and freedom.

Hrant Dink had dedicated his life to what he believed in: the possibility of reconciliation between the Turks and the Armenians. His Turkish-Armenian origin predestined him for this gracious role, which he always carried out with dignity. He was articulating both Turkish and Armenian perspectives not only in Turkey – and not only through Agos, his newspaper, which he had edited since 1996 – but also abroad.

It was he that recently started a campaign in France, explaining that unilateral adoption of parliamentary resolutions recognizing the 1915 Armenian tragedy as genocide wouldn't help any reconciliation. Instead he promoted dialogue and voiced the necessity of the establishment of an international commission which would deal with the tragic events of the early 20th century. And when the candidacy of four Dutch politicians of Turkish origin was cancelled by political parties in the Netherlands as a result of the candidates not accepting the Armenian “genocide,” Dink starkly criticized the parties' approach.

Although he has been always known as a prominent journalist and activist at home, the outside world became acquainted with him when he was prosecuted under the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code that makes it a crime to insult “Turkishness”and later recognized him as a fighter for civil rights.

The article – so criticized both in Turkey and abroad for its obvious suppressive character regarding freedom of speech – is in fact seriously hazardous. Thanks to a vague definition of the “enemy of state” it holds enormous power over the good name and reputation of literally everyone. Even if a charged citizen is found not guilty by the court, the gap in the official definition is left to the imagination and mercy of the crowd, leaving the individual vulnerable to racist reactions, misunderstandings and misperceptions.

On Oct. 2, 2006 I expressed in this column – in a piece titled “Before it is too late…” – my deep concerns at the development in our society over the trials carried under Article 301, referring to the trial of Elif Şafak, then in progress.

I wrote: “Everybody knows, and the politicians better than anybody else, that it is easy to ignite the masses. It is a global and historical phenomenon to play on the sensitivities of people in democracies before the elections for the sake of polarization, finding a political niche and getting elected. However, some sensitivities are capable of triggering emotions that can polarize the entire society on many fronts.

“Politicians, and not merely those governing, bear the responsibility of their mandates. Any pre-election campaign and propaganda should at the end be used for the benefit of the country they compete to govern.

“… So, perhaps it is the time to change the rules before the system takes its own course according to the laws of chaos, before the masses start applying their own vision of morals, or right and wrong, and before someone is really hurt…

“…May it not be too late…”

Unfortunately, my wishes didn't come true – for Hrant it is already too late…

However, no matter what the motives behind his murder may have been, we all should take responsibility to ensure Hrant's silent voice does not stay alone.

Since dusk will creep over a country where only silent voices can talk…




Opinion by Doğu ERGİL
Hrant Dink: Requiem to a lesser Turkey

January 22, 2007
It is a true pity that we have lost a lightening rod against fanaticism of all kinds and a true patriot who believed and preached that without love of the citizen, love of the country is a guise for discrimination and ideological tyranny.

Who was Hrant Dink? He was one of those rare Armenians (now numbering around 60,000) whose family survived the Ottoman mass deportation of 1915. Although he was born in Malatya in 1954, he grew up in an Armenian orphanage in Istanbul and graduated from the Zoology Department of the Faculty of Sciences at Istanbul University. He became a public figure after he has founded the Turkish-Armenian daily AGOS in 1996. As the chief editor and prime columnist he had three goals: 1) to open up the introverted Armenian community to the wider public for he believed that direct contact and open channels of knowledge would help eradicate prejudices 2) to promote the idea that there are other ethnic-cultural groups in Turkey other than the Turks and Muslims and they can very well blend into the nation if it is cleansed of stereotypes and biases 3) to defend Armenians against majority fanaticism in Turkey and to defend Turks/Turkey against the fanaticism and hypocrisy of foreigners and diaspora Armenians. He accomplished all three goals. He was a Turk against Armenian extremism and he was an Armenian against Turkish extremism. He was Turkey in its complexity. But fanatics do not live on reason. They live and nourish themselves on hatred. They need to hate in order to survive. It is this hatred of life and humanity that took the life of this honorable democrat and patriot.

Hrant did not leave his country despite all the pressure and injustice he faced. He preferred to talk from within, among people who he identified with. Yet he was given a prison sentence of 6 months due to the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) that punishes “insulting Turkishness.” All the other writers and intellectuals indicted because of this article were acquitted. However, his case was carried to the High Court of Appeals where his sentence was endorsed in spite of a plea from the Chief Prosecutor, who insisted no crime was committed.

There was yet another ongoing court case dating back to 2002 relating to a lecture he gave in Urfa where he said, “I am not a Turk but an Armenian of Turkey.” He was accused of insulting and denigrating Turkishness!

He answered such accusations by saying: “In my opinion to denigrate the people one lives together with on ethnic or religious grounds is pure racism and there is no excuse for that. … If I am not cleared of these indictments I will leave my country because anyone condemned for such a crime does not deserve the right to live with the people he derides.” Isn't that noble? But believe it or not this statement led to another court case on the grounds of “trying to influence an ongoing trial.”

Despite his moderate stance, officials and ultra-nationalist barely tolerated him and tried to intimidate him frequently. However, he was so sincere in his humanitarian quest and his self-acquired mission of digging out the truth that had been buried deep in the public sub-conscience concerning the social history of his country, he carried on. While he wanted to create awareness among Turks about the feelings and suffering of Armenians following World War I, he tried to convince diaspora Armenians to reframe the same events with concepts other than “genocide.” He wanted this to humanize the issue and snatch it away from the ideological extremism and hateful political opportunism of the extremists on both sides. He was like a two-way lightening rod, over-charged by both sides.

The straw that broke the camel's back was an editorial published in AGOS on Feb. 6, 2004. According to the editorial, the famed adopted (or god) daughter of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and hero of Turkey, Sabiha Gokcen was originally an Armenian. Indeed Hrant had found and interviewed the relatives of the late Gokcen now living in Armenia. According to the information obtained she was taken from an Armenian orphanage and raised by Ataturk to be an accomplished military bomber pilot. She was a national icon and symbol of modern Turkish women besides being the daughter of Ataturk.

The news shook Turkey. The most potent protest among others came from the military. The press release that originated from the office of the Chief of General Staff was as follows: “What ever the reason, opening up such a symbol to public debate is a crime against national unity and social peace.” Awkward, but Hrant thought that the revelation would serve the opposite end: it would bring the Turks and the Armenians a little closer together. After all, one of Turkey's national icons was originally an Armenian and has been honored as the goddaughter of the nation's revered hero. So these historical and cultural differences really do not matter if we can find the commonalities that unite us. Well, he was wrong. Icons and heroes can only be Turkish in Turkey.

I will conclude this humble requiem with words from the statement of the History Foundation after Hrant's assassination: “It is not the lifeless body of Hrant Dink that lies before AGOS, it is Turkey's hopes …Turkey will find it harder to solve its problems without Hrant Dink; it will be a lesser Turkey.
TDN




Sit-in at Armenian village
January 22, 2007
HAYRETTİN OĞUR
SAMANDAĞ - Doğan News Agency
The residents of Vakıflı village in Samandağ, Hatay, marked journalist Hrant Dink's murder with a peaceful protest.

Around 100 residents of the village, whose population of 150 are all Armenians, staged a sit-in yesterday in front of the Saint Mary Church. Residents said the murder's aim was to trouble the country.

Meanwhile, around 50 people, amongst them the president of Hatay's Dentists Association Dr. Nebil Seyfettin and the president of the Samandağ branch of Education Personnel Labor Union (Eğitim-Sen).

The mukhtar of the village Berç Kartun thanked the visitors for sharing their pain and said they hoped an incident like the assassination would never take place again.


A clear provocation
22.01.2007
PROF. ALİ ÇAĞLAR
Zaman
Regardless of how the matter is looked at or evaluated, it is a murder against Turkey which has and will put Turkey in a very difficult international situation in all aspects. It is a clear provocation.

Dink, a Turkish citizen and a prominent name in the Armenian community, was a deliberately chosen symbol - not randomly chosen, nor something done out of anger by an individual. Hrant Dink was not murdered for being Hrant Dink. He was murdered for being the best symbol that could create predetermined effects and results. As is known, he was a voice of reason on the Armenian issue and had even annoyed the Armenian diaspora with his pro-Turkey stances. Although he criticized laws and practices in Turkey, he made pro-Turkey statements abroad. He described EU countries’ attitudes on the Armenian genocide as “unethical.” In other words, this murder will not benefit anyone beyond the Armenian diaspora and those who do think highly of Turkey. These bullets were fired at Turkey. The only ones who will benefit from this murder are the enemies of Turks and of Turkey. This situation will especially serve to justify the baseless propaganda of anti-Turkey groups in Turkey’s EU relations, with calls like: “In Turkey there is no freedom of expression, Turks are intolerant, they are barbarians, murderers. Look the genocide is continuing in Turkey.”

The timing of the incident, on the eve of negotiations on the “genocide bill” in the US Congress, raises many questions because our Prime Minister had said that if the law was passed it would harm relations between Turkey and the USA. In any case, Turkey is a considerably important country for the US under any conditions. Especially nowadays, while bogged down in Iraq and fighting with problems with Iran and Syria, the US cannot accept a distancing of Turkey. On the other hand, the Armenian genocide bill is an internal policy product of the US. The fact that it might be passed in the House of Representatives may inevitably pull Turkey away from the US. Meanwhile, Turkey may have disturbed many with its stance and attitude on Iraq and especially Kirkuk. There are persistent statements about a referendum later this year and Turkey has signaled its opposition and said it won’t remain passive on Kirkuk.

Between Turkey and Kurds in northern Iraq the PKK is a web of problems in the two countries. Currently, Turkey has entered into dialogue with Iran and Syria, without the consent of the US. Turkey is encircled by fire if we take into consideration the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East. Regarding the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, some groups in Turkey talk of a regime problem. Moreover, some EU member countries are using the Armenian issue as a tool for their interests against Turkey. They are making efforts to keep Turkey away from the EU. Meanwhile, the fringe of the Armenian diaspora is working in prominent countries to institutionalize recognition of genocide and justify their own struggle.

When all these pieces are put together, the only way out is a Turkey that is inconsistent, stuck in its problems, possessing an internationally-damaged reputation and no effective authority in the international arena. Consequently, this symbolic murder, whoever did it, was very well-planned, done on purpose, organized and timely. It aimed to create fear and panic within the Turkish community. It aimed to destabilize Turkey and prevent it from dealing with its own problems, from speaking up and being effective on international issues. It aimed to weaken and trouble the existing government, to fix the impression that there is a problem of security in Turkey and to create a medium of fear.

The picture is clearer when we look at the symbolic murders in our recent history. To repeat, this incident was an organized, planned and conscious activity aiming to draw attention to certain points. It has put Turkey in the well of serious problems for the near future. A split between Turkey and the western world may occur. A xenophobic Turkey detached from the world will serve the interests of many. It should be remembered that no country wants its neighbor to be more effective, more reputable or more powerful than itself. And this situation is completely compatible with the nature of the job. Consequently, an inconsistent, weak and ineffective Turkey is compatible with the interests of certain agendas.

In this issue, huge responsibility falls on Turkey, its officers and people. First of all, the conditions must be realized to save Turkey from this web of problems with minimum loss. The case must be resolved as soon as possible at all costs to show that these activities will not be tolerated in the democratic and legal Republic of Turkey. Political determination should be maintained. To serve Turkey is to shed light on this murder because this issue is prone to abuse against Turkey. Especially as the “Property Tax” of 1942 - said to have disenfranchised the country’s minorities - and the Sep. 6 and 7 incidents, when in 1955 minorities and their properties were attacked following an attack on Atatürk’s house in Thessaloniki - which led many people to leave the country - are still fresh in our memories. With all this in mind, this issue gains even more significance.

Government officers from the president to the prime minister, from the opposition leader to the party leaders - everyone should attend the funeral. In this way, all the country’s institutions and people should show that they are standing against the murder. It is a must for politicians and decision-makers to take steps to respond to this crime in a conscious and organized fashion. Otherwise, we will have helped those who do not think highly of Turkey reach their goals. At the same time, many of our citizens may worry about their lives. Turkey will fall under the shadow of insecurity. This situation will lead Turkey’s different peoples to turn inwards. As a result, our national unity and integrity will be badly damaged. The biggest damage will be Turkey’s.

* Prof. Ali Çağlar is a lecturer at Hacettepe University and terror expert




A dove struck down
22.01.2007
CAN AKSIN, BUGÜN
Zaman
Just as Turkey was beginning to enjoy a period of progress, the country finds itself unable to break free from calamity. 'Evil' has overtaken the nation, from within and without.
Before one incident can die down, another flares up, as if these heinous acts were purposefully orchestrated for some horrendous aim. The same people have been doing the same things for 40 years. And for 40 years they have been getting away with it. Neither the perpetrators nor the masterminds behind these acts are caught. Our people are suffering; in poverty, unemployment and malnourishment. They say that this attack was not only directed towards Hrant Dink but to our entire nation. Our mission now is to immortalize Hrant Dink, he who had no other desire than for Turkey to be more democratic and free. He truly loved Turkey. Hrant Dink is a citizen of the Republic of Turkey and he is our brother.




How easy it is…
22.01.2007
ABDURRAHMAN DİLİPAK, VAKİT
Zaman
If you ask me, the hitman is as much of a victim as Hrant Dink is. He must live and speak. We must find out who the masterminds behind this act are and what are their goals so we can prevent other such killings from taking place.
Hrant Dink's name must be cleared. Those who declared him an enemy of Turkey should be ashamed of what they have done. He was someone who had deep connections with this land, he was very respectful. He was a man of peace. He embodied hope for Turkey. His detractors and opponents failed to understand both him and his writings. They did not want to understand him. The prosecuting attorney who wrote up the indictment did not understand him. He did not want to understand him. The judge who heard his case and the prosecutor at the court hearing did not understand him. How easy it is to convict a writer, a journalist, a man of peace and a defender of human rights as a 'hater of Turks.' How pitiful it is... It was our own people who convicted him of high treason. And now that he is dead we talk about what a great man he is.




Minister of Foreign Affairs invites the Armenian diaspora to the funeral
Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent an official invitation to the Armenian Diaspora representatives and Armenian religion leaders in the United States to Hrant Dink's funeral. The Ministry will cover all of the guests travel and accommodation costs.

"Let's take a historical step together"

By order of Minister Abdullah Gül, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on important representatives of the Armenian community around the world. The Ministry's invitation said 'let's take a historical step together and find solutions for this problem together in Turkey.' It was learned that all travel and accommodation expenses of those invited will be covered by the Turkish Government. The Archbishop of New York; Barsamyan has accepted the invitation. The Ministry has also asked Armenian religion leaders not to allow fanatics' provocations against Turkey. / Sabah




We could not protect him
It is not the job of journalists to find answers to who is behind the killing of Hrant Dink and what significance this most unfortunate incident has. However, as a journalist I do hold the right to pose this question and expect an answer.
Why was Hrant not protected? We are certainly going to discuss how he was, consciously or subconsciously, intentionally or foolishly, used as the media's scapegoat or whipping post - turned into a target as it were. The real issue, however, lies with the government. Why was he not protected? Why was he allowed to roam freely despite being a journalist who was the victim of threats? Despite the warning he received at a governor's office to watch himself, how is it that those responsible for the security of this country and city remained unaware of any threat? Does protection always have to come in the form of continuous police escort? This crime has left us with a government who judges and convicts its citizens on his or her patriotism but fails to protect.
22.01.2007
FERAİ TINÇ, HÜRRİYET




Dink’s assassination, Sabotage against Turkey
Turkey has been shaken by the assassination of Hrant Dink, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Agos daily. “Why was Hrant Dink targeted? What kind of a murder was this? Why was it committed at this time? Who might have been provoked to perpetrate such a crime?

What consequences will it have, and most importantly, whose interests will the murder serve?” and many other questions have yet to be answered.

First of all, conjectural factors conspired to make Hrant Dink a target. He was Armenian-Turkish. He was a well-known intellectual who frequently appeared in the media and was tried for insulting Turkishness, unfortunately in the process becoming a public symbol. Furthermore, at a time when the world has became a global village, with Turkey struggling to become a member of the European Union on the one hand and experiencing souring relations with the United States on the other, with the ongoing crisis in Iraq and debates over Armenian genocide bills, Dink stood as a figure who could influence both the Turkish and world public. This targeted Dink for murder.
Why was Hrant Dink targeted?

Secondly, whether the murder was ordinary or political is a topic for debate. Although investigations are currently under way, no clear-cut result has yet been disclosed. The arrest of the perpetrator or perpetrators, on the other hand, will not necessarily reveal the groups and power circles behind the murder because it is highly possible that a pawn might have been used. However, it could be claimed that there are certain groups behind the murder who are troubled by Turkey’s economic and political stability and the growing dialogue among citizens and who want to restrict Turkey’s foreign policy. It would not be a prophecy to claim that the murder was not triggered by money or personal enmity and therefore that it is most probably a political murder. The fact that Dink was shot in the head and neck, two critical points, proves that the assassin was most probably a professional. In fact, in terms of the murder’s effects on Turkey’s domestic and foreign policy, whether it is an ordinary or political murder will not make a big difference.

Thirdly, the period in which this murder took place should be analyzed. Turkish presidential and general elections will be held in 2007. Turkey is becoming polarized through debates over the presidential elections in particular, and unfortunately uncivilized debates among various groups are going on. On the other hand, Turkey is facing difficulties in its EU bid. “Armenian genocide” bills are increasingly being debated in the parliaments of various countries. Argentina recently passed a resolution on the “Armenian genocide” claims. A political murder at such a time could both contribute to polarization in domestic politics and cause hardships for Turkey’s foreign policy. This probably accounts for the timing of the murder.

Finally, consequences of the murder and whom it will serve are probably the most significant aspects of the incident. The murder will have implications for Turkey’s domestic and foreign policy. It will contribute to political polarization in Turkey, and even the government will come under fire. Attention will be diverted from crucial issues to dead-end conflicts. It will cause a cooling of relations between Armenian and other Turkish citizens and a weakening of dialogue. Dink’s ideas differed from those of the Armenian diaspora. He criticized the European Union for shutting its doors to Turkey on grounds of the Armenian problem. In this regard, Turkey lost an influential figure who defended the country and had the potential of serving it more if Turkey was cooperated with. This murder could, if circles fail to act rationally, contribute to chaos and disorder in Turkey and deal a blow to brotherhood and peace. As for its implications on foreign policy, Turkish-EU relations will suffer and European circles and countries that are critical of Turkey’s accession to the European Union will get the chance to criticize freedom of expression as well as the efficiency and quality of security and security forces in Turkey. More countries will probably endorse “Armenian genocide” allegations. The assassination of Dink will serve as a fresh means for Armenian lobbies to utilize. The US Congress might not prevent the passage of Armenian genocide bill this time, and Turkish-US relations will suffer even more.

Briefly, this bullet was certainly directed at Hrant Dink. However, in terms of its consequences it was shot at Turkey, Turkish culture of tolerance, Turkish image and interests.

*İdris Bal is the president of Ankara Global Research Center

22.01.2007
DR. İDRİS BAL




The man who wept because he could not become a sergeant
22.01.2007
AYŞE KARABAT ANKARA
“He defended his ideas too openly and directly, we warned him not to do so,” a Turkish-Armenian businessman told me.

