1377) Fascism . . . Murder . . Optimistic Future

  1. Hostility to Turks Runs in Armenians’ Blood www.zerkalo.az
  2. We are all orphans ISABELLE KORTIAN
  3. In the aftermath of Dink: The role of media YAVUZ BAYDAR "I was influenced by what I read"?
  4. Suggestions for a post-Dink Turkey IHSAN YILMAZ
  5. Furby lessons... AYSE KARABAT
  6. Turkey's two faces exposed by death of Hrant Dink SACHA GÜNEY
  7. Behold! The number of evil is still 666, not 301 KERİM BALCI
  8. A funeral that brought grief and reconciliation
  9. Going up? ANDREW FINKEL
  10. Article 301 and its European cousins Semih İdiz
  11. Turks, Armenians to walk hand in hand in Paris Ali Ihsan Aydin Paris
  12. Why was Hrant Dink killed? by MÜMTAZ'ER TÜRKÖNE
  13. A promising Armenian questionnaire ABDULHAMIT BILICI
  14. A funeral the world should draw lessons from MEHMET KAMIS
  15. Are we all Armenians? M. NEDIM HAZAR
  16. Slogans during Dink's funeral become matter of controversy FATMA DISLI
  17. Erdoğan noncommittal on changes to Article 301
  18. Letters to the editor / TDN
  19. Where were you when Dink was alive?: John Growe İzmir, Turkey
  20. Why not accept history and move on?: Gordon Peterson United States
  21. Çiçek must not become minister of injustice: Willard Gibbs New Haven, Connecticut, United States
  22. Dink murder: A Catharsis or a test? CENGİZ ÇANDAR
  23. The Armenian surprise at the Turkish reaction:
  24. Beware of the boomerang effect:
  25. Humans are not insects, why nationalize them? CALEB LAUER
  26. Turkish Press Yesterday /TDN Dink murder makes its mark on TÜSİAD congress:
  27. TÜSİAD-MHP row heightens tension:
  28. Logistic support still a mystery:
  29. Double polls; double crisis Yusuf KANLI
  30. Time for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation Armen Darbinyan
  31. What others say /TDN The rulers and the ruled: Yücel SARPDERE, Evrensel
  32. What does ‘we are all Armenian' mean?: Fehmi KORU, Yeni Şafak
  33. The most revolutionary political party: Mehmet ALTAN, Star
  34. Confrontation: Erdal ŞAFAK, Sabah
  35. Not scared anymore Mehmet Ali Birand
  36. Authorities charge 6th suspect in Dink killing
  37. Week in review
  38. Tens of thousands mourn Dink:
  39. 'Peace for Armenia and Turkey.' But its participants skyrocketed since the murder of Hrant Dink
  40. Nationalist group warns of bomb attacks Hıdır Göktaş Reuters
  41. Turkey: No new developments with Armenia
  42. Trabzon governor, police chief removed from office due to journalist's killing Xinhua
  43. Nothing new in Armenian comments: Turkish Foreign Ministry
  44. Ankara Responds Sharply To Yerevan Comments
  45. The Proposal Of Establishing Diplomatic Relations With Armenia Devoid Of Any PreconditionsOmer Engin LUTEM
  46. Historian Eric Feigl, proved Armenian genocide to be untrue, died Austrian historian and writer, Professor Eric Feigl has died at 76 today, APA
  47. 'Mind-dazzling in crowds'
  48. TUSIAD: Don't let Dink killing, 301 derail Turkey
  49. Bullet for Dink, smear campaign against me! Ilnur Cevik
  50. Who could answer these questions?
  51. Ankara Bar asks who threatened Dink at Istanbul deputy governor's office
  52. Erdoğan offers condolences in person
  53. The prime minister also visis Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II
  54. I swear: I will name my son 'Hrant'EYÜP CAN *
  55. Armenian offer should not be rejected January 26, 2007 Mehmet Ali Birand
  56. Letters to the editor
  57. Turkish Press Yesterday January 26, 2007 Turkish Daily News How can he act this boldly?: Bahçeli rails against TUSİAD: Those who are afraid to admit they are Turks should pick up and leave, the nation exclaims: They made him read Mehmet II's edict:
  58. Armenian diaspora positively surprised at solidarity shown at Dink funeral:
  59. Businessmen and EC urge amendment to anti-free speech article
  60. Professor Nurshen Mazici: Recent happenings follow Armenia’s being uninvolved in Kars-Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi railway
  61. When Armenians killed Turkish diplomats no one said “We all are Turks” Bilal Shimshir: “Our Martyr diplomats” Author
  62. Turkey goes on diplomatic offensive against genocide allegations
  63. Pressure mounts on government to amend Article 301
  64. Turkish city grapples with violent record
  65. Official Ready to Re-examine Law Shielding Turks’ Identity
  66. The regrettable story of Article 301 GÖKSEL BOZKURT
  67. Killing brings the dark side of Turkish town into the light NICHOLAS BIRCH Globe and Mail
  68. Dink: Champion of freedom of expression
  69. 'A New Beginning' with Armenia ALI BULAC
  70. Political murders and state authority HUSEYIN GULERCE
  71. While things get more settled in politics BULENT KENES
  72. Acts and facts ALI H. ASLAN
  73. Strength in diversity NICOLE POPE
  74. Dink, on Turkish society and tolerance HASAN CELAL GÜZEL,
  75. Media and the Dink murder EMRE KONGAR,
  76. Micro-nationalism: How was it revived? CAN ATAKLI,
  77. Hrant Dink: "I have the right to die in the country I was born in" © 2005 RIA Novosti The journalist's last interview Ellen Rudnitsky and Mirko Schwanitz, International Organization of Journalists, two days before he was murdered.
  78. Death in Istanbul Financial Times
  79. Turk and Armenian: Hrant Dink and Talat Pasha Murders Sedat Laciner
  80. Armenia wants ties with Turkey: Armenian Deputy FM Kirakosyan was in Istanbul to attend the funeral of murdered Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink NTVMSNBC
  81. Murder and paranoia in Turkey © Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper
  82. Armenian historian: Turkey is not old enough to recognize its sins © 2005 RIA Novosti
  83. Politicians wanted! 25.01.2007 HASAN CEMAL
  84. If We Can’t Stop Racism By Tufan Turenc
  85. Editor's Death Spotlights Turkish Nationalism By Pelin Turgut
  86. Dink murder case must be solved. Because . . . EKREM DUMANLI
  87. Hrant Dink HUSEYIN GULERCE
  88. What to do after Hrant Dink? IHSAN DAGI
  89. Culture of violence IBRAHIM KALIN
  90. Dink’s funeral conveys his lifetime message of solidarity FATMA DISLI
  91. We now want our doves back
  92. The Trabzon file
  93. Armenia repeats call for unconditional dialogue
  94. [NewYorkTimes] Armenian-Turkish unity at slain editor’s funeral
  95. [Guardian] Turkey rises above its ultra-nationalists
  96. Hrant Dink and the culprits of his murder CENGIZ ÇANDAR
  97. Amendments to 301 possible, says Gül
  98. Gül: Ankara open to ties with Yerevan
  99. Fascism must be fought everywhere
  100. Mehmet Ali Birand EU murdered Dink:
  101. The regrettable story of Article GÖKSEL BOZKURT
  102. None of you are Hrant Dink! Ahmet KEKEÇ,
  103. The voice of silence: Fehmi KORU
  104. The shadow behind Ogün : Mehmet KAMIŞ
  105. Murders won't stop if we can't end racism: Tufan TÜRENÇ
  106. Turkish Press Yesterday
  107. TFF bans Dink murder protest
  108. Slain journalist commemorated in Washington ÜMİT ENGINSOY
  109. Meet the monster: Turkish fascism MUSTAFA AKYOL
  110. Mesrob II weeps at mass for Dink
  111. Trabzon circle of suspects widens; Ogun Samast says "I am sorry I killed him"
  112. Taner Akcam: The real murderers are among the leading circles of Turkey ArmRadio.am
  113. Just a murderer?
  114. Goodbye, Hrant...
  115. The culture of lynching
  116. We are Hrant; we are human beings
  117. Themes of peace and coexistence at funeral
  118. Who attended the funeral
  119. *Goodbye Hrant, we are all Armenians Mınasparov Hrant Polorıs Hay Yenk*
  120. Honor his legacy, give back the deed
  121. Everbody has a different killer for Hrant Dink BURAK BEKDIL
  122. Turkish politicians avoid at funeral
  123. Return of Dink's childhood camp legally conflicted REFERANS
  124. Çiçek: 301 debate on hold as Dink laid to rest TDN
  125. No, let's talk 301 today... Yusuf KANLI
  126. Leaders fail the test M.Ali BIRAND
  127. Curse Terrorism Sabah
  128. Paying Tribute To Hrant Dink (Serpil Karacan Sellars)
  129. Yerevan Optimistic On Ties
. .

Hostility to Turks Runs in Armenians’ Blood

Former Turkish President, Suleyman Demirel, told so during exclusive interview for APA.
- It is very likely that US Congress will adopt draft bill on “genocide of Armenians”. How do you evaluate present situation?

- Armenians continue demonstrating hostility to Turkey and Turks all over the world. In fact the main goal of Armenians of the world is hostile attitude to Turks. They wash off the traces of their deeds. Armenians killed over 50 Turkish diplomats and thousands people in Nagorni Garabagh. Armenian armies haven’t been withdrawn from occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Nobody sees it in the world. The only event that world community notices is the one happened 90 years ago in the course of World War I and engraved on the history.

Up today attempts of Armenians to accuse Turkey of “genocide of Armenians” failed in the US Congress. This time adoption of the draft bill is expected. During recent elections held in USA, democrats won majority of seats in the Congress. Even if such decision is taken I think it will have no importance as it is impossible to enforce it. It is social fight. I hope US President will prevent adoption of the bill.

But even if in present situation President fails to prevent adoption he is able to veto. Turkey got used to such things as our country exists in the world owing to its own strength. We don’t want to be enemies of world community. But we should stand our ground within the fight against unjust. It is impossible to solve this issue in some other way. In actual fact politicians want to do what history has to do. Historical evaluations should be given to the events of 90 years old. Unfortunately politicians take decision instead historians.

- Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey called “Armenian issue” as important one, threatening for Turkey. What threat is talked of?

- Creation of social hostility in global scale is considerable threat for us. And how it harms Turkish interests is separate issue. Of course Turkey has to stand it. We have no choice.

- Government made number of proposals to Armenia in connection with genocide, but Armenians gave no positive answer. How do you evaluate policy of “softening” regarding Yerevan?

- They want to continue policy of slander that has been carried out for years, but not to solve any problem. Even if someone realizes their intensions Armenians will find new grounds and covers for slander. Slander runs in their blood.

- How Turkey and Azerbaijan should consolidate their forces to fight this policy of slander and occupation?

- Azerbaijan and Turkey have already consolidated their forces. We can go on even having no friends but Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan can do the same. We are one nation living in two countries. We are always together and continuing our way.

We are all orphans
A few days before Hrant Dink's murder, I visited Agos and sat in his office. He talked for a long time about the article he was preparing, which was his last article and will remain as his political testament. He explained to me why he has been the only person to be condemned by article 301 of the new penal code.

I explained to him why he was a target for all these people who do not want things to change.
Hrant is dead. I lost a unique friend but we are all orphans. Turkey is an orphan, Armenia is an orphan, and its Diaspora too.