I thought for a few seconds. I remembered the person who defended his ideas as such. He was suddenly alive before me; standing up with his tall, sturdy frame, speaking with his hands as he said what was on his mind and looking sharply from behind his glasses.

“But, this was his way, the only way he could. First of all he was a journalist” I replied.
Grief then appeared on the businessman's face.

“Yes. You are right. Anyway, this was one of the reasons that we loved him.”
We were talking about Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian journalist who was shot dead in front his newspaper Agos in Istanbul on Friday.

Later I learned that Hrant means “living flame” in Armenian. Some people really fulfill the meaning of their names.

We were five around the dinner table on Saturday night; the businessman, his doctor brother, another journalist, a politician and myself. But maybe we were six, because all night long we spoke about Hrant Dink.

Some of us knew each other for a long time. Some of us had only met that night. But we discovered that we all had strange similarities unique to Turkey. Our ancestors were exiled during Ottoman times; and at one point or another they had all been in the same cities, either being exiled to, or from.

The dinner was held in an Antakya (Antioch) restaurant in Ankara. There was no specific reason for us picking this restaurant. It was just another coincidence. Antioch was at the crossroads of different cultures and religions even in ancient times. To a certain extent, it was the cradle of Paulian Christianity. From this city the founding fathers of modern Christianity spread to Asia Minor, Cyprus and Greece. Antioch is truly a meeting point of opposites; The sea meets there with high mountains, Anatolia with the main body of the Middle East, Turks with Arabs, Armenians, Syrian Alawites, Jews and pagans. In that sense it is the Alexandria of the North, or better put, the Istanbul of the South. Antioch was an early production center for mosaics. Today, the city hosts the second richest museum of mosaics in the world. The demographic mosaic of the city parallels this richness in an extraordinarily peaceful manner. The cuisine of the city has the same richness, too.

Dink was born in another Eastern Turkish city, Malatya on Sept. 15, 1954. He moved to İstanbul when he was seven with his two brothers, and parents. After a short while, his parents divorced and Dink and his brothers grew up in the Gediklipaşa Armenian Orphanage.

“In the orphanage, we prepared the table, washed our dishes, and cleaned the toilets. All of us were between seven and 12. The orphanage gave me the habit of tirelessly working and manual labor,” Dink wrote in one of his articles.
He completed his secondary education while working and later married at the age 21 with Rakel, a fellow orphan.
While he was studying Zoology at İstanbul University, he started to become involved with politics through an illegal leftist organization. Considering the possibility that the Armenian community would be linked to the leftist organization in case he was caught, he changed his name. He would then be known as Fırat, the Turkish name for the famous Euphrates River.

Dink wanted to study philosophy after his graduation from the Zoology department. He enrolled in the department of Philosophy, but had not yet completed his studies when his military service got in the way.

“When I went to Denizli to serve in the army, all my friends were given the title of sergeant, but not me. I was left as an ordinary soldier. I was a grown man with two children. Maybe I should not have cared. Plus, it made it easier for me in a way; I got out of keeping guard for example. But this discrimination still hurt. While everybody was sharing their happiness with their families, I never forgot, I cried behind the barracks for two hours,” Hrant once wrote.

Not all memories for Armenians are painful. The businessman and the doctor at the dinner were so proud while they were talking about their past as students. One of them said he was the only Armenian at the school and was the chairman of the students' union. His brother recalled that their uncle always carried the flag in official ceremonies because of his well built body.

Dink started work in a publishing house with his two brothers after completing his education. In the meantime, he and his wife administrated the Tuzla Armenian Camp for Children for the low-income Armenian children.
Dink started his journalistic career by writing book reviews in the magazines of the Armenian community. When the Armenian community of Turkey decided to open-up and publish a newspaper in 1996 in Turkish and Armenian, Dink became the founder and editor-in-chief, a post he would fill until the day he murdered in front of his office.

Last year at the 10th anniversary celebration of the newspaper's founding, Dink said:

“Agos made me age faster. I adopted a life style which I never expected to have. First of all, I'm not a good administrator. I can't direct. I have a sharp tongue. Journalism is for more relaxed people.”

“He was very outspoken. We invited him on every TV program we could and got statements from him for the press all the time. We made him so visible,” said the journalist at our table.

Dink was a frequent figure at court houses as well. The first case was in 2002. He was accused for insulting “Turkishness” in a speech that he gave to a panel in Şanlıurfa. After five years of continuous trials he was acquitted, but just for a while. The court cases followed one after the other.

In 2004, he prepared a series of articles entitled “On the Armenian identity.” In the 8th part of the series he wrote:
“The clean blood which will take the place of poisoned blood emptied from Turks exists in the noble veins of Armenians who establish relations with Armenia” (Türk'ten boşalacak o zehirli kanın yerini dolduracak olan temiz kan, Ermeni'nin Ermenistan'la kuracağı asil damarında mevcuttur”)

He was accused of insulting Turkishness once more, although court insiders pointed out that “when the series was considered as a whole, there was no crime.”

Dink was sentenced to six months in October 2005, but his jail sentence was suspended.
While defending himself Dink said, “I was pointing out that the anger of Armenians against Turks was groundless. Instead of working to make the world accept the genocide, it would be better to clean the fear of Turks from Armenian blood and establish relations with Armenia.”

The politician at the table told us one of his memories.

“Once I met with an Armenian counterpart who was very rigid. To the extent that even he wouldn't speak to me at the beginning. Then I deliberately I stepped on his foot and shouted, 'What am I supposed to do, now, huh?' The Armenian politician was confused. I shouted once more, 'What am I supposed to say now?' Then I smiled at him: 'I have to apologize.' Since then we started to talk.”

While the court hearing was on-going, a second case was opened against Dink. This time for trying to influence the court because his newspaper criticized the Turkish Penal Code's article 301, which regulates the “crime of insulting Turkishness.”

During the trial, some ultra nationalists spat on him, swore at him and called him a “traitor.” They said “Come and see the clean Turkish blood” while throwing coins at him and carrying banners reading, “The son of missionaries, don't harm the peace of the Turkish Armenians.”

Just two days before he was killed he wrote an article starting with the sentence “I am convicted for six months for insulting Turkishness, a crime that I never committed.”

In the article he mentioned his mental state and the threats against him.
“To what extent are these threats serious? Of course I cannot know. What is a greater threat for me is this self-torture. Unfortunately, I know better now and I see more frequently these glances which say 'Look at this Armenian.'”

At the dinner one of us raises the concern: What if it turns into a blood feud? Might there be a possibility of some radical Armenians killing Turks for revenge?
A couple of years ago, when a group of Turkish intellectuals were visiting the Armenian University in Yerevan, a student asked for one minute of silence in order to commemorate the “innocent Armenians who were killed in 1915.” Dink stood up and opposed the idea, saying, “Not only for all the innocent Armenians, but for all the innocent, Turkish and Armenian.”

Last summer another court case was opened against him, this time for a statement to Reuters in which he said: “Of course this is genocide, because the results define themselves.”
When the French parliament passed a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks after World War I, Dink was angry, calling this against freedom of thought.

He said: “First here in Turkey, I will say that genocide happened. Then in France, I will say it did not happen. Whoever arrests me first…”

In his last article, in which he likened himself to a hesitating pigeon, he said though he was sure that no one would touch a pigeon in this country, he still mentioned the idea of leaving the country with his family. But he wrote:

“To stay and live in Turkey is our real desire and also a requirement of the respect to those who want a real democracy in Turkey, all the friends of us, whether we met or not.”
We, at the dinner that night, felt very much from among those friends.




Hrant Dink: the victim of nation-states /nationalism
Ihsan Dagi/ 22.01.2007 / Zaman
In my first article in Today’s Zaman I had warned against the concept of a homogenizing nation state that not only issues identity cards for its citizens but also tries to impose a singular ‘national identity’. Nation-states that desire a pure and homogenous nation have historically engaged in policies of cleansing the national boundaries of the ‘others’ to whom the state may have granted citizenship to but whose loyalty would always be questioned.
Things were no different in Turkey where the state has always displayed unwillingness to understand the richness of diverse ethnic and religious identities. Instead, their presence has been viewed as potential threat. Thus, the “others” have been excluded, intimidated and oppressed while the kin of the state have been mobilized against them as the 6-7 September, 1955 mob attacks against the Greek minority in Istanbul and Izmir remind us.

Hrant was a victim of a hysterical nationalism determined to cleanse the “national” space from the “others”. This murder occurred on the fertile ground of “rising” nationalism encouraged by various political, bureaucratic and civilian actors who oppose the EU, globalization, democratization and reform, and use people’s disappointment with the EU over Cyprus, Kurdish or Armenian issues as vehicle for a come-back.

After the murder of Dink we immediately started to speak of provocations. Let’s assume that Dink was murdered by some provocateurs plotting against Turkish democracy, stability and international standing as explained by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. But how did Dink, a patriotic Turkish citizen of Armenian origin, turn into a target for those provocateurs? Whoever is behind the attack and whatever their objectives are, the fact of the matter is that nationalist paranoia played a role in turning Dink into a target. It is not the hysteria of the mob in the streets alone but also of those who occupy higher echelons of power in Turkish establishments. Let’s remember last year when a group of academics organized a conference on the Armenian issue to discuss the matter with a non-conventional approach. The Minister of Justice Cicek accused them of stabbing the Turkish nation in the back. Just recently the Court of Appeals has approved the lower court’s verdict indicating Dink had insulted Turkishness, a crime punished by article 301 of the Turkish penal code.

The murder of Dink will be a turning point for rolling back the power, legitimacy and popularity of ultra nationalism in this country. A new wave of social determination to live with all ethnic, religious or cultural differences in unity will be demonstrated. I have a strong belief that this country has the tradition of living together despite its differences. This deep tradition has been torpedoed since the Union and Progress came to power in 1908, which gradually brought with it the idea of forming a national homeland populated by the Turks alone deporting the Greeks and Armenians out of Anatolia. It is time to go back to this old tradition transcending the premises of the old fashioned Turkish national state and embrace diversity, respect for difference and tolerance. It is time to rediscover the richness of diversity in this land and challenge coercive homogenizations of diversities. Surely this will require a greater democracy and un-installation of a state-centric political culture which prevails.

What can be done next? An arrest of the murderer is certainly welcome. But it is not enough. The Government should speed up the implementation of new political reforms sending a strong signal that such acts of violence would not prevent it from continuing reforms to further democratizing the regime. And the first thing to do is to remove article 301 from the penal code. Remove it now, otherwise any person who has been tried or will be tried of treason may become a target of such horrible acts.

Just three days ago I had written in this column: “it is better not to underestimate the power of anti-globalization forces in this country, and better not to fail in understanding their determination to go along with their cause at all costs”.




Hrant Dink - a victim of intolerance
SAHIN ALPAY s.alpay@zaman.com.tr / 22.01.2007
Hrant Dink was to me a very dear friend, a valued colleague, and one of the finest intellectuals of this country. He was a precious mind and a brave heart who spoke out his views. He had dedicated his life to an extremely important cause, namely the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. His loss gives me great pain. The only way I can honor his memory and friendship is to try to put forward the lessons to be drawn from his assassination.

The killing of Hrant is before all else a terrible blow to freedom of expression, democracy and civilized life in Turkey. Democracy is, in its essence, the regime where citizens can say what they think. And civilization is nothing other than an environment where different views, beliefs, cultures and ways of life coexist in peace. Societies can solve the problems that confront them only if citizens can put forward and freely debate solutions to those problems. Countries where freedom of expression does not exist or is severely restricted cannot move forward. Regimes that deny or restrict freedom to speak out are bound to collapse. It is those intellectuals who criticize and refute views and ideas that no longer correspond to the needs of their societies that open the way for progress. This is surely one of the major lessons of history.

Turkey will certainly fail to become a civilized society unless it is able to establish full respect for different views, cultures, beliefs and ways of life. Turkey may be said to have come a considerable way in achieving this, but the realities around the assassination of Hrant Dink indicate that there is still a long way to go. There is no doubt that Hrant was a victim of intolerance. For some time now, Hrant and many other prominent writers and intellectuals have been subjected to hate campaigns, unspeakable insults and slander just because they question the officially held or generally accepted views. State authorities have, unfortunately, in a way encouraged these abominable campaigns by keeping silent and doing nothing about them.

Paragraph 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which institutes a vaguely and broadly defined crime of “denigrating Turkishness,” is being used to prosecute journalists, human rights defenders and others who peacefully express their dissenting views. Such prosecution surely encourages the hate campaigns we are witnessing. The government has, unfortunately, not taken any initiative to take it off the books. Hrant Dink was one among many others prosecuted under 301. During his trial he was subjected by racist groups to insults and attacks, and scenes perhaps unheard of in the history of Turkish justice took place in the courtrooms. His words warning the racists among the Armenian diaspora not to incite hatred against the Turkish people were interpreted by the courts as “denigration of Turkishness” despite judicial expert opinion to the contrary. And Hrant was sentenced to imprisonment in a manner that damages feelings of justice and fairness.

The primary lesson to be drawn from Hrant Dink’s assassination is that those who govern the country and all of those who have any political responsibility in Turkey should no longer remain indifferent towards the hate campaigns conducted against those with dissenting views and must do their utmost to stop such. The second important lesson is that the government should immediately take initiative to write off 301 from the Penal Code.

The Turkish security authorities who failed to take measures to protect a prominent journalist who was subjected to a hate campaign and whose life was threatened have committed a grave mistake. Yet another major lesson to be drawn from Hrant Dink’s assassination is surely that such failure should not be repeated.

The killing of Dink is a terrible blow to Turkey’s reputation. It will not be easy to repair the damage done. If, however, all those involved in his assassination are seized and brought to justice, if 301 is immediately repealed, if both the Turkish state and society is resolved to stand against intolerance, racism and fanaticism of all sorts, if we as a nation can show the respect due Hrant’s memory, then it may be possible to relieve some of the pain and shame suffered.




Dink murder viewed from America
ALI H. ASLAN a.aslan@zaman.com.tr / 22.01.2007
Nearly all of the Americans I have talked to recently were saying they would be following the developments in Turkey with interest because 2007 would be a critical year for Turkey, thanks to both the presidential and parliamentary elections. The discrepancies over PKK and Iraq are an addition. No wonder the volume of observer traffic from Washington to Turkey has increased. Projections were unfortunately proven right. We began 2007 with an ominously horrific murder. The cowardly assassination of Hrant Dink, a journalist of Armenian descent, will deepen the concerns of the rational majority in Washington -- sensitive to democracy, stability, and freedoms -- while deep inside cheering the enemies of Turks and Islam.

Given the fueled polarization between the Islamic world and the West particularly in the aftermath of Sept. 11 and the Iraq war, what sort of path Turkey embarks upon is of high interest to many in Washington. We should not see ourselves through magnifying glass and buy into the fallacy that Americans are day and night concerned with us the Turks. On the other hand, we should know that Turkey's importance is increasing, not decreasing, in the view of those making long-term strategic plans. With this in mind, Dink's assassination will be carefully analyzed in Washington.

The Americans who know Turkey have a few fundamental fears. The first one of them is the risk of Turkey being steered toward non-Western foreign policy alternatives, other than the EU and US, as a result of bolstered ethnic and religious nationalism. The second is the possibility of the Turkish democracy, which has grown amidst countless troubles and come to be presented to the Islamic world as an example to follow, having a hard hit. The third is the potential reflection of political instabilities into the economy thereby compeling Turkey into demanding another 'lifebuoy.'

I don't think that tensions in Turkey serve American interests, because whatever the real cause, the blame for almost all tensions goes to America at the end of the day. The theory that U.S. is behind Dink's murder has already been put forward. This chronic conspiratorial psychology naturally complicates the US relations with Turkey. Sensible Americans are against high tension. Everyone I have so far spoken to, official or unofficial, considers Erdoğan's probable presidential candidacy as not the right thing to do, for fear that it would dramatically raise the tension. However, the same Americans definitely oppose extreme moves which would equally tarnish the democratic image of Turkey if Erdoğan does decide to run for presidency.

My sources tell me that this message will be conveyed to Turkish Chief of Staff Yaşar Büyükanıt in a best possible explicit but courteous fashion during his visit to Washington next month. It is certain that there is a small but influential group in Washington that endeavors to provoke the Turkish army into actions that could give the country's image a serious jolt. Those united around Vice President Dick Cheney and those neocon-minded settled in Pentagon here and there could well fall under this category. I believe that these factions who have waged an obvious war against Islam and practicing Muslims under the disguise of "struggling against radicalism and protecting secularism," will not be able to drag the Turkish Armed Forces into a swamp as they did during the February 28 process - or rather this is what I want to believe with all my heart.

There are internal and external enemies that try to portray Turkey as a country troubled by persisting political murders, military interventions and the mistreatment of minorities, thereby alienating Turkey in the international arena. Extensions of them -such as the radical segments of the Armenian lobby- are in the United States as well. Incidents like the assassination of Hrant Dink play into the hands of Turk-haters, who hide behind the genocide claims to advance their agenda. The alleged 'genocide' bill in the US Congress, which seems unstoppable this year, is actually a psychological operation aimed at irritating and demoralizing Turkey. We should not burn the quilt to get rid of a flea. Let's remember, those passing genocide bills here and there cannot get judicial grounds so easily; but if we exaggerate our reactions, Turkey could suffer from yet graver consequences.

Cooling off relations with America due to provocations like the Armenian resolution and Dink's assassination, at a time when Washington is supporting democracy and reforms at the cost of disturbing the pro-status quo minority like never before, would not serve the long-term interests of our nation.

In the mean time, if Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül adds a few leading figures from the Turkish-Armenian community in his delegation during his visit to Washington next month, it could help with rectifying our image which has been severely damaged by the Dink murder and countering the propaganda of the Armenian lobby in the Congress.

My condolences to Turkey; and May God help us all in 2007 and especially those defending Turkey's democracy and freedoms at home and abroad.




Calls for unity, Justice emerge from Dink’s tragic death
FATMA DISLI / Zaman / 22.01.2007
Last week, which was dominated by the discussions about northern Iraq and Turkey's possible military intervention in the region, ended with the shocking murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, shot dead at 52. Dink, who was a strong supporter of freedom of expression, had been pursued three times under article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for his statements "insulting Turkishness." While Dink may have termed the 1915 events "genocide," he always tried to convince the Armenian Diaspora not to view the people of Turkey with the spectacles of a past era, but rather to seek ways and means of sharing their history with Turks to ultimately achieve reconciliation. Dink's murder opened many debates in the Turkish media about the perpetrator(s) of this attack, their motives and the possible repercussions of this murder on Turkey's future.

Yeni Şafak's Fehmi Koru, pointing out the grief over Dink's murder was shared by the entire Turkish public and indicating slogans like "We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant," says that Turkey has always been a place for different people to come together in peace. "Many Turks do not have a problem with Armenians or somebody from another ethnicity. People from all religions and ethnicities can come together and discuss the problems of this country while preserving their ethnic identities," explains Koru. He admits that there is a conflict in Turkey, though he says the views that religion is at the base of this are mistaken. The empty search for conflict in the wrong places has a high price, Koru says, adding "We all lost Hrant Dink because of this."

Milliyet's Fikret Bila expresses appreciation for the attitude of the Turkish public in the aftermath of Dink's murder. He thinks that the Turkish public is demonstrating awareness as he explains: "(The Turkish public) has not been deluded by such provocations; it has not been carried away by them or fallen into conflict. This is the biggest gain and reassurance for us," remarks Bila. He insists that the priority is to find those behind Dink's murder and evaluate who benefits from such a barbarous act. With such political assassinations, he asserts, the perpetrators lie deep beneath the surface. The underlying reasons behind the assassination should be investigated carefully, he urges, since most of the excuses for past assassinations turned out to be wrong.