I immediately came back in İstanbul, after I heard the tragic news. Not only to attend Hrant Dink's funerals. Not only to share tears and sadness with Armenian friends, with Turkish friends, with each member of Agos's team and his family. I came back because Hrant Dink invited me to come to İstanbul and to Turkey in order to see the situation in a more concrete manner. As a person from the diaspora, having no relatives here, I have for a long time considered the life of the Armenian community in İstanbul abstractly.

Tuesday, what a long day that was, and what a strange and historical day in Turkey. A hundred thousand people in the streets walking behind Hrant Dink's coffin with cards on which was written: "We are all Hrant Dink. We are all Armenians," while people from the windows testified with a gesture their last farewell to Hrant Dink, their compassion with whom we were walking. Who could have imagined such a thing just 10 years before? I realized the great job Hrant Dink made inside Turkish society in order to awaken consciousness. Something happened like an earthquake. Hrant Dink was right to refuse violence, intolerance and he was trying to convince everybody that our common fight was first of all, a fight for democracy.

He knew the words to touch and sensitize civil society. He knew that Turkish society was able to understand what injustice is, and for that reason he was engaged in a process to eradicate violence, and prevent any kind of return of fascist behavior. I would like to say thank you to all the people who walked for Hrant Dink on Tuesday. I want to say them how touched I have been to see that his message has been heard. The immense dignity of the ceremony from the morning until the evening showed that there is a way to mutual comprehension and that we have to work in direction of a dialogue, the refusal of mutual hate, and the respect of the dignity of each citizen of this country. Yes, Hrant Dink has been assassinated because of article 301 and the irresponsible campaign of hatred orchestrated against him, but now everybody has to ask to himself why precisely a Turkish Armenian died. With a big irony of history, on Tuesday, for the first time since 30 years people were walking from Osmanbey where the Agos weekly is located, in the direction of Taksim because that question was in their minds.

This is as yet an unavoidable question, a difficult question but a question we cannot escape. I will never forget this Tuesday and what I saw this day. The dignity of the crowd which gave homage to Hrant Dink. The commemoration he deserved because he was incarnated a voice of conscience in this country. Hrant Dink never wanted to leave Turkey and to live maybe in a perhaps more comfortable situation in a foreign country. He wanted to stay here, in his beloved country, and has been all his life engaged in a process of consolidation of democracy and state of law. I will never forget this day because it gave me courage.

After the tragic event of his murder, I could have the temptation to say to myself: "so it is, close the chapter, there is nothing to hope, no change will ever come, this is a desperate question." But on Tuesday, I saw a light of hope when realizing that all the people walking for him, known or unknown, felt themselves so much concerned by what happened to Hrant Dink, by what he had written and said. I thought that he began a tremendous work which he did not have time to achieve but which will continue after him. I interpreted so many signs of solidarity like the expression of a recognition toward the decisive impulse he gave to so many problems still not resolved in that country. I interpret the reactions after the shock of his murder as a proof that he has convinced a great part of civil society that he was really engaged for the future of his state, for a common desire to share together a common future, a common desire of universal values. This has been possible because he was not only engaged against discrimination committed against his community, but also against other communities and in favor of democracy and truth.

On Tuesday every detail during the burial ceremony was a confirmation of the decisive political role Hrant Dink played in his country. This is my impression, maybe a subjective one, as any impression is, but to speak on Tuesday is for me to take into account that solidarity of people crying: 'We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant Dink' doesn't mean anything else but to realize how important is his contribution in the democratization of the minds in his country. I hope the process will be irreversible, a long process, but an irreversible one. To tell the truth, the crowd yesterday showed that they aren't intimated by the murder of Hrant Dink. If the meaning of the murder of Hrant Dink was to set an "example" because this man crossed the red lines by not staying in his assigned place as a silent community member, the sympathy expressed by people after his assassination shows that public opinion no more accepts such warning.

By identifying themselves to the Armenians of Turkey, people intend to say that they are not accepting a difference of statute between majority and minorities and that they want for their country the democracy it deserves. At the very moment of the history, Hrant Dink has been a symbol of engagment for democracy, truth and liberty of expression. He had the sense of political judgment. As very few Armenians had, he had the geopolitical vision of the Armenian world, and of the importance of normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. He knew of the importance for Turkey of the opening of the process of accession with the European Union.

As very few Armenians, he was really concerned by democracy and its implementation in the whole region because he knew that this was the key element for stabilization of the whole region. He wanted many, many things: the best for his country, for the region and for the world, with a moral integrity which impressed everybody and a strong determination. He has been a man of great moral substance in a world lacking it.

He paid for his courage. But I have still the hope that he did not die in vain: on Tuesday I saw the volume and the capacity of resistance to ultra-nationalists propaganda, and clear consciousness of the danger it represents. To everybody it was obvious that article 301 really killed him. Turkey doesn't need such an article to protect its identity, but Turkey has to protect its citizen against fascists. This was the implicit political message of people gathered on Tuesday in memory of Hrant Dink.

Kortain is an analyst at Geostrategy Center, ENS, Paris.


In the aftermath of Dink: The role of medıa

"I was influenced by what I read"?

That sentence of Ogün Samast, now charged with the murder of Hrant Dink, struck me as I went through his confession. I decided not to believe it in the end. After all, a 16-year-old cannot be so keen a reader of the Turkish press that he would throw himself into such a heinous act.

Thus, my conclusion: If not him, somebody else, obviously, was affected by the media.
It was certainly a chain of influences and manipulation down the pyramid. Somebody reading a hateful article about the victim or -- more easily -- watching a TV debate, where somebody cursing him, insulting him, making him an easy bait for the vultures.

If you would do an inquiry about the share of the guilt on who else is behind the murder, few people here would deny the methods and approach of Turkish press as a bad influence. And you would find that a lot of honest colleagues within the press corps agree with it.

Segments of the mainstream press and media are seriously to blame for the tragic effects of the mistreatment of dissenting voices that have come out openly in order to question many sensitive issues in past years. Those voices, most of them intellectuals and journalists themselves, have been portrayed as "traitors," which became an even more popular description for people who were often deliberately set as soft targets for prosecution and, in extreme cases, for the evil forces.

There have been many examples of this before, but lately, the most spectacular case was Orhan Pamuk, Nobel laureate in literature last year. There are still those of you who, I am sure, believe that he was charged under Article 301 for "denigrating Turkishness" by the prosecutors just out of the blue. You are quite wrong. It was after an extended, insistent, sensational campaign by one of the highest-selling newspapers in the country.

Although the author desperately told other media that his words (he had said to a Swiss magazine that "around a million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in this country" and that only he himself could talk about it) were taken out of context (actually he had become irritated at the insinuations of the reporter and had snapped angrily without thinking so much about the formulation itself, as he told us later), and he was attacked fiercely by a very large number of columnists who called him this and that and asked him to apologize.

In a couple of days after the first news pieces had broken in that paper, Turkey had a new "traitor" to spit on: one of its greatest young writers who was enjoying high respect around the world.

The same attitude applied to Dink. He was mocked, ridiculed, threatened, asked to "correct himself," slandered openly. Some half-ignorant TV presenters even tried to question him on an issue he was expert on, provoked him by acting as if they were not journalists but propagandists of only one side. I watched a couple of these shows and could not help but feel deep pity on the level of poor knowledge on one of Turkey's most burning issues. The intention was not to listen to his version, his narrative of history, but only to invalidate it to the appeasement of a public whose need was actually more cold facts, even if they were unpleasant.

These examples, the latter bringing deep tragedy and horrible consequences to this country, point to one of the deepest problems in Turkey. Journalism, as conducted here, becomes a dangerous tool for whipping up emotions, often ending in fanning the hatred, causing provocations against views people might find disturbing about the image, past, internal conflicts, ethnic strife and neighborly relations of the country because all of them are related to the burning issue of nationalism -- instead of patriotism, in a positive sense -- revealing fears and rage instead of triggering tolerance, curiosity and empathy.

It is a scene of confusion and aggressiveness. There are strong lessons for Turkish editors to learn: They must adopt a fresh attitude of demanding, in unison, that all articles -- not only 301 -- that limit free speech must be amended; they must stop declaring people with "challenging" views -- even if they contain nonsense, baseless arguments -- "villains" to be silenced to whatever price. And they must keep in mind that only through showing respect for dissent, the press here can guide the people of Turkey to calm down and respect "the other." You cannot kill the idea by killing people who express it. This has happened all too often, and it must stop. With the help of civilized journalism?

Suggestions for a post-Dink Turkey
After the horrible assassination of Hrant Dink, the Turkish elite have discussed a wide range of motives for the assassination. On one end of the spectrum we had the so-called conspiracy theories; on the other, we have a 17-year-old boy who was depressed by what Dink wrote.

We may never know the truth, especially in a post-Susurluk, post-Semdinli Turkey. Yet if Turkey intelligently looks into every possible reason behind the assassination, the Turkish public -- including our Armenian citizens -- will be satisfied, and it will be Turkey that will gain from this exercise. Let's look at a few possible scenarios for the assassination and discuss what Turkey should do assuming one of the reasons is actually true. Remember: this list is not exhaustive.

1. It was the work of a depressed boy, acting alone, with divorced parents in a remote, poor region badly influenced by his nationalist environment, friends and the media's coverage of Dink: Assuming that this is true, the state should try to eradicate poverty in the region, listen to the concerns of locals and put proper intelligence in place. The media and political elite, including some members of the government, should take an honest look at their unhealthy nationalism. Security forces should ask why they could not see the obvious, did not take proper precautions and wonder who could be next.

2. It was the work of the "deep state": No one knows if the "deep state" is a myth or if it is "deep" at all. Turkey desperately needs to quash the deep state, real or unreal. The usual suspects, including retired government officials, should be effectively surveilled, prosecutors should be as vigilant in expressing their opinions as they were in prosecuting Dink and others who threatened Turkishness or the Turkish state. The government should overcome the Semdinli syndrome.

3. It was the work of ultranationalists: The remedy is to stay away from nationalist rhetoric, monitor the usual suspects, speed up EU reforms, improve democracy, increase the freedom of expression and change the state-centric, security-obsessed constitution, laws and policies with ones that value freedom, citizens and individuals. We should embrace plurality and diversity as virtues, not burdens. Furthermore, we must underline again and again how the EU process is, for the time being, in the best interests of Turkey -- excluding some of the elite -- and how the process has helped Turkey to be a freer, more democratic and prosperous country.

4. It was the work of the Armenian diaspora: Turkish state or semi-official organizations should open dialogue with the diaspora, organize friendship tours for them to Turkey where they can see that Turks are humans, too, and that Turkish-Armenians are respected and comfortable. If the latter is not true as far as the state's actions are concerned it should be made true as soon as possible. I do not think any civil institution would dare organize these trips for fear of being labeled a traitor so only the state can start the process.
5. It was the work of foreign powers that do not want a Turkey that is stable, more democratic, prosperous and regionally and internationally active: See numbers three and four. The solution is to be more active, both regionally and internationally, and this activism should be supported by cultural entrepreneurs and civil ambassadors.

Furby lessons...
It was so cute. This, not bigger than my hand, green eye, big ears talkative "thing" was so cute. They had versions in every colour. Ours was brown. I loved it. I have to admit, I bought it for myself more than for my daughter Hazal. At that time she was only 4 years old.

I am talking about our unfortunate Furby. Do you remember them? It seems an insult to refer to them as toys, but they were. They are not popular now, but when we had one, they were the new generation of toys. A piece of information for the ones who were never lucky enough to have one of them: Furbies were almost alive. The owner had to feed them, talk to them and love them, otherwise they would die.