Radikal's Hasan Celal Güzel says although the grief of the Turkish nation is great, one can't ignore the obvious mistakes made by Turkey that might have resulted in Dink's murder. He cites the adoption of article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code as one of these, as well as Turkish Security's failure to provide security for Dink. Although Dink may not have asked for protection, the one agency trusted with fully understanding the danger of the situation, failed to act pro-actively in response to the death threats Dink received and had publicized.

Güzel suggests five possible groups as suspects behind this attack: Turkish nationalists, the 'deep state,' the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Kurdish groups, the Armenian Diaspora, and foreign intelligence services. Güzel does not think that Dink's murder was motivated by either Turkish nationalists or the "deep state," as neither wants to stain the Turkish identity, and argues that those who are quick to point the finger at such organizations should be investigated. He considers the remaining three options possible: rationalizing that the PKK, for example, might have wanted to divert Turkey's attention from the Kirkuk issue; the Armenian Diaspora was disturbed by Dink's views about reconciliation with Turks, and considers the fact that they organized bloody attacks in the past; or foreign intelligence services might have wanted to spoil the relatively stable environment in Turkey.




Who killed the Turkish editor Hrant Dink?
Baris Sanli
20 January 2007
The bitterness diffused to everyone. For days, it has been cold and dry in Ankara, yesterday the weather showed its mild face and rained a bit. The rain, as if the clouds have cried, has added to this bitterness.

Last night to this morning, whomever I talked, everyone expressed his/her condemnations. From the mail list, there was this sense of denial. The conspiracy machines were working at full speed. It is a belief that most of the Turks think that this is completely an act against Turkey and Turkey’s thesis. Even ultra-nationalists are thinking this way.

What is the best time to expect such a horrible act like killing an Armenian writer? I thought, in the 1980s, when ASALA terror(Armenian Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia) was at large, the attacks to the Armenian society was more likely. But that never happened. This time, a Turkish Armenian editor, who is human, modest and intellectual, has been shot dead.

I am personally very sorry, first of all another Turk has died. Secondly, an adversary of mine has died. The readers of my column, Turkish Chilli, will remember my sarcastic articles about Armenians. I am quite successful irritating every Armenian.

One thing everyone has to ask himself is what the murderers have aimed? A greater Turkey? To rotten Armenian allegations through the blood of an editor who supports dialog? Greater nationalist aims? Punishing?

At the end, from Military to hard core nationalists, everyone condemned the incident, and acted as if it was a bullet to the heart of Turkey. First of all a Turkish citizen has been killed, secondly a sui generis Turkish citizen has been killed who defended Turkey in France. In this sense he was more Turk than opposing ultra-nationalists.

The post-Ottoman Turkish identity in general is defined by Ataturk’s famous proverb: “How happy is the one who says I am a Turk”. He doesn’t say “How happy is the one who is a Turk”. So, anyone who identifies himself as a Turk, may not be an ethnic Turk. If someone says I am a Turk, then he/she is a Turk, according to Ataturk.

The nationalist idea does not make you a Turk, but how you define yourself, what you did for your country counts. With this logic and his efforts in France against Armenian aims and his love for this land, makes him a Turkish nationalist which the protesters against him can only dream of. We will remember his name, but not his protestors.

So who killed him? The popular rumours in Ankara are those: First suspect is a foreign intelligence service, who is against Turkey’s EU accession. This service has been accused of carrying out killings in Turkey like Necip Hablemitoglu’s murder and provoking inter-ethnic clashes. Also this intelligence organization’s name is related to Sivas incident.

Second is, this may be an incident stemming from disputes among Armenian groups. Mr. Dink’s ideas were not in parallel with other Armenian groups, especially with those living in Diaspora.

Ask yourself calmly as if he was alive. Who will benefit most from his death? Turkey? Armenian Diaspora? Anti-Turkish EU camp? Or idiot ultra-nationalist?

At the end, we will probably face Agca dilemma. The killer may be an ordinary guy, who has nationalist links but not complete connection, who doesn’t ask lots of question and claiming his motives as “to serve Turkish nation”. He will not be rich, probably he will have debts. He has probably been in different ideological circles but he will lack any leadership skills or charisma. He will also show signs of psychological disorders.

These are my ideas and may not be true. But if these are correct, he will probably be a perfect candidate for “Dark hands”

barissanli2@gmail.com


SUSPECTED ASSASSIN OF HRANT DINK CAPTURED-- Ogün Samast, a teenager in the slaying of journalist Hrant Dink, acting on a tip from the father of the boy and after his pictures were broadcast on Turkish television, got caught, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announces. “For Turkish democracy and freedoms, I thank the judiciary and police for their success in capturing the suspected assassin in such a short time,” Erdoğan says. The 1990 born Samast was caught on a bus in the Black Sea city of Samsun on his way to Trabzon, Erdoğan says. Dink was gunned down outside the downtown Istanbul office of his newspaper on Friday afternoon, some 32 hours before Samast was apprehended. Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler says Samast will be brought to Istanbul for questioning.



The assassin was turned in by his father, picked up at Samsun The suspect in the assassination of Agos daily editor Hrant Dink was caught in Samsun 32 hours after the shooting, when his father reported him to the police.

On Saturday evening, January 20, the lead suspect for Hrant Dink's assassination, Ogün Samast, was captured by gendarmarie with the murder weapon on him, while traveling from Istanbul to Hopa. Ahmet Samast, who works as a cleaner at the Pelitli municipality, went to the police after seeing his son's image on TV , and reported him. The police took Ogün under custody, as well as his close friend Yasin Hayal and six others. In 2004 Hayal was tried for setting a bomb at a McDonald's in Trabzon. As a part of a detailed investigation, police are checking 32 computers at the internet cafe the suspect used to visit.

In the first interrogation session, Samast confessed to the assassination. In hopes of furthering the investigation, police brought him back to Istanbul. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated security forces at a press conference at midnight.

Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler told the Istanbul press that the assassin was caught within 32 hours thanks to solid evidence, including CCTV footage from security cameras at the scene. Criminal investigation results show that the weapon suspect used was a hand-made 7.65-caliber gun.

Five flights to Istanbul in last two weeks
Ogün Samast who confessed to the murder of Hrant Dink during the first interrogation session in Samsun, turned out to have visited Istanbul five times during the past two weeks, according to flight records. The suspect, who traveled via a private flight company, left Trabzon's Pelitli town three days before the assassination took place. The 17-year-old suspect left school in 2nd grade and turned out to be unemployed.

Played soccer at Pelitlispor
The prime suspect in assassination, Ogün Samast, played for the amateur soccer club Pelitlispor. Samast, who was caught with the assassination handmade-weapon in Samsun, was the same age as O.A. who assassinated the priest Santaro at Trabzon in February 2006. Samast's father and mother live separately.

Suspect in Hrant Dink’s murder: I said my Friday Prayer and shot him

Ogün Samast, suspected of murdering Hrant Dink, Editor-in-chief of Agos newspaper, said in the statement to Samsun police following his arrest, “I shot him after I said my Friday Prayer”.

Hrant Dink’s murder suspect was arrested yesterday night in Samsun after his father recognised his son on camera footage and informed the police. Brought to Istanbul this morning, Samast was interrogated by police. Four other suspects were arrested in in Trabzon and brought before Istanbul police for questioning.

Samast admitted to murdering Dink in his first statement given in Samsun. This is what he reportedly said his statement: “I read the news on the internet. I saw that he said, ‘I’m from Turkey, but Turkish blood is dirty’. That is why I decided to kill him. I do not regret it.”




Chief Prosecutor: Seven people held under custody
A.A.
Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin said on Sunday that seven people, including the suspected gunman, were currently held under custody in relation with the murder of the Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

The suspect, a 17-year-old teenager identified as Ogun Samast, was taken by plane from the Black Sea city of Samsun to Istanbul early in the morning together with two other people who were believed to have been involved in the murder. Another four were brought by plane to Istanbul from Trabzon province.Engin also said that an authorized unit on organized crimes will conduct the investigation into Dink's killing.



The ‘dove skittishness’ of my soul
Hrant Dink's Latest/Current Article (19 Ocak 2007) AGOS Sayı: 564

In the beginning I was not concerned about the investigation initiated by Şişli Public Prosecutor under the pretext “insulting Turkish identity”.

This was not for the first time. I was familiar with a similar case from Urfa. I was being prosecuted since three years because of my statement at a conference in Urfa in 2002 where I said that “I was not Turk but an Armenian and a citizen of Turkey” and there was again the accusation of “insulting Turkish identity”. I was completely unaware of the trials, I was not interested at all. Some of my lawyer friends from Urfa were dealing with the case in my absence.

I was completely indifferent too when I gave my interrogation to Public Prosecutor in Şişli. In the end I was trusting to my article and my good will. If Public Prosecutor evaluated the whole of the series of my articles and not this single sentence which alone did not make any sense at all, then he would easily understand that I had not an intention of “insulting Turkish identity” and this comedy would end, I thought.

I was completely sure that after the interrogation I would be not be sued at all.

I was sure of myself

But to my surprise, the case came up in court.

Still I didn’t lose my optimism. So I even told to lawyer Kerinçsiz who accused me during a live Tv program that “he should not be so eager that I would not be punished due to this case and that in case of punishment I would leave the country.” I was sure of myself, I really did not have the will or intention to “insult the Turkish identity”. Everyone reading the whole of the series of my articles would understand this.

And indeed the committee of three academicians from Istanbul University who were appointed as experts submitted a report to the court revealing this understanding.

I had no reason to be concerned, in this or that stage of the case this mistake would be erased.

While remaining patient

But it wasn’t erased.

The Public Prosecutor wanted to penalize me despite the positive report of the expert committee.

Then the judge gave me six months imprisonment.

When I first heard the verdict I found myself under the bitter pressure of my hope that I kept during all the months of trial. I was stupefied... I was hurt and the feeling of rebellion reached its climax.

“Let’s wait the verdict, let them prove me not-guilty, then you will regret all that you talked and written about” I had told myself for months just to hold on.

During each hearing of the court there were statements published in the news and columns of the newspapers and broadcast in the TV-programs claiming that I said “Turkish blood is poisonous.”

Each time I got more popular as an “enemy of the Turk”.

At the corridors of the Law Courts fascists were attacking me with racist curses.

They were humiliating me with pancards. Hunderds of threats via e-mail, phone calls an letters were pouring down and they were incresing day by day in number.

I was bearing all this and remainig patient with the expectation of verdict of not-guilty.

When the verdict was declared, the reality would be understood and all these people would be ashamed.

My only weapon is my sincerity

But now the verdict was there and all my hopes were lost.

From that time on, I was in the most embarrassing situation a man can experience.

The judge gave the decision in the name of “Turkish people” and legally registered that I had “insulted Turkish identity”.

I could bear everything but not this.

In my view, to humiliate people who we live together on the basis of an ethnic or religious difference is called racism and this is something unforgivable.

Just under the influence of such a psychology, I told to the members of the press who were waiting for me at the door to check “whether I would leave the country or not” the following statement:

“I will consult my lawyers. I will go to the Court of Appeal for cassation and if necessary I will also apply to European Court of Human Rights. If I am not acquitted at any stage, then I will leave my country. Because in my understanding a person sentenced to punishment with such an accusation does not have the right to live with other citizens whom he has humiliated.”

As I said this all, I was emotional as always. My only weapon was my sinceretiy.

A bad joke

But the deep force determinant as it was to alienate me and to turn me to an open target found again a pretext to my statement and this time sued me stating that I was trying to effect the jurisdiction. This explanation was published and broadcast in all means of media but only the one in Agos drew their attention. This time responsibles of Agos and I began to be sued under the pretext of effecting the jurisdiction.

It should be a bad joke.

I am a defendant. Who else should have more right to effect the jurisdiction rather than a defendant?

But look at the comedy, that this time the defendant is once again sued as to effect the juridiction.

‘In the name of Turkish State’

I have to admit that my confidence to the “justice system” and to the concept of “law” was shaken to a large extent.

It meant that the jurisiction was not independent as many state officers and politicians dared to say.

Jurisdiction did not defend the rights of the citizen but the State.

In fact I was totally sure that even if it was said that the decision was taken in the name of the people, it was actually taken in the name of the State. My lawyers would apply to Court of Appeal but who could guarantee that deep forces would not be effective there again as determinant as they were to make me down? And were all the decisions of the Court of Appeal right indeed?

Was it not the same Court of Appeal having signed the unjust decisions confiscating the real estates of the Minority Foundations?

Despite the efforts of the Attorney General

We applied indeed but did it make sense at all?

The Attorney General of Court of Appeal, like the experts stated that there was no element of guilt and demanded my acquittal but the Court of Appeal found me guilty again.

To the extent I was sure of my article so was The Attorney General of Court of Appeal of his decision that he objected the verdict and brought the case to the General Council.

But the great force which was just there to make me down and which let its existence be felt at all stages of the case with methods unknown to me, was again behind the curtain. As a result at the General Council again by majority of votes, it was declared that I insulted Turkish identity.

Like a dove

It is obvious that those wishing to alienate me and make me weak and defenceless reached their goal. Right now they have brought about a significant circle of people who are not low in number and who regard me as someone “insulting Turkish identity” due to the dirty and wrong information.

The diary and memory of my computer is full of messages from citizens of this circle full of rage and threats.

(Let me note that I regarded one among them posted from Bursa as a close threat and submitted it to Public Prosecutor’s office in Şişli but got no result.)

To what extent are these threats real and to what extent unreal? In fact it is impossible for me to know this.

What is the real threat and what is unbearable for me is the psychological torture of myself.

What I have always in my mind is the following question: “What do these people now think of me?”

Unfortunately I am more popular nowadays and feel the look of the people telling each other: “Look, isn’t it that Armenian?”

And just as a reflexaction, I start to torture myself.

One side of this torture is curiousity, the other uneasiness.

One side is caution the other side is skittishness.

I am like a dove...

Like a dove I have my eyes everywhere, in front of me, at the back, on the left, on the right.

My head is as moving as the one of a dove... And fast enough to turn in an instance.


Just look at the price... This is the price


What did Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gül say? What did Minister of Justice Cemil Çiçek say?

“The issue of Article 301 should not be exagerrated. Is there someone found guilty and sent to prison?”

As if paying a price always means going to prison...

Just look at the price... This is the price...Do you know Ministers what a price it is to imprison someone to the skittishness of a dove?.. Do you know it?..

Don’t you look at the doves at all?...

The thing they call “life and death”

What I all experienced was not an easy process... Neither for me nor for my family.

There were times when I seriously thought about leaving the country.

Especially at moments when the threats focused the ones close to me...

At that point I always remained helpless.

What they call “life and death” should be such a thing actually. I could be the warrior of my own will but I had no right of exposing the life of near relations to danger. I could be my own hero but I had no right to reveal courage at the expense of another person let alone a kin.

Just at these helpless moments I found shelter around my family and children. I found the greatest support from them. They were trusting me.

There would be together with me wherever I went.

They would come when I said “Let’s go” and stay when I said “Let’s stay.”

To stay and resist

But if we go, where then?

To Armenia?

But to what extent could a person like me tolarete the injustice as intolerant as I am at this issue? Wouldn’t I find myself in greater troubles there?

To go and live in European countries wasn’t my style either.

I know myself. After three days abroad, I miss my country. What should I do there?

Ease makes me uneasy!

To leave “boiling hells” and go to “ready heavens” was against my understanding.

We were sort of people desiring to turn hell to heaven.

To stay and live in Turkey was our real wish and and also a must of respect towards all of our known and unknown friends giving the struggle of democracy in Turkey and supporting us.

We would stay and resist.

However if someday we had to go, then we would go like in 1915... like our ancestors... Without knowing where to go.... Walking on the roads they had walked.... Feeling their pain and agony...

With such a reproach we would leave our country. And we would not go to the place of our heart but where our feet went. To whatever place it was.

Frightened and Free

I hope that we are never obliged toexperience such an abandonment. We have enough hope and reasons not to live such a thing.

Now I am applying to European Court of Human Rights.

I don’t know how many years this case will take.

What I know and what relieves me to some extent is the fact that at least I will continue to live in Turkey until this case comes to an end.

When a positive verdict is declared I will surely be happier and then this will mean that I will never have to leave my country.

Probably the year 2007 will be a more difficult year for me.
Trials will continue, new cases will came up in court. Who knows which kind of injustice I will encounter.

But while this all will happen, I will regard the following fact as my guarantee.

Yes, I can feel myself as restless as a dove but I know that in this country people do not touch and disturb the doves.

The doves continue their lives in the middle of the cities.

Yes indeed a bit frightened but at the same time free.

What Did Turkish Columnists Write About Hrant Dink's Murder?

http://www.agos.com.tr/

Turks and Armenians have lived as neighbors and friends for a thousand years in Anatolia. They were neighbors, they were the kids from the same streets of the same districts and cities. They went to school together. They fought in the same army to defend the same country. They intermarried, cooked and ate together, raised their kids, did business, danced, worked, laughed and cried side by side and enjoyed a rich multi-layered common history for those one thousand years.

May they continue to live together for thousands of more years in peace and brotherhood.

I dedicate the following press compilations to the memory of Hrant Dink. May he rest in peace and may God who created us all shower his mercy on his soul.