Just like our poor Furby who died in the darkness. Our Furby died, because at that time, my four years old daughter locked it in a case. Hazal actually loved the Furby very much. When our Furby passed away, she cried a lot.
When we had the furby we were at the summer house in which there were many kids and the only thing they would do was to swim and play. Other kids were so enthusiastic about the furby that they were loosing their minds for it. Hazal was unhappy about this situation. She was jealous of the furby.

"They are making my furby bored. With their dirty hands they are making its fur sticky. Furby wants to stay alone, but these naughty kids don't give it any peace. It will have a headache," she would complain.
Hazal had two concerns about Furby; this is why she locked it.

This was her first concern. As a real lover of the Furby, Hazal was thinking that she knew the best for the Furby: It must be away from the dirty hands of other kids. Full stop.
Hazal's second concern was grandma.

Grandma used to try to feed anyone she caught. It could be one of our neighbors, it could be me, it could be the cats at the street or it could be Furby! Hazal was thinking that Furby should not eat vegetables, because it liked only French fries. So to lock it would save Furby from Grandma's veggies.

At that early age, Hazal learned that to love is actually not something related with possession. To love does not mean to be the sole owner of the loved one and we might not necessarily know the best for the ones that we love. But some big boys and girls are still acting in a way as if they did not take the lesson of the Furby.
Some people whose emotional ages are not more than four, are still acting in this way to their spouses, to their friends, to their family members and sometimes towards their ideologies, too.

They turn their most loved ones into poor Furbies. Some of them claim that they love their country and nation more than anyone else. In order to keep it away from the dirty hands of other 'kids,' they do not hesitate to lock it and even abandon it to certain death. They think that they know the best for it.
Recently, while everybody seems to be competing to hate each other and 'love the country' more than anyone else, the most respectful words came from the widow of Hrant Dink, the slain Turkish-Armenian journalist. "Whoever the killer, I know he was a baby once. Without questioning the darkness which turns babies into killers, we cannot succeed anything," Rakel Dink said.

Will questioning this darkness grant a lesson to those who think that they love Turkey more then any other?

Turkey's two faces exposed by death of Hrant Dink
They gathered early Tuesday morning and they shut down the street outside the Agos office building they were so many. A major artery in the heart of İstanbul closed because sidewalk to sidewalk it was near impossible to even move.

Mourners at Hrant Dink's funeral procession were so numerous, this city of 14 million's major boulevards could only contain the multitude by stretching out the crowd along a kilometre or two as they walked the almost ten kilometres from the scene of the crime to the small Armenian church in an old İstanbul quarter near the shores of the Marmara Sea.

The crowds seen on television screens may have looked impressive, but only those who know İstanbul and know and feel its great mass of traffic seize the city remorselessly every day, and were there on that morning, could only help but feel the sombre calm that had overtaken streets normally filled with thousands of grumbling, honking buses and cars.

Hrant's funeral was historic for many reasons. One marcher said he hadn't seen a crowd this big since 1996 May Day protests in Kadıköy where three people died in clashes with police. However, this was different he said; and indeed the size and character of the reaction was remarkable by any standards. My friend in the crowd also remarked that Hrant?s funeral stood out from other political murders in Turkey - a native Turk had died for defending the Armenian issue. It was a good point because this, as much as anything, is what lies behind his death; an Armenian born in Turkey daring to call himself both Armenian and Turkish. He was killed by the ghosts of history as much as by the ultranationalism of present-day Turkey. He was killed for talking about the Armenian past, his past, in the modern state of Turkey. Perhaps a better question is what made him a target, because many people talk about the issue in some form or the other. For that we can turn to Hrant himself and the last article he ever published for Agos newspaper.

"Those who tried to single me out, render me weak and defenseless" They managed, with the wrongful and polluted knowledge they injected into society, to form a significant segment of the population who came to view Hrant Dink as someone "denigrating Turkishness"."

"Denigrating Turkishness" is a crime of course, and under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code a suit was filed against Dink almost three years ago for a series of articles starting in February 2004. When arrested, Dink's alleged killer confessed that he had done it because he read that Dink had insulted Turks. In his last article, Hrant wrote: "In covering every hearing of the lawsuit, the newspaper items, editorials and television programs all attributed to me a remark that "the blood of the Turk is poisonous." Each and every time, they were adding to my fame as "the enemy of the Turk"."

It wasn't true of course, that he said that. The saddest, most hurtful irony is that his actual phrase was about a source of pain that "poisons the Armenian blood." Nevertheless, his actual words were never the issue, for that "source of pain" is the unspeakable in modern Turkey. Yet, how could he not talk about it. He had to define himself somehow. And for that he found it hard to escape the ghosts of history. "People who lived on this territory for 3,000 years, people who produced culture and civilization on this territory, were torn from the land they had lived on and those who survived were dispersed all over the world.

It was a thoughtful reflection on his roots in Turkey, his existence and his community. Earlier I said that a native Turk had died for defending the Armenian issue. This wasn't merely being provocative because he touched on ideas of identity, ethnicity and citizenship in this overwhelmingly Muslim but secular republic; and in doing so confronted the very ideas that in his words could make Turkey stronger and more democratic and "set an incredible example for Europe and the world." Hrant's life and work should stand for this.

His death, on the other hand, should stand for the abolishment of Article 301 and any law criminalizing peaceful opinion and thought. Abolishing 301, and not merely amending it as the government is talking about now, would be a measure of justice. It would also be a vindication of all those people who felt compelled to join the march on Tuesday. Some even came from other cities. How many couldn?t come but wanted to? Hrant?s death and the reaction it elicited made it clear that many people in Turkey, regardless of their religion or ethnic backgrounds, share the idea that a response to an idea cannot come from the barrel of a gun.

Long before last week's killing, Article 301 was already subject to much criticism and was made an important condition in Turkey?s EU membership negotiations. On a practical level, a law that says "insulting Turkishness" is a crime is wide open to interpretation, and as such, abuse. A newspaper article commenting on the way people drive in İstanbul could conceivably be deemed "insulting Turkishness." The existence of the law allowed the Turkish Union of Lawyers, the group who initiated criminal proceedings against Hrant and others including Orhan Pamuk and Elif Şafak, to argue that the defendants aimed to destroy the Turkish republic, and consequently they were given permission to level the most heinous charges against Hrant and his colleagues; charges that led to his killing.
All of this goes beyond merely "insulting Turkishness" or questioning official versions of history.

In my meeting with Hrant Dink last year, he told me that the use of the law to prosecute writers and journalists like himself was a means to an end. The people behind the prosecutions, their intent he said, was to show to the world there is no democracy in Turkey to thwart reforms for the EU and prevent their loss of standing in national politics. Moreover he said, in doing so they reveal that they do not want democracy in this country. As public support for EU membership wanes in Turkey, those opposed to the reforms could sense an opportunity and court cases against numerous writers, journalists, editors and publishers multiplied. The value abolishing 301 and other similar laws holds for a democracy is clear. The government has been given a chance to prove its commitment to democratic ideals. Hrant's funeral has shown that there is public backing for freedom of expression and for opposing the far-right agenda. The government has three options: "amend" the laws like they are talking about now, and not actually change anything, play to all sides but throw into question its international legitimacy - in an election year; it can side with the nationalists, again spelling a meltdown of the AK Party's ambitions for Turkey's western orientation; or it can take a brave step and move Turkey forward. This is the beginning, not the end, and one thing is sure, another confrontation is brewing between the two faces of Turkey: the multicultural, democratic Turkey versus the insular, statist, nationalist Turkey. It is hard to say just what will bring people together or drive them apart in this year full of upcoming uncertainties but the battles will be fought in the press, the parliament, the polls, even the street maybe. Above all it is a battle for the hearts and minds of Turkey and a battle that Hrant Dink gave his life for.


Behold! The number of evil is still 666, not 301

On Jan. 23, more than 100,000 people joined the funeral procession of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. The unexpected level of participation mostly due to a common outcry against xenophobia and discrimination against Turkey's ethnic minorities.

Armenians marching in the funeral procession and the rest of the world were astonished to see the Turkish-Muslim crowd shouting and hold placards declaring "We are all Hrant Dink!" and "We are all Armenian!"

A lesser-used placard caught the attention of journalists: "Killer 301." The placard was pinpointing Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which makes it a crime to insult Turkishness, the republic, and the foundation and institutions of the state, as Dink's real murderer. The Turkish-Armenian journalist was convicted with denigrating the Turkish nation with some vague remarks about the "poison in the Armenian blood related to the fear and hatred of Turks." Unfortunately, Dink's remarks were not written in plain Turkish and led to simple, but disastrous, confusion about whose blood was poisonous.

Dink is dead now, and it is too late to clarify Dink's poor Turkish. It is better now to deal with Article 301, an article that turned Dink's column, written in a scarcely read minority newspaper, into a hot-button issue nationwide. Is Article 301 responsible for the killing? Is it anti-democratic to penalize denigration of an abstract entity like "Turkishness?"

The public and press outrage toward the actual killer(s) of Dink has gradually been replaced by a harsh criticism of Article 301. The cover pages of last week's prominent newsweeklies in Turkey presented Article 301 as the source of incitement, the provocateur of the killing. Tempo, the third-largest circulating newsweekly in Turkey, dislayed the "0" of 301 as a target, placing Dink's head in its center. The already-heated discussion on the justification of Article 301 is entering new territory.

An old-new article
Article 301 was introduced with the legislative reforms of June 1, 2005. But it was not something new in the Turkish legal system. It actually replaced Article 159, which was also criticized by human rights activists for the restrictions it imposed on freedom of expression. This article was part of the original penal code that was adapted from the Italian Penal Code in 1926. The Turkish Penal Code followed the changes in the Italian one and was even influenced by its fascist amendments. Professor Mustafa Erdoğan, an expert on constitutional law at Hacettepe University, said that Article 159 was even more problematic than Article 301, making Article 301 something of a democratic step. Yet Erdoğan believes that improving the wording of Article 301 could have been done.

A common argument of the supporters of Article 301 is that similar laws exist in the penal codes of almost all European countries. The German Penal Code deals with similar crimes in its articles 90, 90a and 90b. These articles penalize acts of disparagement of the federal president, efforts against the existence of Germany or against its constitutional principles, insulting or maliciously maligning Germany or one of its lands or constitutional order, disparagement of Germany's colors, flag, coat of arms or anthem and anti-constitutional disparagement of its constitutional organs. The punishments set for these crimes are higher than those of Article 301, and as of the middle of 2006, there were 72 sentences resulting from these articles.

Italy still keeps similar articles in its penal code. Articles 290, 291 and 292 of the Italian Penal Code regards degradation, insulting and disparagement of the republic, constitutional institutions, military forces, flag and other state symbols and the Italian nation as punishable crimes.

Claims that these laws in EU countries are merely unapplied symbolic laws does not fit with reality. Italian judges convicted 21 people in 2000, 31 in 2001, 22 in 2002, five in 2003 and 28 in 2004.

The Dutch Penal Code is no less strict than others by means of crimes described, and the judicial system is no less willing to convict "criminals of degradation."

A total of 134 people were convicted in 2004, 146 in 2005 and 139 in 2006 of crimes similar to those described in Article 301.

The Polish, Spanish and Austrian penal codes have similar articles. The Danish Penal Code even broadens the list of crimes of degradation and insult and adds EU nations, countries and the EU Parliament into the list of legally "indemnified" entities. The French dealt with this crime with the Law on Freedom of Press in 1881. This law penalizes even the insulting of ministers, members of the parliament and all public officers.
The abstract term 'Turkishness'

Even resolute critiques of Article 301 attest that European countries have similar laws. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the ambassadors from EU countries at a working dinner last Thursday night that EU was consulted during the preparation of Article 301, and it had no reservations then. The EU's interest and criticism of the article started only after the law was applied to some Armenian personalities or to Turkish nationals with regard to their discourse on the disputed Armenian Genocide.

Amnesty International is among the fierce critics of Article 301. A report by Amnesty International is concerned about not only the abstract words of the article, but also about how and to whom the article is applied. The NGO claims that "Turkishness" has no clear meaning and that this leaves limitless powers of interpretation to judges. Amnesty International is also concerned about the difficulty in telling apart "criticizing" from "insulting."
Erdal Şafak wrote in his article in Sabah daily that the definition of Turkishness is not only vague linguistically, but the definition given in the Turkish Constitution and the definition given in the legislative intention of Article 301 do not fit each other. Article 66 defines Turkishness, saying, "Everyone bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship is a Turk." Whereas the legislative intention of Article 301 states that with the term Turkishness, "one would understand the common entity created by the shared culture unique to the Turks, wherever they are living in the world. This entity is broader than the term "Turkish Nation" and also contains the peoples sharing the same culture outside Turkey."

Many others criticized Article 301 for making a racist definition of Turkishness and excluding Turkish citizens who are not "sharing the unique culture of the Turks." Former President of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD) Ömer Sabancı was also critical of this vagueness. "Of course we won't accept anybody insulting Turkey or the Turkish people. But this article is not clear enough. It is too flexible. And this brings more harm than it does good. An amendment in to this law is necessary," said Sabancı in a meeting evaluating Turkey's bid to become an EU member. Zülfi Livaneli, a prominent writer and left wing politician discussed this issue as early as September last year in his article in Vatan daily, and suggested that to use the term "Turkish Nation" instead of "Turkishness" would solve all the problems of the article.

Minister of Tourism Atilla Koç does not believe that solving the problem of vagueness would solve all the problems of the law. Though supportive of Article 301, Koç believes that a change in the wording would account to nothing unless the method of jurisprudence was changed.

Dink had commented on this problem and claimed that in the last two years the applicability of Article 301 increased dramatically and the increase was not related to Turkishness, but "Armenianness"; conferences on the Armenian issue, books on the subject -- all were subjected to court cases under Article 301.

Some want even harsher measures
Article 301 does not lack proponents. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supports Article 301, as do all its cadres. Mehmet Nacar, vice secretary-general of the MHP, claims that critiques of Article 301 are intentionally disregarding the fourth clause of the article, clarifying that "Expressions of thought intended to criticize shall not constitute a crime." Nacar claims that the hidden agenda of all these critiques is to create a freedom of separatism and swearing at sacred things in Turkey.

Sinan Aygün, president of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce, is another supporter of Article 301. Aygün had a group of experts work on the article and presented a report to Minister of Justice Cemil Çiçek. The report advocated that the article should stay as it is. Aygün himself expressed his willingness to see a harsher version of Article 301 in the Turkish Penal Code.

Çiçek himself is regarded as the architect of the article and has been harshly criticized by the media. Many believe that Çiçek is a blocking any move to reform Article 301. On the other hand, the minister of justice believes that most of the criticisms of 301 have never read the text of the article.

"These people do not know the previous law and the changes in it. They do not realize what kind of implications a change in this article will provoke in this country," Çiçek said.

Prime Minister Erdoğan is not comfortable with the idea of abolishing Article 301 altogether. In the working dinner last Thursday, Erdoğan told ambassadors not to mix Article 301 with the murder of Dink. Erdoğan informed the ambassadors that Turkish NGOs couldn't reach a decision about a possible change in the article and that the only possibility of change was with the third clause of the article that increases the amount of the punishment applied for a Turkish citizen in case Article 301 is committed in another country.

Amendment if not abolishment
On the face or the EU critiques of Article 301, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül and State Minister and chief EU negotiator Ali Babacan expressed their willingness to make that change. Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç said after Dink's murder he would welcome a move in the assembly for either abolishment or amendment of Article 301.
Though the prime minister and the justice minister are not sympathetic to the idea, Professor Erdoğan claims that there would be no legal gap if Article 301 did not exist. Erdoğan believes that there are no legal difficulties in amending the article, but some power balances within the political system block such a possibility. He thinks that on the face of these balances the public pressure that has ensued the murder of Dink won't be effective enough.


A funeral that brought grief and reconciliation
Up to 100,000 people took to the streets early on Tuesday to mourn Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was shot dead outside the offices of his bilingual newspaper Agos in broad daylight on Jan. 19.

The crowds took part in the funeral, marching in silence along an eight-kilometer route from Agos -- where ethnic Armenian Hrant Dink was gunned down -- to an Armenian Orthodox church. His family asked mourners not to chant slogans or to turn the funeral into a protest. Many carried round placards reading "We are all Hrant" and "We are all Armenians" in Turkish and Armenian. Dink's widow, Rakel Dink, made a farewell speech to her husband in which she said: ""I am here with great honor and with great sorrow. Hrant has left the ones he loved, he has left my arms but he has not left the country which he loved more than anything." Rakel's speech caused even more grief among the crowd, filling their eyes with tears. Dink was laid to rest at İstanbul's Balıklı Armenian Cemetery.

Jan. 20
Thousands of protestors took to the streets of Istanbul and Ankara after Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, targeted by nationalist circles and the courts for his views on the 1915-18 killings of Armenians, was shot dead outside his office in İstanbul on January 19.
Greece condemned the "atrocious" murder" of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink as an intended blow to Turkey's efforts to join the EU. "The atrocious murder of Hrant Dink, a man who fought for the fundamental right of freedom of speech, is directly aimed at the efforts of the Turkish people to win their European future," Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said in a statement.
Turkish police captured the suspected murderer of journalist Hrant Dink, identified as 17-year-old Ogün Samast from the northern city of Trabzon. Six other people suspected of being involved in the assassination were also detained in Trabzon.

Jan. 21
A moderate earthquake with a magnitude of 5.0 on the Richter scale shook the eastern Turkish city of Ağrı, demolishing homes in at least two villages.
The suspected killer of Hrant Dink has confessed to shooting the Armenian journalist because he had insulted Turkish people. "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," Ogün Samast told interrogators shortly after he was arrested in Samsun on the Black Sea coast.

Jan. 22
Turkish military helicopters ferried commandos to snow-covered mountains as the military expanded an offensive in the Southeast in search of about 350 militants from the terrorist group Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who are believed to be hiding in caves.
A nationalist militant, Yasin Hayal, convicted in a 2004 bomb attack at a McDonald's restaurant, confessed to inciting the slaying of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. He told police officers he provided a gun and money to the teenager who is suspected having carried out Dink's shooting. During police questioning, Hayal told investigators: "I gave him the gun and the money. Ogün fulfilled his duty and saved the honor of Turkey."

A man convicted of raping and abusing a 17-month-old baby girl was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The baby's mother was sentenced to five years in prison for helping in the sexual assault. The man received a separate one-year sentence for possessing pornographic material.

EU nations agreed to work towards lifting the trade isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) "without delay." Work towards the adoption of "special conditions for trade" with the KKTC "must resume without delay," the ministers said in joint conclusions from a meeting in Brussels.

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi urged Turkey not to stray from its goal of joining the EU despite a partial suspension of its accession talks and upcoming elections. "We underlined that there is a need for great determination and reiterated that we should not deviate from the target we have set" in Turkish-EU ties, Prodi told a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during a visit to Turkey.

Iraq accused Turkish politicians of fomenting division in its northern areas and said it might bring some form of economic pressure to bear on Ankara. The statement from the Iraqi government was a response to Turkey's accusations that Iraqi Kurds systematically settled the city of Kirkuk, at the expense of resident Arabs and Turkish-speaking Turkmen, with the aim of incorporating its oil wealth into an independent Kurdish state.

Jan. 23
Up to 100,000 people gathered in İstanbul to pay homage to slain ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. The crowd broke into five minutes of applause as the hearse carrying Dink's coffin, decorated with yellow flowers, arrived in front of the offices of the weekly Agos newspaper in the central Şişli district. "We are all Hrant Dink," "We are all Armenians, all of us," read black-and-white placards written in Armenian on one side and Turkish on the other.
Dozens of Armenian nationalists brandishing slogans decrying "the continuing genocide" rallied in Yerevan to denounce the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Italian counterpart, Romano Prodi, inaugurated part of a highway and mountain underpass that will cut traveling time between İstanbul and Ankara to just over three hours. "A dream of the people and of the country has been achieved," Erdoğan said at the ceremony formally opening the Istanbul-to-Ankara route of the 2.8-kilometer tunnel passing through Bolu Mountain, half way between the two cities.
A Turkish lawyer ended a 293-day hunger strike in protest of prison conditions after the government decided to ease the isolation of inmates. Behiç Aşçı, 40, ended his fast and agreed to be taken to a hospital for treatment after the Justice Ministry issued a decree on Jan. 22 doubling the time during which inmates in maximum security prisons can socialize.

Poland's President Lech Kaczynski offered strong support for Turkey's faltering EU bid, saying the big Muslim country would strengthen the wealthy bloc. "If Turkey becomes an EU member, the EU will be strengthened economically. ... Also from the military point of view the EU will be strengthened," Kaczynski told reporters at the start of a two-day state visit to Turkey.

Jan. 24
İsmail Cem, an architect of Turkey's improved ties with Greece during his five-year tenure as foreign minister, died of lung cancer at the age of 67. Cem served as foreign minister under three successive governments between 1997 and 2003, becoming the longest-serving Turkish foreign minister in recent years.
One of the suspects in the murder of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink issued what appeared to be a threat against Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk. "Orhan Pamuk, be smart, be smart!" Yasin Hayal shouted to reporters as he was being brought to an Istanbul courtroom.

The 17-year-old suspected of murdering ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, Ogün Samast, was sent to jail but no charges were immediately brought against him.
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül said he supported calls for changes to Article 301 of the penal code, which many Turks say fuels hard-line nationalism and contributed to the murder of a prominent Armenian editor, Hrant Dink.

Jan. 25
Economy Minister Ali Babacan said Turkey was planning to put into force a social security law in July sought by the International Monetary Fund but warned that parts of it might be delayed. The legislation, which aims to curb a growing social security deficit by more efficient management and extending the retirement age, was originally set to come into force on Jan. 1, but, upon an appeal by the president, the constitutional court in December rejected some sections.

Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ was elected the new chairperson of Turkey's most prominent and effective business organization, the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD). She became the first female president in the group's history.--Turkish police blew up a suspicious package outside Parliament that carried a note calling for the release of two suspects in the murder of Hrant Dink. The package contained a timer but no explosives. The note, from shadowy ultranationalist group TIT, called for the release of suspects Ogün Samast and Yasin Hayal.-- The Greek government announced plans to hire 240 imams for the Muslim minority living in the northeast of the country, satisfying a longstanding local request in a goodwill gesture directed at neighboring Turkey.

Newcastle United's Turkey international midfielder Emre denied a Football Association (FA) charge of using racially aggravated and/or insulting words against Everton last month. The charge relates to an alleged incident during Newcastle's Premiership match at Goodison Park on Dec. 30.