Ugur Akinci

“They have killed us. Who could be Hrant Dink's murderer? Which dishonorable SOB did this? Someone who hated the Armenians? Not a chance. We can say with certainty that the killer is an enemy of the Turks. He is a traitor commissioned to draw the world's condemnation and hatred to us. Pay attention, I'm giving the killer's description: dark conscience – dead brain – rusted out spirit. Now, let's turn our attention to the other side... If there exists a world public opinion who would ascribe the responsibility of this despicable act to whole Turkey, then that's a proof of total sheer ignorance as well. And if there appears even a single Armenian around the world who would use this murder as a reference for Armenian Genocide, then that would be a great shame and disappointment as well. The Republic of Armenia and the Armenians around the world including those living in the European Union and the United States should know one thing well – yes, they have shot Hrant Dink and but they have also killed us collectively. This is a real genocide, in post-modern style... Well, where is that dishonorable killer then? That's easy... If he is caught, he stays at most two years in jail and then go free taking advantage of a legal loophole. Worst comes to worst, he might take advantage of an amnesty, of course. [The writer is being sarcastic here – UA]”
-- Rauf Tamer, Posta

“Ahparik, ahparik! They have shot AHPARIK! Oh Hrant ahparik, allow me to chant a requiem for you. Allow me to chant in great sorrow and with great anger ! But Hrant ahparik, this is their last shot. This is an end. The last spasm of a dying vulture feeding on carcass. Because Hrant ahparik, you have put your life on the line for the Turkish-Armenian brotherhood. You have lived with the determination to eliminate all seeds of hatred. Now you must know this for sure: starting with the minute, second and the very millisecond you were shot, that brotherhood is fortified. And that hatred has been wiped away more than ever. And it is our duty, the writing on our foreheads; we will prove that to you at your funeral, as a whole nation, as a testimony to our humanity. Oh Hrant ahparik oh, now let me chant you a song with an infinite joy, delivering the endless good news!”
-- Hadi Uluengin, Hurriyet

“The whole Turkish state could not succeed to protect a valuable and humanist man from the bullets of a depraved character. Turkey is being run by a government that cannot think of assigning protection to a journalist who wrote in his paper that he was serious threats on his life. Now they will all go out and deliver all kinds of speeches about how his blood will not remain on the ground, how the perpetrators will be caught. etc. Their faces will not betray the shame of their inability to prevent a murder that announced in advance “here I come.” We have to raise our voices against this despicable murder. We should show up in mass at Hrant's funeral and prove that we are determined not to leave Turkey to murderers. The Hrant that I knew was a man like an angel. I have never heard him talking about hurting anyone. May he rest in peace. May God shower his mercy on Hrant. We will never forget him.”
-- Mehmet Y. Yilmaz, Hurriyet

“Those who think that this murder has created a situation only to benefit the Armenian Diaspora and the nationalist Armenian organizations are making a big mistake. Because this situation serves those who want to severe Turkey's ties with the West and prevent Turkey's accession to the European Union as well. Those who do not want Turkey to become a democratic nation have murdered Abdi Ipekci in 1979, Ugur Mumcu in 1993, and Hrant Dink in 2007. And they did it in the name oif nationalism and patriotism. Hrant Dink was a patriot who called himself a “Turkish Armenian” and cannot be understood by the mentality of those [who killed him]. NOTE: They have asked [the main opposition CHP leader] Deniz Baykal “are you going to take part in Hrant Dink's funeral ceremony?” “Well, I don't know my program yet... I'll look into it...” was his reply. He of course said that by inserting a couple of “uhhh”s in between every two words. Deniz Baykal apparently has more important things on his agenda than this murder and the task of making sure that those committed it will not be able to reach their goals. This reply in itself proves that Deniz Baykal is long finished in Turkish politics.”
-- Okay Gonensin, Vatan

“Our true brother is killed. He was a man of this land. He was this country's color. He was a native; one of us. He was a Turkish Armenian with a pointed tongue. When you are a journalist, you cannot help but have a “pointed tongue” anyways... Underneath his harsh words there was a very gentle, loving and embracing approach; a very sensitive and unifying embrace. His sensitiveness cleaned up things. His enmity diminished [obstacles]. We were hearing that the Armenians in Paris, Los Angeles and New York did not like him because he was saying that Turks and Armenians were brothers in the past and now it was time to get rid of the bad blood in between and to become brothers again. Because he was a patriot, a true lover of Turkey! He was possessed with Anatolia... He refused to leave Turkey. He refused to be used. Her managed to stay clean. His inside and outside were one and the same. He was our real true brother. The man who had been murdered is a real brother of ours.”
-- Necati Dogru, Vatan

“Just ten days ago the guy writes in black and white: “The number of those who regard me as someone insulting Turkishness has increased. I became a top target.” But we still thought he did not need any protection... The man was shouting: “I am like a pigeon. My head is as mobile as that of a pigeon. It is just as alert to turn around quickly. I am both careful and apprehensive. I am all alone...” We thought he did not need any protection... The man was the spokesman for the Armenians in Turkey. The whole world has its eyes fixed on this guy. Ten days ago, he was almost in tears: “Did you ever watch a pigeon?” he wrote. “Life and death... it is not easy what I'm going through... and what my family is going through... There were even moments in the past when I seriously thought about migrating to another country and living abroad – especially when the threats started to target my loved ones...” What else the man needed to say? No problem... We still did not think he needed any protection...”
-- Reha Muhtar, Vatan

“What a shame! “Hrant did not ask for protection” they claim. Do people whose safety have become such a crucial factor for our national security have to personally demand protection? Did not the four terror periods that Turkey went through within the last half a century thought us that the peace of our people cannot be left to the mercy of the enemies of the public? It is a such a disgrace that those who would like to turn Turkey upside down can find contract killers and realize their goals so easily. We are sick and tired of the “dark bloody hands” rhetoric. The top condition that will save our country from becoming the hunting grounds of all kinds of hatreds and betrayal is to find and arrest all the criminals from those who planned this murder tot hose who actually carried it out. In the past, the words of honor given by our politicians to that effect were not kept. This time all that is necessary should be done. Let our sorrow be our worst loss but let's not also get crushed under this shame.”
-- Gungor Mengi, Vatan

“Hrant Dink was murdered as a result of the Article 301 [of the Turkish Penal Code which makes it a crime to “insult Turkey and the Turks”]... The moment I've heard that Hrant Dink became the victim of a horrible murder I was quite shaken and felt the onrush of a lot of thoughts... The pain of having lost Hrant Hink has become tangled up with the concerns I had about Turkey's future... It was known that the year 2007 would be a turbulent year. We knew that Turkey's immunity to terror was weakened and the country was open to provocations. We were all bringing up these concerns in our conservations among friends. Unfortunately our pessimistic projections came out to be true. With Hrant Dink's murder Turkey has entered a new and dangerous era. These were the very first thoughts... Then secondly, “who benefits from this?” I asked to myself. To this question I gave the answer “the Armenian Diaspora”... Then I started to think about Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and the futile efforts I've spent to have it changed. Hrant Dink was killed because he was tried for violating that Article 301 and was presented as a target in public as “the Armenian who insulted the Turks and Turkey.” Thus, Article 301 which was legislated and defended to “protect Turkishness” has now added a murder that will reverberate around the world to all the other damages it has inflicted on us in the past...”
-- Zulfu Livaneli, Vatan

“I have lost a friend... This was not just an attack on Hrant, it was at the same time an attack on Turkey and the prospects of peace between Turkey and Armenia. Whatever the motive behind the attack was and whoever the killer is, Turkey and Armenia have both lost a very important son today, who was trying to contribute to building the bridges of peace and understanding between his homeland Turkey and Armenia, the country that he has an ethnic affiliation with.”
-- Yusuf Kanli, Turkish Daily News

“Tears of anguish flowed amid shock and speculation as to the meaning behind what was assumed to be a political murder. All agreed it is a murder sure to rock efforts by many to reconcile Turks and Armenians who – as Dink often pointed out – have lived together for more than a millennia.“When I first met him, I was only 13, yet he made me a part-time reporter for Agos,” said TDN reporter Vercihan Ziflioglu, herself like Dink a Turk of Armenian ancestry. “He had a Turkish identity and an Armenian identity and the mission of his newspaper was to demonstrate that this was possible. And he often found it as difficult to find support among the Armenian community and he did among some elements of the Turkish community.” Like Ziflioglu, tens of reporters and editors at the TDN and her sister newspaper Referans burst into tears when the first television bulletin swept through the common newsroom with the emotional force of a son's death notice delivered to a family's door... Equally devasated by the news was Jale Özgentürk, news coordinator for Referans and a long-time family friend of Dink. She said the last time they met was at the funeral last year of Duygu Asena, a journalist whose long crusade on behalf of women's rights in Turkey was ended last year by cancer.“Hrant loved Turkey more than any Turk I ever met, he was an Anatolian who knew and loved all of the many peoples and cultures of this land,” she said.“ "He was the real nationalist. His death will serve all the enemies of Turkey: those on both sides of the issue of genocide allegations, those who wish to destroy the economy, those who want to end the process of democratization. Those who hate Turkey could not have picked a better man to kill.””
-- David Judson, Turkish Daily News

“Hrant Dink was writing in detail about the threats he was receiving. I wish those threats were taken seriously and he was protected. Now, nobody should try to resolve the issue by summarily deciding that “this is the work of a few crazed Turkish nationalists.” One has to be insane to be both a nationalist and to commit such a murder that obviously harmed Turkey tremendously. How can one be a nationalist and deal such a blow to one's nation? We can also almost hear the allegations that “the Turkish state had engineered this.” Those who commit a murder that would hurt their own state, and those who stage this murder, can only be “Enemy of the State Number One.” Let's put that aside as well. If we get into brain gymnastics as to who might have done it... Pro-Armenian pro-violence groups come to mind, on the one hand... pro-PKK terrorists on the other... I'm not talking about those who actually pulled the trigger, but the “real murderers” who planned all this cannot be from within Turkey...”
-- Sakir Suter, Aksam

“Within the conjecture that we are living, one cannot imagine a development that would damage Turkey more than Hrant Dink's murder. I have no idea who planned this horrible murder and who pulled the trigger but those who did this hate Turkey seriously. I shiver with dear when I think about the anti-Turkish news and editorials that would be published in the world media and the ways through which the Armenian genocide allegations would be channeled. I also feel that an old scenario the likes of which we have seen many times in the past has been again ushered onto the stage. That's a separate source of fear for me. Someone does not want us to live in peace. They will not leave us alone. That much is for sure. The cool-headed balance in the issue that Turkey has tried to establish and maintain for years now has been collapsed instantly with this murder in front of the offices of the weekly Agos. That's why the editorials that show Turkey and the Turks responsible from this assassination is both wrong and unjust. Because no party is hurt as much Turkey by this murder. Our duty now is to have a funeral ceremony fro Hrant Dink as massive as the one we had for Ugur Mumcu and to broadcast the necessary message to the world.”
-- Serdar Turgut, Aksam

“I have never called anyone a “traitor” in my whole life. I have not even called Ali Kemal a “traitor.” I am using this word for the first time for [Dink's] murderer. Yes, who ever did this, is a true traitor [to Turkey]. He is an enemy of Turkey, the Turkish Republic and all her citizens... Trust me, this murder will make two groups of people very happy – the racist Turks and the racist Armenians. All others should go into a deep mourning starting today.”
-- Ertugrul Ozkok, Hurriyet

“That bullet was squeezed at Turkey... Dink was a civilized, brave, and an honest journalist who did not mince his words and wrote as he believed. He defended that the events of 1915 was a “genocide.” But he was also the first to object when the French national parliament passed a law last year to penalize all those who say there was no Armenian genocide by up to 5.5 years in jail and 49,000 Euros. Because Dink argued that the French law has violated the freedom of expression.”
-- Oktay Eksi, Hurriyet

“Hrant Dink from the very beginning waged a struggle to bring the Turkish and Armenian communities together. He was as Turkish as he was an Armenian, and an Armenian as much as he was a Turk. He loved both his country and his [ethnic] roots. He never went to the extremes and always looked for compromises. To kill Hrant Dink means to be Turkey's enemy... The hands that hit him have no idea that they have actually hit Turkey.”
-- Mehmet Ali Birand, Posta

“In Hrant Dink's last column, there is a passage that reads: “Even the pigeons continue to live freely amidst the city crowds. They are apprehensive, but also just as free...” Those lines burned me up. A journalist-writer who carried such emotions and who wanted freedom even for the intimidated pigeons of the crowded city centers is shot yesterday. The question “Who is the murderer?” is not that important [anymore]. We have brought this country to this point. Our “noble emotions” has become our black face. We are constantly committing crimes. Yesterday, again something bad happened. They shot the pigeon.”
-- Bekir Coskun, Hurriyet

“The bullets squeezed at Hrant Dink were also squeezed at Turkey. This attack was timed in such a manner that all of Turkey's justified arguments against the Armenian allegations have all of a sudden rendered null and void. It destroyed Turkey's stamina to fight the genocide fabrications. I believe this murder made the job of the Armenian Diaspora much easier to cast Turkey as a genocide perpetrator. There is no doubt that now the Armenian genocide resolution will be accepted by the U.S. Congress without any discussions. Not only that, but it might also be legislated as such in one Western parliament after another. All the effort and struggle Turkey put up until this point has just disappeared. To accomplish that, there was no target more important than Hrant. That's why they assassinated him.”
-- Tufan Turenc, Hurriyet

“It is hard to find the words to characterize this murder. From a humanitarian point of view, it is a barbarous, criminal and savage attack. From a political angle, it's the expression of a lumpen and racist hatred. It is obvious that Hrant Dink has been murdered due to his views regarding the Armenian issue. Hrank Dink was thinking differently than the majority of the Turks on the Armenian issue. He of course had a right to think differently. But he was thinking different from the fanatical Armenian Diaspora and getting into arguments with the Armenian fanatics in the Republic of Armenia as well. When the French voted the law to penalize “denial of the Armenian genocide,” it was again Dink who said “I will go to France and give a speech to violate that law.” However, even if Hrant Dink thought and talked like a fanatical Armenian it still would not have changed the vile nature of this murder. The bullets squeezed at Dink were squeezed also at Turkey. It does not matter at all who the murderers are – who cares! They shot Turkey!”
-- Taha Akyol, Milliyet

“Hrant Dink was a journalist who defended his views with courage. Sometimes some of his words came across as being too pointed. And some of his other words were unfortunately exploited for different purposes. However, the fact remains that he always sought out peace. He was a democrat who believed in the magic of discussing things. In his person, peace in Turkey is shot. Actually, whole Turkey took a bullet.”
-- Melih Asik, Milliyet

“Hrant's killer is poisonous blood seeping into our veins. Hrant Dink was a friend whom I loved very much. He was a true human being. He was one the sweetest guys you could ever meet. When he hugged you with love you could feel his heartbeat. When he placed his head on your shoulder you would feel happy to have known such a guy. You would become happy thinking “what beautiful people are living in my beautiful country.” It is unfortunate but Hrant proved with his own life the validity of his reference to the “poisonous blood that is circulating in Turkish veins.” He showed us that we'll not be able to go anywhere until we as a nation get rid of this poison that has mixed into our clean blood. It's time to get this straight. Let's understand it so that the true human being Hrant Dink's death would not be in vain. And in the meanwhile, let's condemn in advance all those who would be generating excuses that start with “but”s and “however”s for this despicable murder that has put us to shame as a nation. Let's not clutch at complicity theories by claiming that “a Turk could not have done this.” After all the suffering Hrant was subjected to at the entrance and exists of the court houses, let's not make ourselves look ridiculous. There could be no excuse for this murder that has nothing to do whatsoever with humanity... Hrant Dink, whose real name was “Firat,” was a brave son of Anatolia. He was a brother of us whose heart brimmed with love for humanity. My dear brother, may you rest in peace. We will miss you very much. Our country is now poorer without you. We will always feel your absence. And we will be ashamed every time we think of what has been done to you.”
-- Semih Idiz, Milliyet

“Sidesutyun Paregamis! (Elveda Dostum! Goodbye My Friend!) He was a man like a man. He was a man like a mountain, a river, a child. He spoke just as he thought. He was a patriot and a brave-heart, and a guy as beautiful as you'll ever see. Once we were walking along a border. He put his hand over my shoulder and told me a story. An old Armenian woman who migrated from Sivas to France, returned to Sivas when she was told “they will put a highway across your land, come back.” The woman went back to Sivas, to the same lands that she once left behind... And then the 80 year old lady died in Sivas. They immediately called her daughter back in France to come and take delivery of the coffin. Her daughter said “don't wait for me, bury her in her land.” Then she added: “the water has found the crack in soil.” When he was telling me this, Hrant teared up. “You know those who say 'you have your eyes on Turkey'?” Hrant continued. “Yes,” he added, “we do have our eyes on the soil of this country but not to scoop it up and take it away – but to be buried in it.” Now we are laying Hrant down to the bloody bosom of this land that he had his eyes on, that he loved onto death, and for which he was murdered because he refused a life away from it.”
-- Can Dundar, Milliyet

“Those who murdered Hrant have also assassinated Turkey. Every time Turkey starts to enjoy a climate of peace and democracy, “dark hands” squeeze the trigger, and journalists, politicians, intellectuals are murdered. They killed Hrant because he was also a defender of freedom, and a journalist in love with Turkey. During the days when he was tried for “insulting Turkey,” he said “if I am sentenced in this case I cannot leave in Turkey anymore. I will then leave my country. But I would then die on the way to foreign lands.” He used to love his country that much.”
-- Derya Sazak, Milliyet

“About a year ago a priest was killed in Tranzon. Then there was a raid on the Higher Court of Appeals and the judges were sprayed with bullets. Hrant Dink's assassination looks like a continuation of the previous attacks. The flames hurt the most where they land [an old Turkish proverb]. Hrant Dink's death burned us all, starting with those closest to him. I did not talk to Hrant frequently but he was a friend of mine whose presence I considered a treasure for myself and for my country. That's why I am very saddened.”
-- Fehmi Koru, Yeni Safak

“I am struck in the heart of my hearts. I have lost a friend of mine, Hrant Dink. They murdered him. I feel so weak I can' even write anything. I am stuck in between my grief and anger. Damn be those who killed him and those who rejoice his murder!”
-- Ali Bayramoglu, Yeni Safak

“They shot Hrant Dink and I'm burning inside... My friend from the Eastern Conference, my co-traveller on the roads of the Middle East, Hrant Dink, is assassinated. I'm at a loss for words. There's a fire inside me. He was an Armenian. He was a son of this land and loyal to this country. He of course remembered 1915 with great sorrow but he never surrendered to that sorrow. He could never bring himself to allow the nightmare of 1915 to take both Turks and Armenians hostage. He did everything he could to transcend that nightmare and to bring some comfort to this land. Whatever he said and whatever he wrote, he did it for the salvation of this country. He never got tired of shouting at the top of his lungs that the Armenians cannot do without the Turks and that hatred of Turks harmed both the Turkish Armenians and the Republic of Armenia. He also warned the Kurds about not even thinking about separating from Turkey. Despite that, they have targeted him as a “hater of Turkey.” Go figure...”
-- Hakan Albayrak, Yeni Safak

“Hrant Dink did not die. It us who died. Think about a murder which would harm a country on every platform, in every field both inside and abroad. Consider a situation in which all the values are abolished with a single assassination, values like democracy, freedom of expression, Turkey's efforts to hold her head high in the International arena, the idea of peaceful co-existence... all that... Think about a murder to put an end to all that. That's what Hrant Dink's murder is all about.”
-- Mustafa Karaalioglu, Yeni Safak

“Turkey has lost a valuable member who loved this country. Because Hrant Dink was an intellectual who defended Turkey to the bitter end. He carried the identity of the Armenian community but he also transcended that. What's even more important, he was a symbol of our co-existence culture.”
-- Mehmet Ocaktan, Yeni Safak

“I am writing these lines with the pain of having lost a brave intellectual, a colleague who really knew his craft, and a man who loved his country and his people dearly. I am grief stricken for having lost a brother whose heart was as big as the universe... He was an emotional man, He used to talk straight from the heart. His most important dream was to return the peoples of Turkey and Armenia back to their old days of brotherhood and to make peace with history. With great patience, he kept telling Turks about the world of the Armenians, and to Armenians the world of the Turks. He was a straight arrow. He wanted to talk freely. This is why he both got into trouble in Turkey and he also challenged the prohibitionist France. The “hatred mafia” on both sides did not like him at all. Turkey has lost a very valuable son. This will become more apparent as days go by. Our dear brother, may you rest in peace!”
-- Yavuz Baydar, Sabah

“When I heard that Hrant was murdered, I kept crying through the day. I'm not sure whether I was crying just for him, or for my country. One thing I know – this shame should be enough for us. And for a very long time to come...”
-- Fatih Altayli, Sabah

“[Column Header: “We Have Killed Hrant Dink”] My wife was crying on the phone and asking: “Why did they kill him”? With a frog in my throat, I swallowed hard and said: “What else? Because he was an Armenian.” I thought I was hit on the head by a lightning when I heard the news. A part of me died with Hrant. All of us lost a part of us with Hrant's death. Hrant had a heart of gold. Please do not think that I am exaggerating. He really had a golden heart. But for those bloody murderers which we never seem to lack, he had a very big fault: he was an Armenian... They have killed Hrant first of all because he was an Armenian and then because he dared to think, talk and write different than what the prevailing wisdom dictated. Beyond and above all, this is a racist murder... I have lost a friend and Turkey has lost a golden-hearted citizen. And all of us have again lost something more from our humanity. May his place be Heaven.”
-- Ismet Berkan, Radikal