Jan. 26
A moderate earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale jolted the eastern Turkish province of Elazığ, causing minor damage but no casualties.
The first semester of the 2006-2007 school year ended, bringing a two week-holiday to nearly 14 million students and 600,000 teachers.
Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu dismissed Governor Hüseyin Yavuzdemir and Police Chief Reşat Altay of the Black Sea coastal province of Trabzon, where the six suspects charged so far in the killing of Hrant Dink come from.


Going up?
Even before I became a journalist, I was capable of drawing grand conclusions from mere snippets of information.
One of my favorite theories is based on a 43-second ride in a lift in the Hotel Astoria in Budapest in the mid-1980s, a few years before the collapse of Communism. It was one of those old fashioned cage lifts with an elderly female attendant. She was clutching what I surmised to be a historical novel in German about Empress Maria Theresa and she spoke to me in French,

It was then and there that I decided on the great difference between Turkey and Central Europe. In Central Europe, the "low" popular culture was a great deal more sophisticated than the "high" official culture. It was quite clear to me during our journey from the lobby to the third floor that this lady and millions like her could not possibly believe that the Soviet-style party bosses who ruled their country would be able to transform Hungary into a socialist paradise on earth.

Turkey, on the other hand, was in the middle of a great social revolution, the transformation of a mainly rural peasant society into an urban one. If anything it was the politicians who were the cynical ones, imitating the lack of sophistication of their supporters, albeit in between military coups. And while no one actually liked these suspensions of democracy, there was a guilty sense that the military acted reluctantly and as a last resort. The people of Eastern Europe overthrew their useless rulers. The people of Turkey asked the military to save them from themselves.

It took me only 21 seconds to revise my theory. The inspiration came in the mid-1990s and in another lift -- an ultra-modern one this time with a joint Turkish-German brand name and a digital readout, as I progressed from floor to floor. I was in a provincial city, attending an EU-sponsored meeting on this or that, and I was taking a break from a high-powered discussion in which Turkish academics and technically minded citizens of the region were talking hard to like-minded Europeans.

I was on my way to watch on television that evening?s round of political bargaining in other rooms in the capital far away. As the lift doors swished open at my floor, it occurred to me that the low culture of Turkey, too, was becoming more sophisticated than the high, that the tide was turning and that people in Ankara should begin to ask themselves if the rest of the country did not have dreams more imaginative than their own.

I haven?t been in many lifts recently, which may explain why I am in a state of confusion. I witnessed this week tens of thousands of ordinary people marching to erase the stain of Hrant Dink?s murder. I have read headlines in newspapers, some begrudging and others bold, setting aside their oratory of division and hate which made Dink a target in the first place.

At the same time there are plenty of people like the former Welfare Party Justice Minister Şevket Kazan who dismiss as nonsense the notion "We are all Hrants." ?We're not," he told journalists the other day. "We're Hüseyns and Mehmets." And where, in the crowds protesting the murder, were the headscarved women who have marched in the past, demanding public tolerance for their own way of life? There were some "covered" women in the procession, but these were mainly Kurdish mothers and not the orthodox mainstream.

Hrant Dink believed in the brotherhood of Muslim and Christian, but he also believed that there are many places in today?s Turkey that were founded in the ruins of neighborhoods that during World War I had been ethnically cleansed. Will those who say they are ?Armenian? today be prepared to repeat this tomorrow when the US Congress considers a resolution to recognize genocide?Hopefully, they will say ?we are more sophisticated than Congressmen and MPs. We are prepared to embrace and recognize one another?s suffering and not let politicians use history to divide us to get our votes.? Are we, as the lift attendants used to ask, ?going up or down?

Article 301 and its European cousins
October 19, 2006
Semih İdiz

There is a growing debate in Turkey and Europe about Article 301, and the signs emanating from the government suggest that some kind of an amendment, if not an annulment, is on the way in this regard due to outside and domestic pressure, even if it is not clear when this will actually take place.

Much of the debate mentioned, however, rests on “hearsay” and “suppositions” rather than “facts.” The best example is when defenders of 301 in Turkey say that “Europe too has similar articles” but are unable to actually name these in any concrete way to prove their point.

In the same way, I have come across European friends who are not aware that similar -- if not identical -- articles exist in Europe and are trying to “pin” Article 301 on Turkey as a specific “Turkish anomaly.”

Not wanting to fall into either trap -- having already fallen into the “Europe does not have such laws” trap once already -- I decided to do some research on the matter.

This led me to Caslon Analytics, a consultancy firm that has been cited by a whole range of highly reputable institutions, including the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School, the European Commission, the U.S. Congress, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Sciences de l'Information, etc.

The information below comes from a study done by this firm and is helpful in giving us an idea of what the legal situation in Europe is concerning issues such as vilifying the nation, the flag, the sovereign, public servants, etc.

I give this information to help those European friends who appear (incredibly in some cases) not to know the law in their own countries but are quick off the mark to comment about Article 301 as being “totally unprecendented in current-day Europe.”

I also think that this information could be useful for Turkish lawmakers and officials who are genuinely interested in bringing Turkish law in line with European law, rather than talking off the cuff and citing “tit-for-tat” examples that they cannot actually name.

Of course, the question of “implementation” will still remain, even after a “legal alignment with Europe” is achieved on this score, since it is clear that a prosecutor in Turkey can, for example, take Article 248 of the Austrian Penal Code and interpret it in the same way as Article 301 in its present-day form, against people like Orhan Pamuk or Elif Safak.

Put another way, the problem here has more to do with a country's level of social development, especially in terms of its judiciary, rather than a specific statute or the way it is phrased. In other words, you can have the best laws on paper, but without proper implementation this will mean nothing on its own.

So the real challenge for Turkey vis-à-vis Europe is not just to amend Article 301 (and I would prefer it to be abolished all together) but to ensure that the standard of its judicial practices is on par with European practices.

This will require a more refined awareness whereby politics and the law are not confused with one another. This, in turn, will take time to happen in Turkey and is one reason why Europe must be patient and keep Turkey's “EU perspective” alive, if indeed its aim is to genuinely see this country in its fold one day -- whether this takes place 10 or 20 years down the line.

However, to come back to the information obtained from Caslon Analytics as to the situation in some key European countries, it is as follows:

Section 248 of the Austrian Penal Code, inherited from the Third Reich, is concerned with "denigration of the state and its symbols" and provides that:

“Whosoever, in such a manner that the act becomes known to the general public, in a malicious way, insults and brings into contempt the Austrian Republic and its States, is liable for imprisonment for up to one year.

"Whosoever, in the manner described in Paragraph 1, in a malicious manner and at a public occasion or a function open to the public, insults, brings into contempt or belittles the flag displayed for official purposes or the national or state anthems of the Austrian Republic or its States, is liable for imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine of up to 360 times the fixed daily rate.”

The law in France as part of “internal security” enactments passed in 2003 makes it an offense to insult the national flag or anthem, with a penalty of a maximum 9,000 euro fine or up to six months' imprisonment.

Restrictions on "offending the dignity of the republic," on the other hand, include "insulting" anyone who serves the public (potentially magistrates, police, firefighters, teachers and even bus conductors). The legislation reflects the debate that raged after incidents such as the booing of the “La Marseillaise” at a France vs. Algeria football match in 2002.

The German Criminal Code Section 90 concerns “Disparagement of the State and its Symbol.” It provides that:

“Whoever publicly, in a meeting or through the dissemination of writings (Section 11 subsection (3)):

"1. insults or maliciously maligns the Federal Republic of Germany or one of its Lands or its constitutional order; or2. disparages the colors, flag, coat of arms or the anthem of the Federal Republic of Germany or one of its Lands, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine.”

Identification of "Crimes Against the State" in Italy features "public insult or vilification of the flag or any other emblem of the State." Article 292 of the Criminal Code deals with anyone who "publicly insults or vilifies" the national flag or "other emblem" of the state, punishable by imprisonment for up to four years. It encompasses those who publicly insult or vilify the national colors as distinct from the flag.

In Portugal Article 332 of the Penal Code, dating from 1999, provides that

“Anyone who by words, gesture, in writing or by any other means of public communication, desecrates the Republic, national flag or the national anthem the symbols or emblems of the Portuguese sovereignty, or in any other way fails to pay them their due respect, shall be punished with a prison sentence of up to 2 years or with a pecuniary penalty of up to 240 days.”

Turks, Armenians to walk hand in hand in Paris
Ali Ihsan Aydin Paris
The dream of Agos newspaper chief editor Hrant Dink, for Turks and Armenians to leave the genocide behind and come closer for dialogue, will come one step closer today. Turks and Armenians will march together on Friday in France, a country that has a strong anti-Turkey Armenian lobby.

Three Armenian organizations and the Turkish Citizens Unity Association named, Racort, in Paris has agreed to hold a silent march in honor of Hrant Dink. The main slogan of the march is, "We are all Hrant, We are all Armenian." The march will begin today at Paris' famous Place de la République and finish at the Bastille. The Armenian Diaspora Research Center, the Armenian Audiovisual Association, the Armenian cultural Association named J'APPEL, have all accepted Racort's invitation to participate in the march. But, the architects of the French genocide bill, the Armenian Case Defense Committee (CDCA) and the Committee for Coordination of Armenian Associations of France did not respond to the invitation.

Although the associations to participate in the walk today represent a small number of the Armenians in France, it is still a historical development for Armenians and Turks to walk side by side, Racort official Umit Metin says, adding he believes more developments will follow. Metin said the Turkish-Armenian cooperation in Turkey following the death of Dink has certainly influenced the attitude of Armenians in France about Turkey and the Turkish people. "To make this change was impossible before," Metin said.

He also informed that following their initiative, many Armenians had contacted him, he sees it as a sign that many Armenians have been affected by the cooperation of the two groups in Turkey.

The march will begin in the afternoon. Songs in Turkish, Armenian and Kurdish will be recited during the event. The march will end at Bastille Square, where a ceremony will be held to honor Dink, and a white dove will be released into the skies of Paris, Metin told Zaman newspaper. Organizations that have supported the event include, French Moor Workers Association, French Tunisian Association, Paris Shiite Culture Center, Dersim Culture and Research Center, Hamlet Kaya Kurdish Culture Association, Human Rights League, Greens Party, MRAP and ATTACK.

Why was Hrant Dink killed?

When an ordinary Turkish citizen lists possible reasons for the assassination of Hrant Dink, his Armenian ethnic origin comes last.

The murder was shocking and was like a jolting earthquake, but it was not triggered by ethnic enmity. This is what everybody was aware of from the very beginning.

A tripartite picture was formed in the minds of ordinary Turkish Muslims. These three details, which constituted a strong emotional bond between Dink and the whole society, formed an identity. The first detail was his last article titled "Anxiousness of a Pigeon,"which was misunderstood and thus misused but still shows Dink's confidence and love for the society he lived in. In his last article, Dink was saying he had been threatened for his statements, which were interpreted completely differently from what he actually meant, but at the same he was expressing his hope that Turkish society would not harm ?pigeons' like him, people who were helpless. His anxieties, and the sense of security he portrayed to comfort Turks, added a very tragic dimension to his murder. The society felt the grief of killing the pigeon and the warmth of Dink's heart at the same time. Secondly, Dink's body, lying face-down on the pavement, was covered with journal paper with his legs visible. The footage broadcast showed a hole in his shoes. A shoe-with-hole is a symbol of poverty in Turkish society. Hrant Dink was poor and his dead body lying on the pavement told of his poverty in the most natural form.

The third detail was his life story that complemented his worn shoes. Dink was born in the eastern Anatolian city of Malatya and was sent to an orphanage while he was still young. He was raised in an orphanage and lacked the care of parents. These were three details that drew the portrait of Dink, who sat in the limelight of 70 million people in Turkey before being assassinated. This was a shocking portrait for the majority of people who sensed the world through their emotions. The murder itself was shameful. The murder incited a wave of compassion and sympathy against ethnic groups in Turkey. This wave materialized in the slogan "We are all Hrant Dink" and marked its seal during the funeral.
I attended the funeral and saw people gather in front of the office of Agos newspaper to approach the funeral car. The spectrum of attendees included figures from almost all walks of the society: University students, retired people, housewives, workers, intellectuals and marginal figures. All attendees had a shared expression on their faces: to share the grief. They expressed their grief in the slogan "We are all Hrant Dink. We are all Armenian." The slogan was challenging: "If Hrant Dink was murdered because of his Armenian origin and if it aims to intimidate and daunt Armenians by killing Dink, the murderers will not achieve their goals. Because we will take Dink's place and oppose his murderers together with the Armenian society." This challenging move was inspired by Germany in 1930s. In those years, liberal and socialist Germans challenged oppression against Jews, which started during the Nazi administration, with the slogan "We are all Jews."

Dark nature of the murder:
The funeral in front of the Agos office commenced with Dink's wife, Sakel Dink, addressing participants from the top of a bus. In a trembling and excited voice, Mrs. Dink delivered a calming and anger-soothing speech in the wake of "her beloved." What she said about the murderer directed debates over the assassination. Mrs. Dink's striking statements placed the reasons behind this shocking murder in a completely different direction. She was questioning the conditions that created the murderer, not the murderer himself: "No matter what the age of the murderer is, 17 or 27, he was once a baby like every human being. You cannot reveal the reasons behind this murder unless you question the dark world that created a murderer from a baby." These statements were not welcomed by people who were seeking political interests over Dink murder. A marginal leftist party decorated the town of Beyoğlu, where Dink's funeral was held, with the pictures of Dink and the banners of the party. They were in a rush to designate "rising nationalism" as the reason behind the murder, instead of "a dark world." These political efforts, not the murder itself, were attempting to create a crack in society that would urge formation of cliques and polarization. Mrs. Dink's speech prevented such a crack and contributed to turning debates into a discussion that might impede more assassinations.

The findings the police reached as well the statements of the murder suspect and the accomplices broadcasted in the media reveals the presence of an actual dark and morbid climate. A frantic hooligan in a football match and the perpetrators of the murder had a similar psyche. The perpetrators were unemployed youngsters from the Black Sea city of Trabzon, where the birth rate is quite high. They were spending most of their time in internet cafes and their only bond with the outer world was through the Internet. There was a wide gap between the poor world they were living in and the unreachable imaginary world. It was impossible to fill this work by exerting effort, but only through committing frantic acts that no one would ever dare to do. The most viable short-cut for these teenagers, who are incapable to grasp the notion of politics and to penetrate into the world of ideologies, was to adhere to a great cause debated in the society. Thus, they would become respected heroes and their courage would be praised. This is the dark world Mrs. Dink is trying to tell us.

A narrow and barren nationalism is rising in Turkey. Turkish has two correspondences for the term "nationalism:" Nationalism and neo-nationalism: Nationalism refers to the right-wing nationalism and neo-nationalism to that of left wing. A kind of Third World Socialism, a leftover of the Cold War period, is endorsed by Turkish neo-nationalists who are closely linked with the state. Neo-nationalism is an anti-imperialist, anti-American and nationalist ideology. It was neo-nationalists who demanded the conviction of Hrant Dink for "insulting Turkishness" and urged a campaign against Nobel Prize laureate Orhan Pamuk by threatening him. Turkey's ?lumpen proletariat' youngsters, who diverted from the mainstream and based their policies on a morbid climate, were again these neo-nationalists. Although they hold similar feeling and inclinations, the nationalist cadres of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Grand Unity Party (BBP) oppose both neo-nationalists and the violent atmosphere they have created. MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has always renounced and stopped violence over the Kurdish problem, a very sensitive and concerning issue for the MHP. He barred his followers from flowing into the streets, namely to commit violent incidents. The BBP, another nationalist party which separated from the MHP and harbored even more ardent youngsters, holds a significant stance over the recent developments. Newspapers have written that murderers and collaborators have formed within the youth movement of the party.

I had an interview with BBP leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu and it was published in the Jan. 27 edition of Zaman daily. I reminded him about the accusations against his party and asked for a response. He felt genuine grief at Dink's murder and was outraged over the accusations directed at him. He drew attention to the "dark world of the murder" saying the handling of the murder as a social problem, not a political one, was necessary to curtail violence. He, furthermore, drew attention to those who were inflaming violence and seeking political interests over the murder as well as extreme leftists who turned Dink's funeral into a political show.

As more information is revealed the picture becomes clearer. Dink's murder is an ordinary political assassination, not a violent action. The assassin is a 17-year-old minor. This murder is the result of a deep-rooted social problem, and acted upon by a group of perpetrators. The people who attended the funeral had already proved the problem was not ethnically and politically motivated. What falls to every sensible person now is to question the dark world Mrs. Dink pointed at, and to improve the social conditions that resulted in the murder.


A promising Armenian questionnaire
ABDULHAMIT BILICI a.bilici@todayszaman.com
I never expected to see hope of a thaw in Turkish-Armenian relations occur in a platform controlled by diaspora Armenians.

You may call it bias or lack of trust, but I believe this feeling is shared by many Turks as a result of the diaspora's uninterrupted efforts to convict Turkey of a shameful crime all over the world; from Paris to Buenos Aires, from Washington to Strausbourg. Even if there exists hope that Turkey will one day have good relations with Armenia, most Turks don't expect the same with the diaspora.
This sign of hope emerged when I saw the results of a questionnaire posted by armeniadiaspora.com. It is a credible diaspora website, at least in the eyes of Armenians, because the Armenian Foreign Ministry has a link to that site on its homepage. It is a platform where the Armenian diaspora exchanges opinions gets community news, lobbies for their causes, etc.

The questionnaire's aim was to understand the impact of Hrant Dink's slaying on Turkish-Armenian relations.
One question asks, "Do you think that slaying of Hrant Dink a) makes dialogue between Armenia and Turkey impossible, b) is another step toward denial of an Armenian genocide or c) makes dialogue between Armenia and Turkey easier, especially considering the reaction to the murder in both countries."
When I was writing this piece, 61 percent of the participants were saying that Dink's slaying will help Turkish-Armenian relations.

It was a good decision for the Turkish government to turn tragedy into opportunity by inviting leading figures from Armenia and the Armenian diaspora to the ceremony. The reactions of those who witnessed Dink's funeral were also in line with that statistic.

For instance, Samson Ozararat, who is part of the Armenian diaspora in France and an adviser to the Armenian foreign minister, attended the funeral. He was hopeful as he expressed his feelings about the event: "What I saw in the funeral was encouraging. The funeral did most of what Hrant was trying to do in his life. All the colors of Anatolia met in the funeral."

Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosyan also attended to the funeral and made a statement declaring their readiness "to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey with no preconditions."

Indeed, in the past Turks have seen positive results coming from disasters in their foreign policy. One of the most recent and sounding examples of that was the terrible 1999 earthquake, which rescued Turkish-Greek relations. Both sides of the Aegean tried to help each other, creating positive feelings in both capitals. This happened despite the fact that terrorist organization Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan was caught in the Greek embassy in Kenya in the same year.

Similarly, we saw an earthquake play an important role in relations between India and Pakistan.
However, such tragedies have the potential only to change people's minds, an essential but not sufficient factor in making big leaps toward radical decisions. If this positive environment is not supported by politicians and foreign ministries, it will be hard to expect an end in the deadlock between Armenia and Turkey.

Because of this, Ankara is in a difficult position to convince its Azeri brother that good relations between Turkey and Armenia can benefit both countries. On the Turkish side, it may get the genocide tool out of the hands of Western capitals. On the Azeri side, Turkey may have bigger leverage over Yerevan to end its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, a part of Azerbaijan. But this is not an easy task for any Turkish politician, irrespective of their ideology, especially when Armenia and the Armenian diaspora continue encouraging Western parliaments to pass laws condemning Turkey and occupy 20 percent of Azerbaijan.

Under these circumstances, let's hope that at least civil society, the media and intellectuals on both sides can interact more and learn each other's true thoughts.

A funeral the world should draw lessons from
MEHMET KAMIS m.kamis@todayszaman.com
While observing the funeral of Hrant Dink, once more I noticed the prominence of this country and the wisdom and responsibility of the people of this country. I also thought Anatolia was probably the most important democracy in the world. While paying tribute to Hrant Dink who was murdered by a 17-year-old youngster with still unknown motives, this people was wise and self-confident. Hundreds of thousands not only said farewell to an individual from Turkey, but walked for somebody else's right to life. The rightist, leftist, religious, nationalist, Jewish or Christian elements of this nation defended the pigeons' right to life. I am not sure it would have been possible to witness such an amazing picture anywhere else in the world. Suppose, if an Algerian intellectual opponent was murdered in France, would such a French crowd attend the funeral? Or if a Bosnian intellectual was slain in Belgrade, would hundreds of thousands show up at the funeral to condemn racism and intolerance? I do not even ask about Armenia. While a placard reading "Hrant Dink: 1915-2007" was publicized at the funeral and no reaction was raised to the placard, in France, the issue of Armenian deportation is a taboo. Even scientific discussions on the issue are forbidden under the legislation in effect in France. But, did not the virus of intolerance spread to Anatolia from France in the first place anyway?

Intolerance to one ethnically or culturally different is a virus spread to our territories through Westernization vigorously promoted by the Party of Union and Progress. The mindset that is intimidated by the diverse elements of the society has its origin in the West. In other words, it is not native. And simply because it is not natural, it is temporary in our lands. The decree issued by the Ottoman ruler Mehmed II, the Conqueror, whenever he accomplished a conquest is exemplary. It reads: "I, Sultan Mehmed, the ruler of these lands, decree that it shall be known to all segments of the society that the Bosnian priests carrying this decree are entitled to the following: they shall not be disturbed whatsoever, their churches shall be protected. I swear by God, our dearest prophet Muhammad Mustapha, the seven Holy Books, 124,000 prophets, and the sword on my belt, the priests, their churches and their aides shall not be touched as long as they remain loyal to my rule."

This country is big enough not to be remembered for common criminals and gunmen. It is strong enough to destroy the international ploys staged to contain it internationally. This country is self-confident enough to chant "We are all Hrant." And this nation simply embraced the precepts of the Qur'an, which says: "And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, ?We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).'" (Al-Ankaboot 46).
Those who were waiting to enjoy the ploy staged against Turkey are now disappointed. It served as such a colossal lesson, the entire world watched the whole process with amazement. Is not such a country lovable?

Are we all Armenians?
M. NEDIM HAZAR n.hazar@todayszaman.com
Let's put aside all the questions, conspiracy theories (whether reasonable or not), the alarming social point reached in recent days. And let's leave aside the sad and heartbreaking nature of the murder for a moment. Let's also temporarily shelve all the debates and cross-talk and the fanatical racism being incited in youth under the mask of "nationalism" prior to Hrant Dink's murder?
Let's have some mental exercises on the scene that appeared at Dink's funeral.