“I've met Hrant Dink at a journalists' luncheon last summer. He was a very sympathetic man. His conversation was also very good. The thing that grieved him the most was to be accused for “insulting the Turks and Turkey” according to the Article 301 of the Turkish Constitution. “How can I accuse the people of my own country?” he was asking. “How can I insult the people without I have lived together, I have shared my life, and the people of this country where my children and my grandchildren live?” We then talked about Turkish media and journalism as well. You could tell he really loved his job. All the effort he had invested in his publication (weekly Agos) for all these years was a living testimony to that. His murder is as great a loss for the Turkish media as it is for his family and loved ones.”
-- Altan Oymen, Radikal

“When Hrant Dink last year said that he might leave Turkey [if convicted for “insulting Turks and Turkey”] I picked up the phone and called him. He was really depressed by all those court cases. He was being threatened both by the fanatical Turkish nationalists and those in the Armenian Diaspora who thought that Hrant was co-opted by the Turkish state. “Where are you going?” I asked him. “This country belongs to all of us. This is your country as well.” When I learned yesterday that he is assassinated by three bullets, I regretted that conversation and with great sorrow I thought perhaps he should have left Turkey. May he rest in Heaven.”
-- Murat Yetkin, Radikal

“I cannot stand the fact that we have sacrificed you. I cannot stand. My elder brother, what a nice guy you were. You were a handsome man. You were such a very nice guy. I cannot stand to see you lying there, your body covered with a sheet of paper... You were more Turkish than I am. You were a true son of Anatolia. You were a guy with a big heart who loved this land, this people... You could have easily lived abroad if you wanted to. Then you could have fired your shots from abroad. But you were never a scared mouse. You were never an opportunist. You were not a merchant, a celebrity, or an “ice skater”... It's hard to admit this but, you were a little too much for us. May their hands and arms be broken [who did this]. My wrath at [not only those] who murdered you but also those who arranged to have you slain will never end. We love you.”
-- Perihan Magden, Radikal

“Hrant Dink was a friend of mine. He was a guy with a very warm heart and a character as strong as a lion. His conscience was free and his thinking was free as well. He was a first-class intellectual who never hesitated to say what he believed in. He was as Turkish as he was Armenian. He risked his life to reinstate the Turkish-Armenian friendship and he gave his life for that cause. I am ashamed on behalf of Turkey, all Turks and humanity and I feel great pain. Those who murdered Hrant have dealt a very heavy blow at Turkey, the Turks and our humanity. Those who murdered Hrant have humiliated and insulted Turkey and all things Turkish in a serious manner. Nobody could have a delivered an insult worse than this to Turkey and the Turks. Nobody could have delivered a blow heavier than this to the Turkish democracy and Turkey's respectability abroad. Unfortunately, the cost of this murder committed by Turkey's real enemies will be very heavy. Hrant Dink has died physically. But he will live forever with the contributions he has made to the Turkish cause for freedom and democracy.”
-- Sahin Alpay, Zaman

“Armenian Diaspora was accusing him with being close to the Turkish theses. Our guys, on the other hand, were treating him as the “representative of the Armenian theses.” He was not pleasing the nationalists on both sides. What's worse, he was being targeted. He was telling that he was being threatened. I understand he was threatened with “either you or your son”... When I heard that he was assassinated it felt as though my blood has left my body. Is it how this is supposed to be? What is this? And is it how it's going to be from now on? Is that what this means?... if you are defending the democratization of this country and believe that we should solve our problems by discussing them, from now on you might be a target as well.”
-- Ahmet Kekec, Star


“Hrant Dink's murder is an operation carried out totally by foreign actors. This is pointing at not the assessment of the past but the future policies. They will [first] have Turkey recognized as a perpetrator of genocide. And if Turkey launches an operation in Northern Iraq and Southeast Anatolia, it will be again be labeled as a genocide. This is aiming to limit our future operations. Hrant Dink's murder confirms that.”
-- Mahir Kaynak, Star

http://tork.blogspot.com




Hrant Dink - Bringing Armenians and Turks Together?
Katy | in Armenia | January 20th, 2007

After the amazing show of solidarity across Turkey (see previous post), some activity on Facebook (a social networking site for university students) is really pleasing to me. On the Hrant Dink Memorial group, Armenians and Turks are joining together to discuss the issue. Here are some quotes:

From an Armenian based in the US:
“Might I add…I would like to thank all Turks who are here and who were in the streets. NEVER in my life have I seen nor heard about solidarity between Armenians and Turks and it is sincerely touching.”

From a Turk based in Turkey:
“Dear all, I was at the gathering in front of the Agos Newspaper office this evening, it was truly and profoundly sad by all means, to hear people chanting for democracy and human rights, to see mourners carrying pictures of Hrant. It is absurd to the point that it leaves me speechless, but I still feel like it is my obligation to kindly ask all of you, both Turkish and Armenian, to demonstrate your support to build mutual understanding and respect, as anger and prejudice would only give way to further violence. Please do remember that the number of people who don’t buy political lies and believe in peaceful coexistence is much higher than you think, regardless of their nationality.

I hope one day we all realize that borders on the maps are just imagined.”

An Armenian based in the US:
“Many carried red carnations and photographs of Dink with the inscription ‘My dear brother’ in Turkish, Armenian and English.”

From a Turk in Turkey:
“I think this is a great idea! I hope it gets further than facebook. I just want to say that I think basically turkish state and the government put Dink on the focus for a crime he did not commit. in this sense, both are responsible for his murder! Furthermore, I think anyone who considers him/herself would be proud of the things Hrant Dink wrote and said. This is the most ironic part of the whole thing. He was probably the most open and mild person in the controversy and yet the facists in Turkey could not even accomodate his very healthy and enlightening critiques!
It is such a loss for Turkey and intellectual world!”

2 Responses

on January 20th, 2007 at 4:58 am

Our Condolences To The Dink Family And Sane’r Turks Of Turkey. Your Men Was A Hero To Us All He Ran To Where Very Few People Dared To Walk Theres No Safe Place In This World For People On The Fence But Thats Where You’ll Find Our Most Courages Warriors By Caring Enough About Doing Away With The Fence And Moving It Out Of Our Lives ,Lone Warriors That They Are Readyly Martyr Themselvs To This Noble Cause.

REST IN PEACE AND IN OUR HEARTS MY ARMENIAN HERO!

Erkan's field diary said,
We are all Armenians today!…

Haberturk provides a round up of Turkish newspaper first pages… Michael Levy in Hrant Dink: The Murder of Free Speech The Infidel’s Obituary: Hrant Dink (1954 - 2007) Galip Hoca: sorry hrant, they’ve also shut you up! A Turkish……

http://armenia.neweurasia.net




Istanbul governor distributes photos of suspect in journalist murder
The Associated Press
January 20, 2007
ISTANBUL, Turkey: Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler distributed photos Saturday of a man believed to be the killer of prominent journalist Hrant Dink.

The photos clearly showed a man, apparently in his late teens or 20s, wearing a white winter hat, jeans and a denim jacket. He appeared to have an angular face and a thin mustache. In one photo he appeared to be walking calmly, while in another he appeared to be running and tucking a gun into his waistband.

The image, taken from a security camera on the street where Dink was murdered and then enlarged and enhanced by security officials, was clear enough that identification would be possible, and Guler asked for the public's help in finding the subject.

Turkish television stations immediately aired the photos along with the number of a police tip line. Guler said authorities were investigating whether the killing was the act of an individual or a group.

Guler also sought to deflect criticism that the police didn't do enough to protect Dink, saying the journalist had never formally requested police protection.
Today in Europe

"Because he didn't request protection, he didn't get close protection," Guler said. "Only general security precautions were taken."

Well-known Turkish journalists commonly receive police protection and can be seen traveling around Istanbul with bodyguards.




Dink’s Death: Things to do upon both Turkey and the EU
Fatma Yilmaz
20 January 2007
Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian journalist, was killed yesterday on 19 January. There is no clarity yet who is responsible for the murder and why such a tragic event took place. However, what clear is that the murder of journalist Dink in Turkey has sparked a wave of protest both inside and outside the country. Not only the Armenian and European people have shown their reactions and sorrows on such tragic death but, possibly more than these people, Turkish people has particularly expressed their sorrows and condemnation as a reaction to the murder.

Beside to the demonstrations showing the reactions to the murder, the politicians have officially expressed their opinions criticizing such provocation. In this sense, Mr. Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, stated that the attack on Dink was an attack on Turkey and on Turkish unity and stability. He also added that the "dark hands" behind the killing would be brought to justice.

On the European side, the German Presidency of the EU stated that the Turkish authorities will solve this case as quickly as possible and has no doubt that Turkey will steadfastly continue along the path towards fully realizing freedom of expression.

It seems so that two sides including the European and Turkish officials share the same opinions officially, affirming their sorrow about the murder and there is no way to accuse to the whole Turkish society because of a betrayer who was probably planning to create provocation in order to strain the relations.

The Turkey’s EU membership has already been under discussion due to the reasons emanating from both some internal and external problems. This murder has most likely targeted to damage the relations in a more negative way. It is trying to make the parties take expeditious and therefore wrong steps in favor of the people who will make profit from such situation. This reminds me the previous cartoon crisis aiming at producing a sense of anger so as to strain the relations between the different religions. However, at this time, the tool which was used for an atrocious aim became more brutal one, a murder. Previously, the artificial cartoon crisis could not reach its target, just like creation of ‘clash of religions’ in the long run. It came and then went such a flash in the pan. Hopefully, the attack on Dink would not let the people to be fooled by such provocation. What to be expected from the people of all sides is to respond this tragic and provocative event in terms of presence of mind. Therefore, the aim should be finding the real criminals behind the murder, not to bring the responsibility on whole Turkish society. Hence, there are things to do for Turkey and the European authorities in support of showing their real sincerity.

20 January 2007
Fatma Yilmaz
Center for European Union Studies

http://www.turkishweekly.net




Hrant Dink: An OpenDemocracy Tribute
OpenDemocracy
Isabel Hilton
Anthony Barnett

19 - 1 - 2007

OpenDemocracy's Anthony Barnett and Isabel Hilton pay tribute to Turkish journalist and democrat, Hrant Dink who was murdered today in Istanbul.

In his first article for openDemocracy Hrant Dink observed that "the relationship between Turkey and the EU is governed less by reciprocal desire than by fear". His conclusion: "Do not fear".

Now the sentiments that he addressed without fear have led to his assassination. Turkey is a European country. Its Ottoman past is deeply formed by its Byzantine Christian heritage, while modern Europe has been shaped by its long arguments with the Turk. Today, as trade, tourism and migration bring the two parts of Europe together, people on both sides fear and resist the implication of their shared legacy.
Hrant Dink (1954 - 2007)

A brave and kindly man in his early fifties Hrant was shot down outside the office of his journal Agos. This is a bilingual, Armenian-Turkish publication. The bitter tragedy of his death is that Agos was an expression of his dedication to a debate not with Turkish nationalists but with his fellow Armenians. He felt that they were too much in the grip of the Armenian diaspora's obsession with the genocide that followed the first world war. He wanted to talk, write and publish about it freely and honestly, of course. But with the hope of this allowing Armenians to become normal, healthy citizens of a modern democratic Turkey.

This approach threatens the purist nationalists of Turkey. They, it now seems, have got their man.

The last time I saw Hrant was last summer in Istanbul. Like many who had spoken and written about his country's history with the Armenians he had been accused of "insulting Turkishness". Unlike most of them whose charges had been dismissed, he had been found guilty and given a suspended sentence. We discussed his determination to take his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, and the costs. Now it has lost its chance to overturn the verdict.

- Anthony Barnett

***

When, in October 2005, Hrant Dink was given a six month suspended sentence for an allegedly anti-Turkish statement, he was outraged. As an Armenian, he pointed out, he had been fighting racism all his life and had never belittled either Turkish or Armenian identity.

Hrant Dink was one of Turkey's most prominent Armenian citizens. He was convicted for an article he wrote for the bilingual Armenian-Turkish weekly, Agos, which he edited, in which he discussed the continuing impact of the killings of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by the Ottoman army in 1915-17. The issue remains highly contentious: the Turkish state refuses to acknowledge that this was genocide and Hrant Dink was among a group of Armenian writers and intellectuals who sought, through discussion, to defuse tensions between the Armenian diaspora and Turkey.

Hrant Dink was subsequently prosecuted for "insult to the Turkish state", a charge that carried a possible six months imprisonment. The charges derived from remarks at a conference on "Global Security, Terror and Human Rights, Multi-culturalism, Minorities and Human Rights", held in 2002 in Sanliurfa. Dink, an Armenian, had been asked about how he felt when, at primary school, he had, like all fellow pupils, to recite the words: "I am a Turk, I am honest, I am hardworking". He had responded that although he was honest and hardworking, he was not a Turk. It was enough to land him in court, prosecuted in a wave of trials brought by far right interests against writer, journalists and public intellectuals in Turkey in the last two years.

His shocking murder in Istanbul today will be seen in the light of these attacks on free speech and freedom of thought in Turkey.

- Isabel Hilton

"I am an Armenian of Turkey, and a good Turkish citizen. I believe in the republic, in fact I would like it to become stronger and more democratic. I don't want my country to be divided, but I want all the citizens to be able to live fully and contribute their diversity to this society – as a source of richness."

– (Hrant Dink, 2006)

Hrant Dink (1954 – 2007) was born in Malatya, a city in the eastern Anatolian region of Turkey. At the age of seven he moved with his family to Istanbul, where he spent the rest of his life. He received his early education in Armenian community and boarding schools, later going on to study in the zoology and philosophy departments at the university of Istanbul. After graduating he pursued a career as a journalist and activist for Armenian civil rights in Turkey.

From a young age he was aware of the taboo subject of the "Armenian issue": "We all have an intuition about something broken in the past. It's in our genetic code. Each Armenian family has losses that go back to the time when survivors were scattered all over the world."

He describes his experience growing up with both Turkish and Armenian identity as: "I didn't know what it meant to be Turkish or Armenian. At school in Istanbul, I recited the Turkish credo every morning, but I was also told I should preserve my Armenian identity. I never came across my own name in school books – only Turkish names."

Years later as a teenager, he would hear "the word 'Armenian' used as a swearword." As an adult he would face direct discrimination: "I saw high-court decisions that referred to Armenians as 'foreigners living in Turkey'. The Armenian orphanage that I worked so hard to establish was confiscated by the state."

Despite this, he refused to leave Turkey, and instead campaigned hard to promote better relations between the Turkish and Armenian communities:

"My identity was always other, and often belittled. I saw again and again that I was different. Many people who were like me were leaving this country, but I didn't want to leave – I wanted to stay and fight for what I thought was right."

In 1996 he founded, became editor-in-chief and columnist of Agos (translation: "ploughed furrow"), an Istanbul-based weekly newspaper published in both Armenian and Turkish. It was briefly suspended in 2001.

In April 2004 he gave a speech at the UN Commission on Human Rights on freedom of expression in Turkey. He identified many continuing problems but his words had a positive note:

"the tendency of many Turkish intellectuals to learn Armenian history, problems and culture, to discuss them and to see Armenian community as a richness for the country, gives hope for the future by creating a sound demand right from the bottom to the top."

In recent years Hrant was charged a number of times under the strict Turkish penal code for "denigrating Turkey" and "insulting Turkish identity". His cases included a trial on 28 April, 2005 about a speech he gave at a human rights and minorities conference in 2002, a conviction on 7 October, 2005 to a six-month suspended sentence for an article on the Armenian diaspora published in Agos, an interview given to the Reuters news agency on 14 July, 2006 where he spoke candidly about his opinions on the events of 1915.

Of his October 2005 conviction he said:

"I was found guilty of racism. How can this be? All my life I have struggled against ethnic discrimination and racism. I would never belittle Turkishness or Armenianness. I wouldn't allow anyone else to do it, either."

It is reported that on 10 January he wrote an article for Agos expressing his worry at the large number of threatening letters and emails he was receiving and his dismay at the lack of concern shown by the Istanbul police.

He was killed on 19 January by an unidentified gunman outside the central-Istanbul offices of Agos.




Hrant Dink's 2 Articles in OpenDemocracy:

1)Orhan Pamuk’s epic journey
Hrant Dink
16 - 10 - 2006
The Nobel literature award belongs to Orhan Pamuk and Turkey alike, says the Istanbul editor of the Armenian-language newspaper Agos, Hrant Dink.

There is a certain country with a still uncertain destiny: will it be a wall or a bridge between east and west?

For a long time, this country had a famous slogan: "one Turk is equal to the world." For the first time in history, this slogan was given meaning.

It happened when a writer said: "Oh, ye people of the world! This country will never act as a wall between civilisations; but it won't make do with such a frivolous function as that of a bridge either! This society has its own peculiar colour and its own peculiar aroma, each with its character and depth. I present to you, with my novels, that colour and that aroma."

***

Among all the questionings of east and west, the Nobel award for literature given to Orhan Pamuk is a significant cry.

Hrant Dink has worked since 1996 as a columnist and editor-in-chief of the Armenian-language weekly newspaper Agos in Istanbul. The paper aims to provide a voice for the Armenian community in Turkey and to further dialogue between Turkey and Armenia

If one winner of this award is Pamuk, the other is Turkey.

His voice comes from the depths of these lands, from their ancient culture and literary language. "I am neither a bridge nor a wall," says Orhan Pamuk, "I am myself."

The Nobel award given to Orhan Pamuk also immortalises the world from which his voice arose.

Orhan Pamuk is the child of an international prostitute called "Istanbul" who bears the lines and the traces of the innumerable civilisations she has cradled.

She is a prostitute who shows herself to everyone though she never gives herself to anyone.

Even if you come from the remotest corner of the world, you will find a part of yourself in Istanbul, and immediately become jealous of her.

Orhan Pamuk has been writing the centuries-old legend of this city for many years. The legend spread from month to month.

Today, a new legend sprang from this land.

Orhan of Istanbul won the Nobel prize.

***

Through Orhan Pamuk's presence the world now knows better that there is a magical country called Turkey which contains an irresistible city.

Those who look at one facet of this country and this city notice the indefinable turmoil going on there. Those who look deeper see that their internal dynamism exists in intense resistance.

That resistance and that dynamism are so fertile that the resistance creates its literature while the literature creates its resistance.

Today ... Istanbul ...
Oh, ye people of these lands.

Today you have one Orhan Pamuk.

Tomorrow you will have more Orhan Pamuks.

Merry Nobel to you!

This article was translated from Turkish by Murat Belge

http://www.opendemocracy.net



2) The water finds its crack: an Armenian in Turkey
Hrant Dink
13 - 12 - 2005

Europe and Turkey are locked in a relationship of mutual fear and suppressed desire. It will be opened when Turkey can face its greatest taboo, says the editor of the Armenian newspaper “Agos” in Istanbul, Hrant Dink.

The interest of foreign journalists, politicians and intellectuals in Turkey is more intense than ever. Their opening inquiries are clear and strong: “Where is Turkey going? Will nationalism increase? If it does, to what kind of a regime can Turkey slide?”