As the murderer admitted himself, nobody could have known this murder would give rise to such great indignation. I think nobody would have guessed that such a wide and strong social reaction would occur.

It is beyond argument that what happened on Tuesday was an impressive. The Turkish people's desire to say "no more" to some dangers that have been accumulating was effective, as well as who Dink was as a person and as a symbol. Maybe the large funeral procession was a delayed show of support from the masses for the victims who had eggs thrown at them outside court a few months ago

I think we the Turks are a lot more emotional and hotheaded than other nations. Both our anger and compassion might be volatile much of the time. And especially when our passions rise, we might lose our balance.
You understand now: I'm going to talk about the placards reading "We are all Armenians. We are all Hrant Dink."
Surely nobody understands these messages literally, as meaning an expression of identity. Please keep in mind that I personally did not miss the message it contains -- the funeral procession was certainly a meaningful response to that attack, which was sneaky, vile, stupid or whatever you call it.
However all this does not justify perverting the facts.

"We are emotional," I said, but the Turkish media is a more emotional than the Turkish people.
I want to say that I found the attitude of the Turkish media after the assassination to be "exaggerated." Up until now, they have been quicker than anyone to drown many liberal ideas and have outdone the state in terms of limiting rights and freedoms. It is certainly admirable that the media condemned and put a spotlight on such a traitorous murder, without stooping to cheap and tabloid tactics -- however, it is still excessive.
The placards reading "We are all Armenians" make the issue more complicated rather than providing a solution to it.

I am sure Hrant Dink would be disturbed as well. "Inappropriate," he would say. "You do not need to become Armenians, it is better if you just live together with Armenians as brethren." Someone like him who had devoted his life to ending the mutual hostility between Turks and Armenians would, I believe, be opposed to a psychological mood resulting from an emotional trauma becoming continuous and permanent.

The problem is not Armenians being Turkish -- or not -- so that the solution would be making Turks Armenians! The cause Dink fought for was to make it possible to accept others with their own identities and understand one another.

The Armenian problem can't be resolved by us becoming Hrant. Everyone should know that we won't have gotten rid of the "Armenian genocide" problem even if we announce to the whole world that we are Armenians. We are wrong if we believe that problems can be solved by shouting slogans or holding placards at a funeral. Moreover, I am becoming disturbed with the exaggerations of the media.

Yes, I am not Armenian, and I don't think Hrant Dink would want anyone to "become Armenian." Wisdom is not wishing to become "the other" but managing to prevent creation of "the other."This style is not the cure to the racist mentality that throws eggs and tomatoes at intellectuals in front of houses of justice. But it might be an exaggeration amounting to a similar conclusion.

I would expect all those who made and held those placards, first of all in the media, to take the side of all those who were unjustly treated. I don't know, maybe like "All of us are Elif Şafak" or "All of us wear headscarves" -- that sort of protest.

And wisdom is doing it before people die.

Or we'll just keep talking and commenting in vain, and it will not change anything.

Slogans during Dink's funeral become matter of controversy
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com
It has been a week since Hrant Dink was murdered in İstanbul, but the debates on this tragic event have not ceased. One particularly telling debate focuses on slogans chanted during Hrant's funeral. "We are all Hrant, we are all Armenians," the approximately 100,000 people attending the funeral procession chanted, the slogan echoed on the placards they carried. The slogan was a reaction to the ultranationalist motives behind the killing and an affirmation of ethnic and religious tolerance and solidarity. This has not been without consequence. Already, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has voiced his annoyance with these slogans, thinking that it is not appropriate for a Turk to say "I am an Armenian" no matter what the reason.

Yeni Şafak's Fehmi Koru directs harsh criticism toward those who are disturbed by these slogans. Koru asserts that one has to be either blind or deaf in order not to see that those slogans did not contain a religious or national message. He explains that everyone's religion or ethnic background is special to him or her and that people cannot change such things all of a sudden. Such slogans do not imply a desire for such a change or transformation. Such slogans imply a message for another change, one for an understanding the "other." Koru asserts that it is really absurd to look for an ulterior motive behind these slogans at a time when we should be ashamed of ourselves. "Those who chanted slogans or carried banners reading 'We are all Hrant, we are all Armenians' did not turn into Armenians or Christians. Some people are even able to infer discrimination from gestures that were made for solidarity," concludes Koru.

Another columnist from Yeni Şafak, Ali Bayramoğlu, is also very critical of those who were disturbed by these slogans. He comments that Turkey has not cried this much for any of its Armenians, it has never been so shaken over the death of an Armenian. Bayramoğlu calls this a "turning point" for Turkey. He claims many Turks harbor a feeling of shame and embarrassment, or at least a feeling of pity, in their hearts. The turning point, he says, is the soul-searching here, but the most important thing is the social reaction to a man's unjust killing and the radical nationalism and racism behind it. Bayramoğlu urges that these slogans should be considered in this respect. He harshly criticizes those who derided the reactions to Dink's death as "Hrantmania." "This is completely immoral. This is a mentality that values a human being not because he is a human being but according to his ethnic or religious identity," he asserts.

Vatan's Okay Gönensin shares the same view in that some people just reacted to these slogans instead of pondering the messages they contain. He accuses such people of lacking confidence. "Only those who are suspicious of their Turkishness, who are suspicious of the honor of being a Turkish citizen, could be disturbed by these slogans. As a matter of fact, the champions of street nationalism were disturbed," he explains.

Milli Gazete's Zeki Ceyhan is at odds with the other columnists and feels that the reactions expressed during Dink's funeral were exaggerated. He suggests that the people chanting these slogans did not consider the possible outcome of their remarks and characterizes such slogans as "foolish." Ceyhan thinks Dink's funeral was a good opportunity to get to know some people better. "Who is who was revealed," he says.

Erdoğan noncommittal on changes to Article 301
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has declined to give assurance to the EU over changing Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) but reaffirmed that his government was open to idea of amending the article.
The EU has bitterly criticized Article 301, saying it restricts freedom of expression, but Turkey has so far avoided taking steps to directly amend it. Pressure on the government to change the controversial article, under which numerous writers, intellectuals and journalists have landed in court, has been increasing since the murder of a Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor.

Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of the bilingual Agos newspaper, was shot dead by a 17-year-old assailant outside his office on Friday. He had been tried under Article 301 for "insulting Turkishness" and sentenced to a six-month suspended imprisonment for an article he wrote about an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

Turkey's top business group, the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD), and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have raised concerns over the article.
Ambassadors of EU countries, meeting with Erdoğan at a dinner on Wednesday evening in Ankara, clearly expressed the bloc's expectations for changes to Article 301, according to the private ANKA news agency.
Erdoğan made no reference to Article 301 in his speech to the ambassadors but touched on the issue in a question-and-answer session. Responding to the diplomats' questions, Erdoğan repeated the line of his government and said most of the problems stemmed from the way the law was implemented.
He also complained that the EU had not expressed any concern over Article 301 in its preparatory stage and added that some EU member countries also had similar laws in their national codes.
The EU continues to have firm expectations that Article 301 be amended, but some ambassadors showed "understanding" toward the Turkish government's position, given that two critical elections lay ahead, according to ANKA.

Presidential elections are scheduled for May and parliamentary elections will take place in November. But in his speech, Erdoğan said the upcoming elections would not affect the government's determination for reforms.
In comments on Dink's killing, Erdoğan said the attack was against Turkey. During Dink's funeral, up to 100,000 people gathered in İstanbul to attend and carried banners reading "We are all Armenians" and "We are all Hrant Dink."

"Turkey is the inheritor of a great civilization that embraced people of different races and faiths for centuries," Erdoğan told the ambassadors.

Today's Zaman

Letters to the editor / TDN
January 27, 2007
Where were you when Dink was alive?:
Following the racist murder of Hrant Dink, I read Mehmet Ali Birand's Jan 23 column and for once he really has a point when he says “…we are all the real killers,” although I am deliberately taking his words out of context to make my point (please, no offense, prosecutors, pseudo-journalists and ultra-nationalists).

I can put up with the crocodile tears of venal politicians, of the generals and the police force that can go to bed at night and think that the world is flat. I can put with the outpouring of compassion and sympathy in the media since then, but I can't help myself asking this question: where the heck were you, respected members of the press, when Hrant Dink was alive and needed you the most? Running scared from Article 301 or too busy ranting against Orhan Pamuk? He was one of yours, you left him alone and this makes me really sick.

Don't tell me you didn't see it coming, because that would add insult to injury. And enough with all the futile debate over Article 301 anyway. With or without this article of law, there are still hundreds of Ogün Samasts ready to hunt down anyone who dares question Turkish history and blow their brains out. If you really want to honor Hrant Dink's memory start a media crusade to improve the lives of such potential killers and other dangerous and useless members of society. Give them the opportunity to be something worthwhile, something that Turkey can be proud of.
John Growe
İzmir, Turkey

Why not accept history and move on?:
I was saddened to read that the majority of Turks continue to dispel the mass expulsion of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire. Every country has something in their past that is evil. In America we have slavery and what our ancestors did to the native American peoples. Most Americans do not deny these atrocities and have tried over the years to make up for them. I feel that it is time for all Turks to do the same regarding what happened to the Armenians almost 100 years ago. To deny the past only makes us keep a dirty, dark secret. To expose it frees us all from the past. I know all of you are proud of your country; I have been there twice and love it and its people. I have many friends there. Why not accept what has happened and move on?
Gordon Peterson
United States

Çiçek must not become minister of injustice:
Yusuf Kanlı has an excellent, strong, well-argued, persuasive editorial today putting Justice Minister Cemil Çicek in his place and urging action now on Article 301. His counter-argument to you earlier of “where were you journalists when we were taking testimony on the TCK?” is a clever diversionary tactic but it focuses on the unchangeable past and tries to fix blame and guilt on the journalists. In truth, if Çicek and the Parliament were responsible, they would have requested testimony from journalists and the media on a matter that so greatly involves and affects them.

More important, however, that past is finished. The real question is what the best way is now to go forward wisely. To say: “Let's see how the courts interpret Article 301. Let's see how it is implemented...” as Çicek has is to stall and buy time when none is available. Article 301 has become a minefield. Mines are going off injuring writers and thinkers through court room entanglements, and – even worse – setting them up for physical attack and assassination. In discussing the murder of Hrant Dink, how many people have wondered who will be next? It is time for the Minister of Justice to get moving, quickly, before he becomes the minister of injustice.
Willard Gibbs
New Haven, Connecticut, United States

In an address on Thursday before the Eurasian Studies Center (ASAM), U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson spoke on a host of issues in a talk that left some listeners complaining about the sound system. The system was a new one installed by ASAM for the occasion of an earlier address by the Polish prime minister. Friday's column by Ankara Bureau Chief and Chief Columnist Yusuf Kanlı reported incorrectly that the sound system had been set up temporarily by the embassy due to security concerns. An embassy technician did check and approve the system ahead of time, largely to ensure simultaneous interpreter requirements. It met standards. A larger-than-anticipated crowd, however, created an unexpected level of ambient noise that frustrated some listeners.

The problems, however, did not result from any sound system installed by the U.S. Embassy. The TDN regrets any confusion caused by the error.