Then comes a special question, the one that people like me – a Turkish citizen and an

Hrant Dink is a journalist and editor of the bilingual (Armenian-Turkish) weekly newspaper Agos in Istanbul. In October 2005, he was given a six-month suspended sentence for “insulting the Turkish identity” in a newspaper article which discussed the massacres of Armenians in 1915. He is appealing this decision.

Since April 2005, Hrant Dink (along with the Turkish human-rights activist Sehmus Ulek) is also being prosecuted under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code (formerly Article 159) for speeches they delivered in December 2002 at a conference in Urfa, southeastern Turkey, entitled "Global Security, Terror and Human Rights; Multiculturalism, Minorities and Human Rights". In his speech, Hrant Dink discussed his own relationship to official definitions of Turkish identity. The next hearing of the case is due on 9 February 2006.

On the comparable case of renowned Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, see this article by Murat Belge (himself facing charges along with four colleagues under Article 301 for his willingness to discuss the genocide, in a case that will come before an Istanbul magistrates’ court on 7 February 2005):

“Love me, or leave me? The strange case of Orhan Pamuk” (October 2005)

Armenian – can always expect: “Are you minorities afraid of the way things are going?”

Hrant Dink is a journalist and editor of the bilingual (Armenian-Turkish) weekly newspaper Agos in Istanbul. In October 2005, he was given a six-month suspended sentence for “insulting the Turkish identity” in a newspaper article which discussed the massacres of Armenians in 1915. He is appealing this decision.

Since April 2005, Hrant Dink (along with the Turkish human-rights activist Sehmus Ulek) is also being prosecuted under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code (formerly Article 159) for speeches they delivered in December 2002 at a conference in Urfa, southeastern Turkey, entitled "Global Security, Terror and Human Rights; Multiculturalism, Minorities and Human Rights". In his speech, Hrant Dink discussed his own relationship to official definitions of Turkish identity. The next hearing of the case is due on 9 February 2006.

On the comparable case of renowned Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, see this article by Murat Belge (himself facing charges along with four colleagues under Article 301 for his willingness to discuss the genocide, in a case that will come before an Istanbul magistrates’ court on 7 February 2005):

“Love me, or leave me? The strange case of Orhan Pamuk” (October 2005)

It is striking that those looking at Turkey from the outside are much more impatient, eager for quick answers and solutions, than those on the inside. To what degree is this impatience realistic? After all, throughout the period of the modern republic since 1923, Turkey is a country where changes have been dictated from top to bottom and thus one where inner dynamics from bottom to top are not easily activated. Turkish society is far more used to accepting change, allowing it to happen, than to initiating it.

This consistent structural character has allowed the “deep state” – the network of military and security forces that exercises real political control in Turkey – to survive the three major international developments influencing the country in recent decades.

First, the cold-war years of conflict (1940s-1980s) between the United States-led capitalist world and the Soviet Union-led socialist world. This external dynamic favoured the emergence of a radical, social left in Turkey, but the state’s preference for western capitalism – aided by successive military coups d’état – crushed the left’s challenge before it could become too powerful.

Second, the mullahs’ revolution in Iran (1979). This external dynamic too had a harsh effect on Turkey; those in power instinctively saw its influence among religious Muslims in Turkey as equivalent to the demand for a change of regime, and thus something to be opposed by all means.

Third, the European Union (1960s-2000s). This outer dynamic is very different in its impact on Turkey than the first two. The main reason is that the EU finds nearly all elements of Turkish society and its institutions divided against itself on the issue. Political left and right, secular and religious, nationalist and liberal, state bureaucracy and military – the situation is the same in that everywhere there are internal conflicts over Europe at least as much as conflicts between the camps.

Since no part of Turkish society is homogeneously “for” or “against” the European Union, the EU process has had a singular effect: dissolving Turkey’s existing polarisations and becoming itself the main inner dynamic of Turkish development. As the negotiations for Turkey’s accession to the EU continue over the next decade, this dilemma will increasingly constitute the basis of Turkish politics. Every change experienced in the near future will “touch the skin” of nearly every section of society, creating widespread friction and probably a lot of annoyance.

From the inside, therefore, the questions facing Turkey are different from those posed by outsiders: “How can the oligarchic state, so accustomed to holding power, consent to share its sovereignty as a member of the European Union? Why is it so desperate to abandon the world it knows for an unknown future in Europe – is it the desire to be western, or the fear of remaining eastern?”

The great taboo

But the questions are not all one way. When the European Union is asked why it wishes to include Turkey, with its lower economic and democratic standards, the answer suggests an uncomfortable truth – that the relationship between Turkey and the EU is governed less by reciprocal desire than by fear. The military elite of the Turkish republic probably calculates that a Turkey unable to enter the European Union is in danger of becoming a strategical irrelevance, while the European Union’s power-brokers must consider that a Turkey remaining outside of Europe might become a combatant on the other side of a “clash of civilisations”.

As long as the engine of fear pushing from the back is stronger than the engine of desire pulling from the front, the dynamics of Turkish-European Union relations will be uneasy and contested on all sides – not just in Turkey.

Where fear is dominant, it produces symptoms of resistance to change at all levels of society. The more some people yearn and work for openness and enlightenment, the more others who are afraid of such changes struggle to keep society closed. In Turkey, the legal cases against Hrant Dink, Orhan Pamuk, Ragıp Zarakolu or Murat Belge are examples of how the breaking of every taboo causes panic in the end. This is especially true of the Armenian issue: the greatest of all taboos in Turkey, one that was present at the creation of the state and which represents the principal “other” of Turkish national identity.

In this atmosphere, a guiding watchword can be found in the first words of our national anthem. Indeed, I concluded my presentation to the conference at Bilgi University, Istanbul on “Ottoman Armenians During the Decline of the Empire: Issues of Scientific Responsibility and Democracy " on 24-25 September 2005 with these very words: “Do not fear”.

The real desire

The best contribution to the understanding of modern Turkey I can make at this stage is through a theme I developed at that Istanbul conference.

The relation between every living being and its area of existence is contained within it and (in the case of human beings) embodied in its very name. The animate is present, together with its area of living existence, inside and not outside this being. If you take this animate away from its area, even on a golden plate, it means that it is being cut at its very root. Deportation is something like that. People who lived on this territory for 3,000 years, people who produced culture and civilisation on this territory, were torn from the land they had lived on and those who survived were dispersed all over the world.

If this axe to the root dominates the psychological condition of generations of this people, you cannot simply act as if the rupture does not exist. The experience is already internalised, recorded on its people’s memory, its genetic code. What is its name? The discipline of law can be preoccupied with this question, but whatever it decides we know exactly what we have lived through. It can be understood, even if I should not use the word genocide, as being a tearing up of the roots. There is nothing to do at this point, but this should be understood very well.

I would like to illustrate this internalising of experience with a personal anecdote from several years ago. An old Turkish man called me from a village in the region of Sivas and said: “Son, we searched everywhere until we found you. There is an old woman here. I guess she is from your people. She has passed away. Can you find any relative of her, or we will bury her with a Muslim service”.

He gave me her name; she was a 70-year-old woman called Beatrice who had been visiting on holiday from France. “Okay, uncle, I will search”, I said.

I looked around and within ten minutes I had found a close relative; we knew each other because we are so few. I went to the family’s store and asked: “Do you know this person?” The middle-aged woman there turned to me and said “She is my mother”. Her mother, she told me, lives in France and comes to Turkey three or four times a year, but after a very short time in Istanbul prefers to go directly to the village she left many years earlier.

I told her daughter the sad news and she immediately travelled to the village. The next day she phoned me from there. She had found her mother but she suddenly began to cry. I begged her not to cry and asked her whether or not she will bring her body back for burial. “Brother”, she said, “I want to bring her but there is an uncle here saying something”, and gave the phone to him while crying.

I got angry with the man. “Why are you making her cry?”, I said. “Son”, he said, “I didn’t say anything... I only said: ‘Daughter, it is your mother, your blood; but if you ask me, let her stay here. Let her be buried here...the water has found its crack’.”

I became thrown away at that moment. I lost and found myself in this saying produced by Anatolian people. Indeed, the water had found its crack.

A lady at the Istanbul conference implied that remembering the dead meant coveting territory. Yes, it is true that Armenians long for this soil. But let me repeat what I wrote soon after this experience. At the time the then president of Turkey, Suleyman Demirel, used to say: “We will not give even three pebblestones to Armenians.” I told the story of this woman and said: “We Armenians do desire this territory because our root is here. But don’t worry. We desire not to take this territory away, but to come and be buried under it.”

http://www.opendemocracy.net


Five thousand gather in sit-down protest of Hrant Dink assassination
Hurriyet
Five thousand people gathered yesterday evening in Taksim Square in a sit-down protest against the assassination of Hrant Dink, the Editor-in-chief of the Armenian Community’s newspaper, Agos, which took place earlier in the day. The protestors proceeded to march towards the newspaper’s office carrying photographs of Mr. Dink, candles, torches, and flowers.

The crowd, which had doubled in number by the time they had reached the Agos building, sang and clapped hands in protest as well as shouting such slogans as, “We are all Hrant Dink. We are all Armenians”, and “Hrant Dink’s murderer is this country’s betrayer”.




I have lost a friend: Hrant Dink
January 20, 2007
Yusuf KANLI / TDN
Whatever the motive behind the attack was and whoever the killer is, Turkey and Armenia have both lost a very important son, who was trying to contribute to building the bridges of peace and understanding between his homeland Turkey and Armenia, the country that he has an ethnic affiliation with

We were talking a while ago with my friend Hrant Dink over an interview I had with yet another friend, Kaan Soyak, the co-chairman of the Turkish-Armenian Business Council, on the involvement of late Ahmet Ertegün in Turkish-Armenian reconciliation efforts.

Dink was quite happy that through an interview with the person directly involved in such efforts of Ertegün I brought an end to the speculation particularly by some leading members of the Armenian Diaspora that the late chairman of Atlantic Records was indeed supportive of the Armenian claims that the disintegrating Ottoman Empire committed a genocide in the first quarter of the last century. “We cannot go anywhere with such claims and counter claims. The Armenians cannot be expected to forget what happened during those years. But, I am a Turkish national as well. … I am a Turk of Armenian origin. Today's Turkish people cannot be held responsible for what happened almost a century ago,” Dink said. … But, he also stressed that whatever it might be called, at one point Turkey must acknowledge the immense suffering of the Armenian population of this land, make peace with its own history while Armenians needed to adopt a more reconciliatory tone in its approach to Turkey so that it becomes possible for the Turkish and Armenian peoples to look to the future together rather than engaging in a “you did it, we did not do it” war of words, which does not serve the interests of either side.

Hrant was optimistic that some sort of a secret dialogue was underway between Turkey and Armenia and he was expecting both countries to come out before next April with a statement declaring the opening of a new and promising period between the two countries. Some other sources had told this writer a while ago that indeed it was highly possible that Armenia would accept creation of two joint commissions with Turkey. One commission would be composed of historians and look into the genocide claims while the other commission would examine all outstanding political issues between the two countries.

“What would you say to these claims?” I asked Hrant. “Too early to comment on anything. I have no such concrete information though I suspect that there must be intense efforts both in Washington, Ankara and Yerevan to do something before this genocide issue gets out of hand at the U.S. Congress. Before it's too late, I believe something will be done by Yerevan so that Turkey can open up the border with Armenia and the U.S. administration can use those developments in stopping the Democrats legislating an Armenian genocide resolution.” When I heard of the murder of my dear friend Hrant, the editor in chief of the Turkish-Armenian Agos weekly, these were some of the flashbacks I lived… Television channels were showing footage from the murder scene. Hrant's motionless body, covered with a piece of cloth was laying on the cold pavement.

The reporters was saying that police found three empty bullet cases at the scene and some eye witnesses helped to identify the features of a lone assassin. Who was he? In a Jan. 10 article he wrote in Agos, Hrant said that he has the feeling that some people might be after him. He wrote that those people might not be necessarily the nationalist lawyers group that have been bombarding Turkish courts with complaints against Turkish intellectuals, including Hrant himself, on the grounds that under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) they should be persecuted for insulting Turkishness. Who is the assassin of my friend? A hard-core nationalist incited to carry out such a heinous crime? Or, did he stage this horrible act because of a personal feud between him and Dink? Was the attacker aiming to stage a provocation against a possible good development between Armenia and Turkey? Or, was he an agent that has staged an action that would strengthen the cards in the hands of the anti-Turkish Armenian lobby in Congress ahead of a possible resolution recognizing the so-called genocide? Whatever the motive behind this cold blooded act was and whoever the killer is, Turkey and Armenia have both lost a very important son today and I have lost a very dear friend, who was trying to contribute to building the bridges of peace and understanding between his homeland Turkey and the country that he has an ethnic affiliation with, Armenia.

This was not just an attack on Hrant, it was at the same time an attack on Turkey and the prospects of peace between Turkey and Armenia. Whatever the motive behind the attack was and whoever the killer is, Turkey and Armenia have both lost a very important son today, who was trying to contribute to building the bridges of peace and understanding between his homeland Turkey and Armenia, the country that he has an ethnic affiliation with.




Murderer fells journalist Hrant Dink
Istanbul - Turkish Daily News
Journalist and activist Hrant Dink, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent who was cast into the international spotlight by a 2006 trial for “insulting Turkishness,” was killed by a gunman in front of Agos, the newspaper he had edited for a decade.Turkey was brutally shaken yesterday by the murder of Turkish Armenian editor Hrant Dink, an activist for reconciliation whose suspended conviction for “insulting Turkishness” gained international attention. Dink was shot three times in the neck and head and died instantly in front of the Agos building, the newspaper he had headed in Istanbul's Osmanbey district since 1996.

Two suspects were taken under custody in Taksim. The investigation is ongoing . Serkis Seropyan, the member of the newspaper's publishing committee, told the Anatolian news agency that someone called Dink outside. Shortly after, shots rang out and Dink fell, witnesses said.“Someone shot him three times in front of the door,” Seropyan was quoted. A witness working as a cook in a nearby restaurant said that a young man in a red and white coat fired after a running man, apparently Dink. While the witness was being interviewed by police, his employer told reporters that after shots were fired, the suspect then turned to the cook and said “Don't talk or I shoot you.” Four bullets were found at the crime scene although witnesses said they heard three shots, news channel NTV reported. Following the shooting, Dink's body lay outside for a few hours covered by newspapers, before being carried away in an ambulance.

A group of some 60 people protested the murder by marching towards Taksim Square in the heart of Istanbul after Dink's body was taken away.Dink was receiving threats and he had reported those threats to the Şişli prosecutor's office, one of Dink's lawyers, Erdal Doğan told the CNNTurk network. Other reporters said he had asked for security guards. Doğan added that Dink was particularly concerned for his safety in the run-up to presidential elections in May. He rejected suggestions, however, that he leave Turkey, said Doğan, confident that his safety in Turkey would be assured.Asked whether Dink's shooting was an act of provocation, Doğan said acts of provocation began two years ago. “This death, you could see it coming,” he said.Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a press conference after the murder. He echoed concerns of others that the murder is highly symbolic at a time when an alleged Armenian genocide is on the international agenda.

Erdoğan offered his condolences: “This attack is against all of us, against our unity, peace and stability. A bullet is a shot to free thought and to our democratic life … We managed to live together in peace for years. No barbarous plan will destroy that,” said Erdoğan. He also said he charged the justice and interior ministers with leading an investigation. A native of Turkey's Anatolian city of Malatya, Dink was born Sept. 15, 1954. He was married with two children




Murder of 'the real nationalist'
January 20, 2007
DAVID JUDSON
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
News of the killing of journalist Hrant Dink struck brutally and painfully Friday through the circle of friends and colleagues who knew and loved the man who sought to bridge differences between two peoples, and the trauma was shared at the Turkish Daily News.

Tears of anguish flowed amid shock and speculation as to the meaning behind what was assumed to be a political murder. All agreed it is a murder sure to rock efforts by many to reconcile Turks and Armenians who – as Dink often pointed out – have lived together for more than a millennia.“When I first met him, I was only 13, yet he made me a part-time reporter for Agos,” said TDN reporter Vercihan Ziflioğlu, herself like Dink a Turk of Armenian ancestry. “He had a Turkish identity and an Armenian identity and the mission of his newspaper was to demonstrate that this was possible. And he often found it as difficult to find support among the Armenian community and he did among some elements of the Turkish community.”Like Ziflioğlu, tens of reporters and editors at the TDN and her sister newspaper Referans burst into tears when the first television bulletin swept through the common newsroom with the emotional force of a son's death notice delivered to a family's door.

Among those who fought off collapse was Onur Burçak Belli, a Turkish reporter of Arab descent, and a member of the Alevi religious community. She had met Dink as part of a civil society project two years ago to promote understanding and awareness among Turkey's kaleidescope of heritages and cultures.She recalled meeting him during his court battle which began in September 2006 when he was accused of “insulting Turkishness” under the infamous Article 301 of the penal code. The charges, resulting from comments in a foreign publication that some interpreted as support of the well-known allegations of “genocide” by Turks against Armenians in the early part of the 20th Century, were ultimately suspended.

The charges were absurd, said Belli, as Dink always argued the killings were the result of fringe radicals on both sides and it was the job of moderates in all communities to come together and make this understood. But the charges riveted worldwide attention on Dink and made him a symbol for freedom of expression in Turkey, a role he never sought.“He was just trying to create peace. He didn't care about politics, or the courts, or the politicians, he just wanted peace,” Belli recalled. Only two hours before the news hit the TDN newsroom, Belli told a colleague she owed her friend Dink a phone call. She never made the call and she left the newspaper early with a group of other colleagues who were gathering for a solidarity meeting in front of Agos, the newspaper he had edited since 1996. “In our last meeting, it was a couple months ago, just before he went on a visit to the United States to see his daughter. He said, ‘if I can't achieve something here, maybe I should go live abroad',” Belli recalled. “I told him ‘no, that's rubbish, we need you here.' And because he stayed now he's dead.”Ziflioğlu recalled that Dink rejected any suggestion of security, either for himself or for the newspaper as an offense to the solidarity he believed was at the heart of the relationship between Turks and Armenians. Dink was not always a journalist. Ziflioğlu remembered that when she first met him he was a businessman some 15 years ago. He moved to journalism, she said, to bridge the difference that concerned him deeply. In the years she worked for his newspaper, she remembered, he also insisted that pages be written in a mixture of the Turkish and Armenian languages to reflect that solidarity. Equally devasated by the news was Jale Özgentürk, news coordinator for Referans and a long-time family friend of Dink. She said the last time they met was at the funeral last year of Duygu Asena, a journalist whose long crusade on behalf of women's rights in Turkey was ended last year by cancer.“Hrant loved Turkey more than any Turk I ever met, he was an Anatolian who knew and loved all of the many peoples and cultures of this land,” she said. “He was the real nationalist. His death will serve all the enemies of Turkey: those on both sides of the issue of genocide allegations, those who wish to destroy the economy, those who want to end the process of democratization. Those who hate Turkey could not have picked a better man to kill.”




The last column of Hrant Dink
January 20, 2007
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

Editor's Note:

Just last week we were discussing and planning to invite Hrant Dink to join our team as one of our columnists. With yesterday's heinous murder those plans have ultimately failed. Here we run the translation of Dink's latest and last article in his brave newspaper, Agos. We will always remember him with deepest respect and grieve for his death, which is a terrible loss not only for our columns, but more importantly for the Armenian and Turkish people.

The irony of history Let's first repeat the news: “The opening date of the Surp Haç Armenian Church of Ahtamar Island in Van, which was restored last year but remained unopened, has been postponed for the third time. In a written statement from the governor of Van it was announced that Ahtamar Church, the restoration of which is complete, will be opened to tourism on April 11. It was also said that the opening ceremony, which will be attended by international guests, will be organized by the governor of Van and the Ministry of Tourism.”Ten years ago, I addressed public officials in Van with my piece, “The Ahtamar workers battalion,” and said:“Instead of creating ‘monsters' to attract tourists note the historical sights in front of your eyes.

Why does one need such mistaken steps? Van is a heaven of historical heritage. Why don't we sit down and think about how to restore this region? ‘Armenians will come' they say. So what? Let them come and see the places of their ancestors. What's wrong with that?”And I added: “If you need help, we are ready to help. O history! O future! The youth in Turkey, Armenia and the diaspora are volunteers. ‘The Ahtamar workers battalion' is ready for your orders... Know this. “Come, let's not restore the Ahtamar Church merely as a building. Let's also restore our frayed souls.” At last, after 10 years, the restoration of Ahtamar is finally done. We would love to see Turkey and Armenia cooperate in this restoration. But, unfortunately it wasn't the case.Anyhow, one needs to mention and give thanks for the meticulous work of the project manager Cahit Zeydan, who tried to bring experts from Armenia for consultation, and was able to add the Turkish-Armenian architect Zakarya Mildanoğlu to the project. They did their best and a great job. However the bureaucrats and the politicians messed it up.

They weren't able to realize the opening of the church. First they postponed the opening, which was announced as Nov. 4, 2006, to April 2007 because of “weather conditions.” Then Atilla Koç, the tourism minister, announced that the ceremony will take place on April 24. Then came the reactions to Koç's timing. Armenian Patriarch Mutafyan declared “no Armenian, including himself, would join the ceremony if it was held on April 24.”Last week the subject was discussed in Parliament. CHP İzmir deputy Erdal Karademir asked whether holding the opening ceremony on April 24, the anniversary of the Armenian genocide, was the result of a specific AKP policy.The nationalist press, on the other hand, carried the opening of the church into its headlines as “The treasonous opening in Van.”And now the date is announced as April 11.It could only be possible to put a right job on a wrong course so successfully. The impossible-to-hide hidden motive could not be more revealing.A real comedy… A real tragedy…The government hasn't still been able to formulate a correct approach to the “Armenian question.”Its real aim is not to solve the problem, but to gain points like a wrestler in a contest.

How and when it will make the right move and defeat its opponent. That's the only concern.This is not earnestness.The state calls on Armenian historians to discuss history, but does not shy from trying its own intellectuals who have an unorthodox rhetoric on the Armenian genocide.It restores an Armenian church in the Southeast, but only thinks, “How can I use this for political gains in the world, how can I sell it?” The shifting of the opening of the Ahtamar Church to April 24 is a clear indication of this dishonest thinking.And now pay attention!While the rejection coming from the nationalist camp and even from the Armenian patriarch to the date of the opening creates a chance to correct the mistake, an irony of history appears on the scene.The irony says, “Since you have shown irresponsibility, let me add to it,” and reveals that the newly chosen date, April 11, is indeed April 24!The April 11 of the year 1915 is exactly the April 24 of today, due to the difference between the old and new calendars.No wonder the date April 24 is a later addition to the Armenian literature, with the coming of the new Turkish calendar. That date, on which the Armenian intellectuals and leaders were sent to oblivion, was indeed April 11, 1915.Now a question remains:Will those who have found April 24 problematic and have opted for April 11 instead choose to change the timing again?Or one could ask it this way: Are you sure? Is this your final decision?




Hrant was killed by Turkey’s enemies
January 20, 2007
M.Ali BIRAND
Mehmet Ali Birand Today, I place myself in Hrant Dink's shoes. I think like him. I share his opinions. He was a person whose sole aim was to bring Turks and Armenians closer. He was as Turkish as he was Armenian. He loved his roots and he loved his country. He never went to extremes. Murdering Dink means being an enemy of Turkey. I am sure some statements will be released. They will talk about a murder committed by an insane individual. No gentlemen. That's not true. We all know who is responsible for this murder: Those who hate Armenians, those who flood the streets at every opportunity to hunt Armenians and those who raid exhibitions on Armenians. Those who try to spread anti-Armenian propaganda. These people are the real culprits. Hrant Dink symbolized tolerance. Those who shot at him have no idea that they also shot at Turkey. Just wait and see how this will resonate outside. United States, France and other European countries will send proposals on the Armenians genocide and will just rush them through. Turkey will be blamed for everything. Newspapers will write about how Turkish people could not tolerate a liberal journalist of Armenian origin. Can there be any greater harm to our country? Shame on them. Hrant Dink will continue to live in our hearts.

Don't play the war drums: Our biggest misfortune is that we are in a pre-election period. Our politicians are playing one of the most dangerous games over Kirkuk and northern Iraq just to look cute to their constituents. We are implying we will use military force if we are not satisfied on the Kirkuk issue, if outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) forces on Kandil Mountain are not dispersed and if an independent Kurdistan is formed in northern Iraq. We are not saying, “We will do it.” We are just implying that. We are inciting the public. The government appears to want to direct everyone's attention to matters outside the country. There is a constant clatter of statements being released. One day Washington is on the receiving end and on the other Kurdish leaders. The opposition is incomprehensibly irresponsible. The Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are trying to incite the government. However, these same opposition parties were campaigning against sending troops to Iraq before the U.S. invasion. Now, they are trying to incite the government into sending troops. “Look at them. They are scared of sending troops,” is what they say. The only political leader that doesn't play these cheap tricks is True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Ağar. The media is something else. Almost everyone who has a column is in support of intervention. Thank God some of us have common sense. We are cooling the fire a bit but we are not enough. The individual who assessed the matter most sensibly was former National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Sönmez Köksal. He pointed out the dangers of any such intervention in northern Iraq. He suggested that Kurdish leaders amend their stance and Ankara quiet down its aggressive attitude. He said dialog should be the norm. Let's please end the way things are going. If it goes on like this, we will find ourselves caught in our own trap.

The world is changing but we can't see it: Our daily problems have become such an integral part of our lives that sometimes we fail to see what is happening right besides us. We lose ourselves in daily arguments. Sometimes we need a person to come and tell us what is happening. That is what Doğan Yayın Holding President Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ is doing. He shocks us a few times every year. He invites the important global players of media to see where everything is heading. He makes the world speak for two days. At this year's meeting, we all listened to how the world changed. German, British, U.S., Arab and Israeli guests showed us the facts of the world. Our whole imagination went wild for a few days.




His loss is the loss of Turkey
The New Anatolian / Ankara
20 January 2007

Armenian-origin Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, well known in Turkey and abroad for having to defend his right to free expression in court, was killed yesterday by an unknown gunman.

Dink, 53, was shot two times in the head while leaving the headquarters of Agos, the bilingual Turkish-Armenian daily he edited, on Halaskargazi Caddesi, Istanbul. The assailant fired four bullets and two hit the journalist, said eyewitnesses. The gunman, described as an 18-year-old male wearing a white jacket and hat, is said to have immediately fled the scene in a car waiting for him on the street.

The police instantly cordoned off the area, while teams were ordered to cut off all escape routes. At press time, mobile police teams were looking for the assassin.

Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin arrived at the area within minutes to examine the crime scene filled with police and passers-by, where he said the gun used was a 9mm pistol. The gunman brought the pistol with him, said the police.

A group of people, gathering at the crime scene after Dink's body was carried away by the police, shouted slogans condemning the murder. Members of the group, whose affiliations are unknown, shouted, "Hrants don't die," "United against fascism," "The murderer state will pay for this," and "Long live the fraternity of the people." The police detained two people from the group.

Dink was one of the most prominent and outspoken voices of Turkey's Armenian community. His murder came at a very explosive time, when pressure from countries in Europe, the Americas and elsewhere has grown for Turkey to recognize the so-called Armenian genocide claims.

Last year Dink has faced several trials under Turkey's controversial Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301, whose vague wording has led to charges against journalists and authors and embarrassment for Turkey.

Legal prosecutions against him were often pushed by an ultranationalist lawyers group led by Kemal Kerincsiz, who also waged war against a handful of prominent writers, including 2006 Nobel winner Orhan Pamuk.

Dink's legal travails began with a column in his daily Agos in 2005 for which he was charged with "denigrating Turkishness." The journalist was convicted in July and given a six-month suspended prison sentence for a series of articles in which he called on diaspora Armenians to stop focusing on the Turks and redirect their attention to the welfare of Armenia.

The suspension was then quashed at the request of the public prosecutor, defying an expert decision in favor of the journalist.

Dink, who said he could not stay in a country where he was unwanted, expressing regret for some of his fellow countrymen's hatred for him, said after the decision he won't hesitate to leave the country after he exhausts all legal means, including the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

He had received countless threats from ultranationalists, both via phone and in and around courtrooms.




New wave of assassinations?
Ilnur Cevik
The New Anatolian
20 January 2007

This is what we feared most …

Turkey was shaken Friday by the assassination of journalist Hrant Dink, a citizen of Armenian origin who has faced numerous controversial court cases on charges that he insulted the state. Dink was the editor in chief of Armenian daily Agos, which is published in Istanbul …

What is sad that these court cases made him a direct target of the ultraconservatives in Turkey who have been gaining strength over the years.

We had hoped that the days when Turkish journalists and prominent personalities were assassinated were over. Turkey has lost numerous valuable intellectuals at the hands of anonymous killers who in many cases have not been caught. It was widely believed that in fact these people were killed by death squads who may have been linked to illegal groups holed up in the state structure. Their main aim was to sow domestic tensions and internal strife.

We now see with deep grief that this is not the case. Let us hope and pray that this assassination is not the beginning of a new bloodbath of intellectuals in Turkey.

For some time we were hearing gossip that some people who have angered the ultraconservatives may be targets of a new violent campaign. We were told that unlike in the past, the death squads are acting independently and are not linked or controlled by state bodies.

We hope the security forces and intelligence network does a swift job to catch the culprit or culprits who are trying to push Turkey into a spiral of violence. If this is done, the credibility of the government and the image of Turkey can be saved.

The so-called left-wing politicians also have much to do with the rise in conservative chauvinistic fervor in Turkey. We hope they are proud of what they have done.

It is sad but true that everyone who does not toe the official line is now a target. Dink was not assassinated because he was an Armenian. He was gunned down because he had the courage to stand up and say something that he believed in.




Kemal Kerinçsiz, Dink's prosecutor, condemns assassination
Zaman
Ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerinçisiz said he felt the utmost sorrow at the death of Hrant Dink, who was gunned down Friday outside his newspaper's office in Istanbul. "I condemn the attack and extend my condolences to his family and to Armenian society. We might have had totally different opinions, but we can never accept violence," said Kerinçsiz.

Kerinçsiz and the Turkish Union of Lawyers were behind a number of high-profile cases against numerous Turkish writers and journalists, including Dink and novelists Elif Şafak and Orhan Pamuk. All three were charged under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which says it is a crime to "insult Turkishness." All three wrote about and spoke out on Turkey's notorious national taboos, breaking officially accepted views on nationalism and ethnicity, in particular Turkey's Armenian legacy and its Kurdish minority.

Kerinçsiz said he thought there might be a plot behind the attack. "I do not think this was an individual attack by a fanatical person who was unhappy with Hrant Dink's opinions. It cannot be that simple. There might be some people who could benefit from this terrible act. It is very clear that Turkish people and Turkey will be badly affected by this attack." Kerinçsiz proudly took his place during court proceedings at Dink's trial. Protesters outside Pamuk's trial scuffled with police and threw eggs as he left the court building. The European Union has made freedom of expression and the abolishment of laws like Article 301 indispensable to Turkey's EU membership process.




Dink murder draws anger and condemnation
20.01.2007
YUSUF ÜNAL İSTANBUL / Zaman
Human Rights Association Chairman Yusuf Alataş: I am in shock. Dink is a man of peace, democracy, tolerance and love. The target is democracy, human rights, peace. Some dark power centers decided to move forward because they don't want to see a positive atmosphere in Turkey. But we should not be a part of this provocation and hold the peace more than ever.

AK Party deputy Turhan Çömez, who visited Armenia and gave several lectures in Turkey and abroad on the disputed Armenian massacre claims:

I am in grief. I have no doubt that this murder has been committed by the dark power centers who want to harm the peace in Turkey. I am sure everything will be done to catch those responsible. I urge Turkey, the Armenian diaspora and the Armenians in Armenia to keep common sense. The bullets against a Turkish citizen Armenian actually targeted Turkey.

Samson Ozararat, Black Sea Economic Cooperation, Armenia Business Council Chairman and adviser to Armenian Foreign Ministry: I am in grief. Hrant was a good person. He wanted to have a more democratic Turkey. The target was everyone who wished to have better conditions in Turkey.
Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu, Grand Unity Party chairman: Dark powers are once again on the stage. This can be an extension of anything from pushing Turkey to the edge, to facilitating the passing of the Armenian genocide resolution in the American Congress. No reason is acceptable to justify the killing of a human being, of whatever ethnic origin, ideology or faith he or she may be. I am full of sorrow. I am deeply sorry for the deceased and for my country. Turkey does not deserve this.

Eyüp Fatsa, deputy parliamentary group chairman of the AK Party: My sorrow is unbearable. You may be against the ideas of people. But this does not justify shooting these people. Today, Turkey is no longer in an age of solving the problems by bullets. You should contest ideas only with ideas. My deepest sympathies and condolences go first of all to our Armenian citizens and to the Agos newspaper. I denounce this event with all my heart.

Emin Şirin, parliamentarian, Young Party: Would slaughtering Hrant Dink eliminate his ideas? I have never agreed with Dink's ideas. But I have always admired his courage and democratic personality. The killing of a man like Hrant Dink, who has always expressed his ideas openly and invited people to dialogue, is a shame for this country.




Armenian Journalist Dink Slain, Turkey Appalled
Leading Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink was shot dead outside his newspaper office yesterday by an unknown assailant, sending Turkey into deep shock and prompting foreign criticism and statements of concern.

“This heinous attack is against all of us; on our unity, our integrity, our peace and stability,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a hastily arranged press conference. “This is an attack against freedom of thought and our democratic way of life.” Erdoğan cut short a Cabinet meeting to upon the news of Dink's murder and said he had told his justice and interior ministers to shed light on the killing.
In a statement the Foreign Ministry expressed deep regret at murder of Dink, “a distinguished member of Turkey's Armenian community,” and went on: “We strongly denounce and condemn this heinous attack. … The perpetrator(s) of the attack will be caught in the shortest time possible and brought to justice.”
News reports said Dink had been shot three times in the neck. An 18 or 19-year-old man was sought as a suspect, and unconfirmed reports said police have detained two people in connection with the murder.
Dink, a 53-year-old Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, had gone on trial numerous times for speaking out about World War I events, which Armenians claim amount to a genocide. He had received numerous threats from ultranationalists, but authorities said he had never demanded state protection.
Last year the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld a six-month suspended jail sentence against him for referring in an article to an Armenian nationalist idea of ethnic purity without Turkish blood. The court said the comments went against Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which deals with “insulting Turkishness.”

Dink's murder comes as Armenians step up efforts to win international recognition for the alleged genocide and is set to sour political atmosphere in the international scene, something that would complicate Turkey's efforts to counter the claims. The United States and the European Union immediately expressed concern over the attack.
"It's meaningful that this attack comes as the Armenian allegations are on the agenda," Erdoğan said. "It is meaningful that bloody hands targeted Dink."
Turkey denies allegations of genocide and says the killings of Armenians took place as the late Ottoman Empire was trying to quell civil unrest sparked by riots of Anatolian Armenians, who then sided with the invading Russian army.
A draft resolution urging the US administration to label the killings as genocide is expected to be brought to US Congress in the coming days, and analysts say the passage of the resolution is almost a foregone conclusion.

Political tensions
Dink's murder may exacerbate domestic tension as well, as political parties are appealing to nationalists for vote ahead of the upcoming elections.
Hundreds who gathered at the site of the shooting were kept behind police lines as Dink's body lay on the street, covered by a white sheet. As an ambulance took away his body, the crowd broke into applause -- a sign of respect for the deceased -- and about 20 people chanted, "The killer state will be held to account," and "Long live the fraternity of the people."
"Those responsible for the attack, those who planned or instigated it, will be caught at once and brought to justice," Erdoğan said in Ankara.
"This bullet was fired against Turkey ... an image has been created about Turkey that its Armenian citizens have no safety," said private CNN Türk editor Taha Akyol. Fehmi Koru, a columnist at the Yeni Şafak newspaper, said the killing was aimed at destabilizing Turkey. "His loss is the loss of Turkey," Koru said.

'Like a pigeon'
In his last column for Agos, Dink complained that he had become famous as an enemy of Turks and wrote of threats against him.
"My computer's memory is loaded with sentences full of hatred and threats," Dink wrote. "I am just like a pigeon ... I look around to my left and right, in front and behind me as much as it does. My head is just as active.
In an interview with Reuters news agency, Dink said last July: "I will not leave this country. If I go I would feel I was leaving alone the people struggling for democracy in this country. It would be a betrayal of them. I could never do this."
"I'm living together with Turks in this country," Dink said in an Associated Press interviews as he contemplated his latest trial. "I don't think I could live with an identity of having insulted them in this country ... if I am unable to come up with a positive result, it will be honorable for me to leave this country."

Anatolian Armenian Dink, a rare voice of understanding

Hrant Dink was a Turkish journalist of Armenian origin born in the southeastern city of Malatya in 1954. In 1961 Hrant and his two brothers were sent to an Armenian orphanage in Gedikpaşa, İstanbul. Dink was influenced by the left-wing politics developing in Turkey at that time. He became involved with the Turkish Communist Party.
After graduating from high school, Dink went to Istanbul University to study zoology. Having distanced himself from leftist politics, he opened a publishing house with his wife, Rakel, and began to manage the Tuzla Armenian Children’s Camp where poor and homeless Anatolian children were educated. Dink began his publishing life with some literary criticisms he wrote for local newspapers but drew attention because of his attempts to correct misperceptions in the news.
He asked the Armenian patriarch to help him publish a Turkish newspaper saying: “The Armenian community is a very closed one. If we can better explain ourselves to the Turkish public, the prejudices against us may be eliminated.” He established the bilingual Turkish-Armenian Agos newspaper on April 5, 1996. Dink was its editor-in-chief and a tireless writer.
Dink was put on trial numerous times for speaking out on the mass killings of Armenians by Turks at the beginning of the 20th century and challenging the accepted state positions on ethnicity and citizenship. He received a six-month suspended sentence in 2005 for “insulting Turkishness.” Dink was shot outside the Agos newspaper offices in downtown Istanbul on Friday. In an unpublished interview last year, when asked about his time spent in Turkish courtrooms and what were the limits to what one can write and say, Dink responded that if one was willing to accept the risks, there were no limits.

EU shocked, US concerned over killing

The United States expressed concern over the murder in Istanbul of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, and the European Union urged Turkey to carry out a full investigation into the assassination.
"Clearly this is a tragic incident," US State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters when asked about Dink. Casey said that while he had no information on who was responsible and that Turkish authorities were still investigating the shooting, Dink's slaying "does raise some concerns" for the US.
In Brussels, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn expressed shock over killing and urged Turkish authorities to carry out a full probe to shed light on the murder. "I am shocked and saddened by this brutal act of violence," Rehn said. "I trust that the Turkish authorities will fully investigate this crime and will bring the perpetrators to justice."
The Armenian government condemned Dink's murder. "We categorically condemn this act regardless of the circumstances and call on the Turkish authorities to do everything to identify those responsible," said Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian. Zaman 20.01.2007




For Hrant
Yavuz BAYDAR

My grief is very, very deep. I have lost a wonderful friend and a courageous colleague.
Could we see it coming?
I remember an evening, months ago, in a restaurant. The infamous Pamuk trial had ended in tumult, with Orhan Pamuk leaving the Şişli Courthouse followed by an angry mob.

That evening we were all together in a display of solidarity for Pamuk, authors, intellectuals, artists and journalists.

One moment we were by ourselves: Orhan, Hrant and I.
Deeply worried, I told Orhan that he really should watch himself. “In Turkey, we have a dark record of mistreating intellectuals,” I said. “Just remember Sabahattin Ali, Uğur Mumcu, Ahmet Taner Kışlalı, Musa Anter, Çetin Emeç, İpekçi... Be careful.”

Orhan was affected: he seemed to share my concern. But Hrant swiftly retorted “We shouldn’t worry, they wouldn’t dare”. And when Orhan moved away from us, he whispered in my ear: “Whatever happens, happens. I know where we live.”

He had a great heart, Hrant. He never concealed his emotions, even in the most heated debates. I remember cautioning him on this. But at the same time, those who know Hrant will tell you how much he loved to tell the truth, how he loved to be bold and how much he loved his native Turkey and his brothers in Armenia. Because he sought reconciliation through truth, he was hated by hardliners both sides. He was a target.
I may have lost a friend, but we all know the process of tolerance, peace and understanding has lost one of its staunchest defenders. His dream was a Turkey at peace with its past, and a Turkey with free speech.

May his great soul rest in peace.
20.01.200 ZAMAN




NYTIMES January 19, 2007
ISTANBUL— The editor of Turkey’s only Armenian-language newspaper was assassinated today on an Istanbul street.

The editor, Hrant Dink, 53, was convicted last year of insulting the Turkish state and identity because of comments he made about the mass deaths of ethnic Armenians before World War I in what is now Turkey — events that Armenians and many foreign historians say was genocide by the Ottoman army, but the Turkish government denies took place.

Mr. Dink also criticized ethnic Armenians abroad for trying to make official Turkish recognition of those events a precondition for Turkish entry into the European Union, but that stance attracted less attention.
 This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com © pix  This content mirrored from TurkishArmenians http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com © pix

Mr. Dink was leaving the office of his newspaper, Agos, in the Sisli district of Istanbul early in the afternoon when he was gunned down in front of the building by one or more assailants, the semiofficial Anatolian News Agency reported today.

Nuran Agan, 47, a colleague of Mr. Dink’s at Agos, sounded shaken as she described an ordinary day before he left the office. “I heard three gunshots after he left, but never associated it with him,” Ms. Agan said.

When she rushed downstairs to find out what had happened, she saw Mr. Dink lying in a pool of blood on the ground with a bullet wound in the back of his head.

“He received lots of threats, and had requested protection.” Ms. Agan said.

Television images broadcast live from the scene of the incident showed large crowds gathered nearby behind police cordons, and Mr. Dink’s body lying on the ground, awaiting the arrival of ambulances delayed by the traffic clogging the busy commercial district around the office.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a written statement condemning the attack. Later in the day, the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said in a broadcast news conference that the killing was a direct attack on Turkey’s peace and stability.

“A bullet was fired at freedom of thought and democratic life in Turkey,” Mr. Erdogan said.

Witnesses told the police that they saw a young man in a white cap running away immediately after the shots were fired, according to a news report on NTV television. The police said they had detained two suspects in central Istanbul in connection with the attack.

Mr. Dink was prosecuted late last year under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, a controversial provision that makes negative remarks about Turkishness or the Turkish state a crime. It has been used to try several prominent intellectuals in recent years, and has been criticized by the European Union as an infringement on free speech.

An Istanbul court interpreted several comments Mr. Dink made as an insult to the Turkish identity. It sentenced him to six months in jail and then suspended the sentence.

In a recent article in Agos, Mr. Dink complained that extreme nationalists opponents were casting him as an enemy of Turks, and said the increasing threats against him were weighing on him.

“I do not know how real these threats are, but what’s really unbearable is the psychological torture that I’m living in,” he wrote. “Like a pigeon, turning my head up and down, left and right, my head quickly rotating.”

Haluk Sahin, a columnist for Radikal, a newspaper that has strongly supported Mr. Dink’s legal struggle as an intellectual, said that Turkey had been hit right in the heart by his murder.

“Those who wanted to harm Turkey couldn’t have chosen a better target,” Mr. Sahin said. “As opposed to other killings in the past, Turkish public reaction against this murder will show us where Turkey stands in the world.”

Shortly after the shooting, crowds gathered in front of Mr. Dink’s office and chanted “Shoulder to shoulder against fascism” and “We are all Hrant, we are all Armenians.”

NTV reported that the police are reviewing surveillance-camera videotapes from retail shops in the block in the hope that they recorded images of the suspects described by witnesses.


ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) — Journalist Hrant Dink, one of the most prominent voices of Turkey's shrinking Armenian community, was killed by a gunman Friday at the entrance to his newspaper's offices, police said.

Dink, a 53-year-old Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, had gone on trial numerous times for speaking out about the mass killings of Armenians by Turks at the beginning of the 20th century. He had received threats from nationalists, who viewed him as a traitor.

Dink was a public figure in Turkey, and as the editor of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, one of the country's most prominent Armenians.

His murder drew international condemnation from Europe, Armenia, the United States and numerous media freedom and human rights organizations. Thousands of Turks marched down the street where he was killed, blocking traffic, carrying posters of Dink and shouting slogans in favor of free expression.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said that in the past 15 years, "18 Turkish journalists have been killed for their work, many of them murdered, making it the eighth deadliest country in the world for journalists."

"Like dozens of other Turkish journalists, Dink has faced political persecution for his work and now appears to have paid the ultimate price for it," CPJ Middle East Program Coordinator Joel Campagna said. "Turkish authorities must ensure that this crime, like past ones, does not go unpunished."

In his last column for Agos, Dink complained that he had become famous as an enemy of Turks and wrote of threats against him. He said he had received no protection from authorities despite his complaints.

"My computer's memory is loaded with sentences full of hatred and threats," Dink wrote. "I am just like a pigeon ... I look around to my left and right, in front and behind me as much as it does. My head is just as active."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a news conference after the killing, vowed to catch those responsible and called the slaying an attack on Turkey's unity.

Erdogan said he had appointed top officials from the justice and security ministries to investigate the killing, and that two suspects had been arrested in Istanbul. The suspects were later released because they had no relationship to the crime, news reports said.

In an interview with The Associated Press in October 2005, Dink cried as he talked about some of his fellow countrymen's hatred for him, saying he could not stay in a country where he was unwanted.

"I'm living together with Turks in this country," Dink had said as he contemplated his trial. "I don't think I could live with an identity of having insulted them in this country ... if I am unable to come up with a positive result, it will be honorable for me to leave this country."

His friend Can Dundar, also a journalist, said he wished Dink had left, as he once promised to do in the face of threats, protests and legal proceedings opened against him.

"Hrant's body is lying on the ground as if those bullets were fired at Turkey," Dundar told private NTV television.

Turkey's relationship with its Armenian community is fraught with tension, controversy and painful memories of a brutal past. Much of Turkey's once-sizeable Armenian population was killed or driven out beginning around 1915 in what an increasing number of countries are recognizing as the first genocide of the 20th century.

Turks vehemently deny that their ancestors committed genocide, however, and saying so is tantamount here to treason. In the 1970s and 1980s, tensions were further inflamed as dozens of Turkish diplomats were killed by Armenian assassins seeking attention and revenge.

Turkey, which is 99% Muslim, and Armenia, which claims to be the first country to officially adopt Christianity, share a border, but it is closed and the two countries have no formal diplomatic relations.

Dink's body could be seen lying face down and draped with a white cover on the sidewalk in front of the newspaper's entrance. NTV said four empty shell casings were found on the ground and that he was killed by two bullets to the head.

A large crowd gathered around the shooting site as police cordoned off the area. Workers at the newspaper, including Dink's brother, who had also been put on trial in Turkey, could be seen weeping and being consoled by others near his fallen body.

Dink had been convicted of trying to influence the judiciary in 2005 after Agos ran stories criticizing a law making it a crime to insult Turkey, the Turkish government or the Turkish national character.

The conviction was rare even in a country where trials of journalists, academics and writers have become common. Most of the cases, including that of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk last year, were either dropped on a technicality or lead to acquittals.

Fehmi Koru, a columnist at the Yeni Safak newspaper, said the killing was aimed at destabilizing Turkey.

"His loss is the loss of Turkey," Koru said. Dozens of other journalists, many of them friends of Dink, publicly condemned the killing. Broadcasters on CNN-Turk and NTV, two of the major news stations, called it "shameful," "saddening" and "embarrassing."

Dink had complained in a letter that he received no response even after complaining to authorities about threats of violence, NTV reported.

A colleague at Dink's newspaper, Aydin Engin, said Dink had attributed the threats to elements in the "deep state," a Turkish term used for alleged shadowy, fiercely nationalist and powerful elements embedded in the government and security establishment.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry released a statement quickly after the shooting Friday saying it was deeply saddened by the killing.

"The actor or actors will be caught in the shortest possible time and delivered to justice," the statement vowed. The Foreign Ministry offered condolences to the people of Turkey, its press, and particularly to the Armenian community and Dink's family.

Dink ended his last column by predicting that 2007 would be a difficult year, but that he would survive it.

"For me, 2007 is likely to be a hard year. The trials will continue, new ones will be started. Who knows what other injustices I will be up against," he wrote.

By SEBNEM ARSU




19 January 2007
Hrant Dink assassinated in a dastardly Plot
Our pain and sorrow are endless


We, the members of Turkish-American community, condemn this cowardly and dastardly murder in the strongest way possible with words and convey our deep sorrow and heartfelt condolences to the victim’s family, friends, and loved ones.

We consider those bullets fired on Dink to actually aim at human rights, freedom of speech, Turkey, Turkey’s democracy and unity and condemn the dark forces behind those bullets.

We learned with sadness (from the NTV satellite broadcast via www.dfhnet.com ) that Hrant Dink, editor of Agos newspaper published in Istanbul and a prominent member of the Turkish-Armenian community, has been killed. The assassination took place as Dink was leaving the Agos building (apparently temporarily as he had left his hat and coat in his office.) According to eyewitnesses, an 18-19 year old man wearing a white hat and blue jeans fired four bullets at Dink in close range. Three of those bullets hit Dink in his head and neck killing him on the spot. The killer then ran away, not neglecting to shout “Don’t Speak!” (to the police), in an apparent attempt to scare the eyewitnesses into silence. According to police, a suspect fitting this description was caught in Taksim, a district only a mile or two down the road from Sisli, the crime scene.

Hrant Dink’s lawyer, Erdal Dogan, stated in a phone interview with NTV anchor that Dink did alert the Sisli District Attorney about the threats Dink had received but that Dink did not ask for body guards. Indeed. Dink did write about the threats he had received in his latest article and described the situation he was in with the phrase “Dovish nervousness of the state of my soul.”

In a move of incredible speed and sensitivity, the President of Turkey, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, immediately declared the event “ugly and shameful” and that he condemned it.

Prime Minister Erdogan, in his speech of condolences, also condemned the event and called it a move against the unity of Turkey. Turkish Interior Minister Aksu and Justice Minister Cicek were on their way to the crime scene as soon as they heard the assassination. Statements of shock and sadness form all media personalities kept pouring in. Grieving citizens created huge crowds at the crime scene and shouted slogans condemning killer(s). As one can see, Turkey from its highest levels of government to it widest base of citizenry sincerely condemned this assassination and mobilized for the immediate capture of the perpetrator(s).

Now expect to see unfounded and unjustified attack on Turkey totally ignoring the above. I-told-you-so editorials and/or op-ed pieces will flood the media and full scale demonizing of Turkey will be attempted.

This assassination gave those already hostile to Turkey a great opportunity to bad mouth Turkey, as if the crime committed by one citizen can be attributed to a whole country.

Because of this murder, the U.S. Congress, for the first time ever in its history, might be tempted to accept as fact those baseless Armenian allegations of genocide (I hope this doesn’t happen, otherwise the Turkish-American relations would be seriously and permanently damaged. Turkish pride and honor can never be fodder to America’s arrogant and ignorant local politics.)

The French government may be pressured into rethink its position no to send that comical law banning freedom of speech on Turkish-Armenian conflict, the infamous denial law, to the Senate which is expected to approve it (Again, I hope this doesn’t happen, because Turkish-French relations will be seriously and permanently damaged. France still owes an apology to Turks for invading Anatolia during WWI, raining death and destruction on Turks, and destroying thousand year of peaceful-cohabitation of Turks and Armenians in Anatolia by using neighbor-against-neighbor approach. With this law, French politicians would be adding insult to the historic pain and suffering they inflicted on Turks. )

The “secret embargo and censorship” applied to Turkish views on the Armenian issue in the West would be more open and more wide-spread now. This assassination, no matter how it is viewed or who committed it, is like a heinous dagger put in the back of Turkey. Viewed in this light, one cannot help wondering if this assassination is organized by some anti-Turks. Time will reveal this. When the suspects are caught and turned over to the wheels of justice, the dark forces behind this crime will also be revealed. That’s our wish, hope, and expectation.

As proud and brave members of a dignified and honorable nation which succeeded in keeping the brotherhood and citizenship bonds between the Turkish-Armenians and Turks even after many years of international Armenian terrorism and losing numerous martyrs, we hope that the perpetrators of this hate crime will be captured and brought before justice; convey our condolences and sympathies to Hrant Dink’s family, friends, and loved ones; and wish patience and strength to surviving family members, friends, and indeed, the entire Turkish nation.

With our deepest love and respect,

Ergun KIRLIKOVALI
www.turkla.com




We are denouncing the murder of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul. We hope and pray that the Turkish murderer is caught swiftly and brought to justice. This is indeed very sad because the anniversary of the murder of the Turkish Consul General by an Armenian murderer, in the USA, on the 27th of January is just a few days away.

Let it be known that we condemn in no uncertain terms acts of terror against innocent individuals, be it by Turks or Armenians. Nobody has the right to take away life, nor does anybody have the right to distort history for self gain. May all evil doers rot in hell.

We denounce in strongest possible terms the terrorists and the acts of terror against innocent persons.
Especially the following committed by Turkish or Armenian terrorists:

Istanbul, 19 January, 2007 murder of Hrant Dink by Turkish terrorists
Melbourne, 23 November, 1986 bombing by Armenian terrorists
Paris, December , 1985 bombing by Armenian terrorists
Paris, 28 November, 1985 arrest of Armenian terrorist
Brussels, November, 1985 arrest of Armenian terrorists
Toronto, 26 March, 1985 Armenian terrorist threat
Ottowa, 12 March, 1985 murder by Armenian terrorists
Paris, 3 March, 1985 threat by Armenian terrorists
Beirut, 3 January 1985, bombing by Armenian terrorists
Paris, 29 December, 1984 threat by Armenian terrorists
Beirut, 20 December, 1984 bombings by Armenian terrorists
Brussels, December 1984 attempted bombings by Armenian terrorists
Vienna, 19 November 1984 murder by Armenian terrorists
Istanbul, 3 September 1984 demise of Armenian terrorists

+ 177 other International acts of terrorism by Armenian terrorists causing death of innocent Turkish diplomats and non-Turkish by standers*

starting with,

California, 27 January 1973 Murder of Turkish Consul General Mehmet Baydar and Consul Bahadir Demir by the Armenian terrorist Georgeu Yanikian

May God grant us peace and tranquility here and hereafter.
British European Turk NGOs serving the community.. Social Engineering in progress!

* source Erich Feigl 'A Myth of Terror'

British European Turk NGOs serving the community.. Social Engineering in progress!




We are in the deep sorrow to hear that Hrant Dink, the editor-in chief of Agos newspaper, lost his life as a result of an armed attack. On behalf of The Turkish Forum, World Turkish Alliance and The World Turkish Congress we offer our condolences to his familiy and all of his dear friends.

Dr. Kayaalp Buyukataman, President Dr. Ata Erim, President
The Turkish Forum, World Turkish Alliance World Turkish Congress




Hrant Dink, 1954-2007

I am shocked and truly saddened to hear that Hrant Dink, the publisher and editor in chief of the Turkish-Armenian weekly AGOS has been assasinated in Istanbul by perpetrators still unknown.

I did not know Mr. Dink, nor did I read his paper but, as a former journalist who once used to work for the Turkish media, I am very disturbed to hear that one more Turkish journalist has been killed God knows by whom and for what kind of nefarious reasons.

But, having lived in the United States for over 30 years I'm sure of one thing: this murder will hurt Turkey big time from a human rights and freedom of expression point of view as well as in terms of the future of the Turkish-Armenian and Turkish-American relations in a year when a lot of observers expect the Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress to adopt an "Armenian Genocide Resolution."

May he rest in peace and God help Turkey.

*** Who was Hrant Dink?

Hrant Dink was born in Malatya (the city of two Turkish presidents -- Ismet Inonu and Turgut Ozal), on September 15, 1954. After his family moved to Istanbul in 1961, his parents divorced.

After his family's breakup, Hrant and his two siblings were raised by the Armenian Orphanage in Gedikpasa, Istanbul.

After high school, Hrant finished the Istanbul University's Science Faculty with a degree in zoology. He married Rakel, a childhood friend from the orphanage. Hrant served 8 months with the Turkish Naval Infantry Regiment in Denizli to satisfy his military service requirement, which is mandatory for all Turkish males.

He started to publish the Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper AGOS on April 5, 1966 to establish a bridge of communication and understanding between the larger Turkish population and the Turkish-Armenian community which he complained was living too isolated an existence.

In the columns he wrote both for Agos (circulation about 5,000) and the religious-conservative daily Zaman published by the Fetullah Gulen group, Dink called upon the Armenian Diaspora to adopt a more conciliatory approach by not using the term "genocide" when referring to the events of 1915. He was tried in October 2005 for "insulting Turkey" and sentenced to 6 months.

*** 62nd Turkish journalist assasinated

Hrant Dink is the 62nd Turkish journalist murdered since the 1909 murder of Hasan Fehmi Bey.

Another relatively recent murder that created much controversy and indignation in Turkey was the killing of journalist and writer Ahmet Taner Kislali in 1999.

Other assassinations of journalists that rocked Turkey in the past are:

Abdi Ipekçi (1979), Umit Kaftancioglu (1980), Sami Basaran (1989), Çetin Emeç (1990), Musa Anter (1992), Ugur Mumcu (1993), Metin Göktepe (1996), Kutlu Adali (1996), Ahmet Taner Kislali (1999), Hrant Dink (2007).

http://tork.blogspot.com




We were deeply saddened to hear that Turkish journalist Hrant Dink who was of Armenian descent and the editor of Agos newspaper, has lost his life as a result of a senseless and violent attack.

On behalf of the Federation of Turkish Associations UK, we strongly condemn any form of violence and offer our condolences to his family, friends and to everyone in the Turkish and Armenian communities.

THE FEDERATION OF TURKISH ASSOCIATION IN UK



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