Dink murder: A Catharsis or a test?
January 27, 2007

Maybe the 'higher power' has tested us by laying Hrant on history’s altar so that a new Ottoman society of tolerance can be created to form a modern European Turkey mosaic in the 21st century

I have a Jewish friend. He is Istanbul born and bred. After high school in Istanbul he went to the United States. He stayed there. Now he is a U.S. citizen. He is a professor. He is a well-known name among the Washington political elite. During the ceremony for Hrant Dink at the church, I was standing on one side of the coffin and he on the other, in the opposite aisle. Our eyes met for a second. He told me some very interesting things the next day.

He said: “I did not know Hrant Dink personally. My being there on that day, in that church, was a coincidence but it remained as a dramatic memory. My eyes constantly scanned the eyes of the Armenians present. I read in those eyes, ‘This place is finished for us.' As I too am a member of a minority I read those looks differently than you. That was the day that this place came to an end for us, the minority group members…”

I could not believe it. How could such a feeling be reached on a day when tens of thousands of people marched with banners, chanting “We are all Armenians”? “The Armenians did not hear that voice,” he said: “When we were kids, we were all together – Jews, Greeks, Armenians, Muslims… We used to play together. We used to joke. We, the minority group members, were aware of our ethnic identities but there was no segregation. There was a wonderful cosmopolitanism. Maybe you were not aware of our differences but there was no problem. The situation is different today. The feeling ‘this place is finished for us' is very dominant. Maybe Hrant Dink's death has done what many things such as the Wealth Tax and the events of Sept. 6 and 7 did not …”

This is “reading the situation.” I do not know whether it should be read that way.

The Armenian surprise at the Turkish reaction:
I went to Hrant's house the day before yesterday; a day after I heard these words and had been contemplating them. Rakel offered me a seat next to her. As I tried to make myself at home and rid myself of the uneasiness caused by being the only man in the room, a woman visiting to give her condolences introduced herself and her friends to me. They were the president and members of the “Trabzon Mothers' Association.” They had come all the way from Trabzon to Bakırköy, Istanbul, to visit and express their condolences to Rakel. “You can never guess the magnitude of sorrow and shame that the people of Trabzon are feeling. We are questioning why we could not raise our children better,” she said.

She denounced the consequences of “poverty and ignorance.” She was trying to explain that Trabzon too was embracing Hrant. And she was very sincere. They even had a photo taken with Rakel as a memento of the day.

Then in a newspaper I read statements from some French Armenians who had come to Istanbul and Turkey for the first time in their lives to attend the funeral. The statements were published by French newspapers. One of them said:

“I would not in my wildest dreams have thought I would see the Turks chant, ‘We are all Hrant, we are all Armenians.' But I did see it in reality. This is a miracle. I am a religious person, I have been praying for a miracle for years. The iron curtain of the USSR fell into rubble with the earthquake in Armenia in 1989. So God helps the good emerge from the bad. Why should we turn down the Turks' friendship? There are also Armenians that we do not share the same point of view. The Armenian patriarch in Istanbul told me, ‘Turks are good people and they are very much like Armenians.' Turkish Armenians are much like a fish in the sea – they have become very much a part of society. We need to distinguish between the Turkish state and the Turkish population.”

Another was saying:
“There were representatives of the Armenian community from all over the world. I was surprised when I landed in Istanbul. Everyone was. And I guess the prejudices of some members of the community were invalidated.”

I was most struck by Ara Toranyan's words. I saw Mr. Toranyan during the Asala court cases in France. He was the most militant leader of the French Armenians during the 1980s. That is why his following words were striking:

“This is a very nice reaction from the Turkish people. I was expecting something but nothing to such a great extent. On the other hand I never doubted that there were democratic, courageous people in Turkey. There are extraordinary powers in this country, which can withstand very hard conditions, which want to change things. This ceremony is a remarkable message of hope; I hope that the pain we are feeling is also felt and understood in Turkey. The Turkish people's affection has been proven. Militants, a part of the army, the state and tribes participated in the events of 1915. The participation by Turkish people was not great. I have never had any bad feelings or hatred toward the Turkish people.”

All these are also “reading the situation.” According to these statements Turkey has entered a phase of maturation in which minorities can rid themselves of the feeling that “this placed is now finished for us.”

Beware of the boomerang effect:
At the beginning of the week Etyen Mahçupyan, in his article “The Turks” in Zaman, explained his despair as follows:

“We do not intend to understand or hold the hand of the ‘other Turk' who could not comprehend Hrant's words or bear his presence. So the murderer is not of age yet… ‘This is exactly the point' Hrant would have said ‘Are the Turks of age?' We were aware that we had been living in a society that was prevented from maturing. But maybe it is time we ask ourselves this: Is this a society that was made younger so that it could ritualize its own identity problem by converting it into an act of violence on another? The issue in front of ‘my Turks' is very clear: To prevent a mass suicide that is rapidly sliding toward mass pathology and to establish a medium where everyone can feel themselves ‘human'…”

Maybe the “earthquake in the society's soul” caused by a murder has helped our society that was “made younger” to mature. At least we hope so.

However, for this “social state of mind” to be guided toward the good from a “social feeling of shame,” it needs to be translated into politics. Here is how: by getting over the issues raised by Article 301, by passing an acceptable foundations law as soon as possible, by freeing the schoolbooks from texts that incite feelings of animosity, by determinately taking care of “crime producing social ateliers” and Internet sites that work like threat and death squads and by stimulating awareness against “racism” in the public.

All of these are within the power of the administration, i.e. the Turkish government. It is under its job description, which can no longer be neglected. The Hrant Dink murder, with a week gone by, has become a “catharsis” – a personal and social purification for both our society and the individuals it is comprised of.

On the other hand, this should be prevented from becoming “social masochism” that will return to hit society like a “wild racist-nationalist boomerang.”

Therefore the government must take steps for more freedom and democracy without any further negligence. It does not matter whether the steps are taken according to the Copenhagen or the Ankara criteria.

Who knows? Maybe the “higher power” has tested us by laying Hrant on history's altar so that a new “Ottoman society of tolerance” can be created to form a “modern European Turkey mosaic” in the 21st century.

Let's not fail this test…

Humans are not insects, why nationalize them?
January 27, 2007
In 1945, George Orwell described nationalism as “the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labeled ‘good' or ‘bad.'” Orwell said nationalism is also “the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests.”Sixty-two years later, humans remain creatures of this habit.

So many reports, domestic and foreign, said Hrant Dink was killed by a “Turkish nationalist.” Many people grieved at his funeral by being deliberately “anti-nationalist.” Thousands of signs in the funeral crowd said, “We are all Armenians,” and they stood in solidarity with Dink no matter what they actually “were.” The Armenian media was amazed at the power of the funeral parade's statements – though they loathed the nationalist sentiments that inspired Dink's murder, only those with nationalist intuition could have been so impressed.But habits can be broken. Consider that nationalism and the categories that come with it, such as “Turkish nationalist,” or the currently debated nationalist idea of “Europeaness,” are inventions that are supposed to serve particular interests.

This is a basic political fact – humans categorize things, including humans, in order to control them. Often this is a criticism. But it is also the key to breaking the nationalist habit. Classifications and categories should serve particular interests. Then we can see more clearly that when a category or classification no longer serves our interests, we are right to get rid of it, and invent something better.One problem is that nationalist ideas like “Europeaness” have been adopted and used by people not only because they are useful, but also because they are merely convenient. News stories find it easy to describe Dink's murder by a “Turkish nationalist.” EU debaters find it convenient to attribute “Europeaness” to something like democracy, without having to actually figure out what they are talking about.When labels are used both by those with a purpose, and by those just looking for convenience (or, as Orwell says, out of “habit”) the label is transformed from an invention to something “natural.” And nature, to most of us, is something that can't be changed. The naturalism of nationalism is the real problem.In 2005, National Geographic and IBM (the computer company) launched the Genographic Project. From 2005 to 2010 the project will be sampling the DNA of people from all over the world and then looking at the samples through really thick glasses. It is hoping to find, in the genetic markers in each of our DNA, the timelines of humanity's migration across the world.

This is as natural as nationalism will get. One of the IBM guys running the project reports on his webpage, that although an American with Italian ancestors, his DNA indicates that he is the direct descendant of a guy from the Zagros Mountains in Iran.So where are we really from? Does “Europeanness” include the prerequisite of having common ancestors from the Zagros Mountains? What hope does “natural” nationalism have in the face of this project, that genographic scientists call the “moon shot of anthropology?” People from immigrant countries like Canada, the US, Australia, have always known that everyone comes from somewhere else, despite some attempts to elevate, in colloquial speech, white Europeans to the status of “Canadian Canadians.” Now the planet could benefit from this perspective. But doesn't this project assume, as Orwell described nationalism, that humans can be “classified like insects?” Yes it does. Doesn't the project assume to categorize people for the purposes of control? Yes it does. But the difference is the particular interests this invention (DNA sampling, analysis, and the genetic classification of human migration) will serve.

The genographic invention can be used to show our attempts to invent national identity have been crude compared to what we carry in our genes. The project can be used to control exclusionary and xenophobic sentimentality. The project could show, more clearly than political rhetoric, which categories, classification, and habits of mind, have outlived their usefulness, and which should be discarded. Nation could soon go the way of “race.”

Turkish Press Yesterday /TDN
January 27, 2007
Dink murder makes its mark on TÜSİAD congress:

Radikal's headline yesterday covered speeches from a congress of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD), which were dominated by the recent slaying of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

Outgoing TÜSİAD President Ömer Sabancı started his speech at the 37th General Assembly of the organization with remarks related to Dink's murder. Sabancı, offering his condolences to the Dink family, said, "If we want to adopt democracy and its advantages, the first thing to do is to get rid of the anti-free speech penal code Article 301 and the shame of its practices."

Sabancı also underlined that Dink's murder was reminiscent of the past, when Turkey was being shaken with political chaos. Sabancı asserted that whatever the first impressions we have about Dink's murder, the assassination could not be evaluated as an individual reaction manifested in action.

Sabancı said the attack was likely to have consequences that can change Turkey's position in the world. Sabancı said the murder sought to reverse democratic gains made in previous years, adding that it could also scare people with different ideas from speaking up.

Elsewhere in the paper, Radikal said that Professor Baskın Oran, also a columnist with the Agos weekly, where Dink was editor in chief, had applied to the prosecutor's office in Istanbul about death-threats he received concerning his views stated in a recent report on minorities.

Oran applied to the prosecutor's office with documented evidence of phone calls and mail messages threatening his life. However, the prosecutor's office declared that they would not launch an investigation, citing lack of information on the individuals who sent the death-threat messages as the reason for dismissing the application.

The daily said an official response to a query by Oran's lawyer read: “Can you not be more reconciliatory [in your remarks]? We need to be more tolerant of each other.”

Radikal also reported on a protest in Yerevan, where tens of thousands protested Dink's murder. The daily said a banner carried by a protestor in the demonstration read, “Article 301, 3 bullets, 0 security, 1 murder.”

TÜSİAD-MHP row heightens tension:
All eyes have turned to a fierce diatribe going on between the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and TÜSİAD, an article featured in yesterday's Hürriyet read.

Hürriyet recalled that a row started between Turkey's most influential business association TÜSİAD and the MHP when the latter accused the business association of aligning with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) after the association had suggested including Kurdish language courses in Turkish schools.

Angered by the proposal, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said, “If TUSİAD has adopted the political objectives of the PKK, then they should get organized under the roof of a political party.” On Thursday former TÜSİAD President Ömer Sabancı, speaking at the organization's 37th General Assembly, replied to Bahçeli saying, “A politician should think about where his words might lead and what dynamics he might trigger before he speaks.”

Hürriyet said Bahçeli was quick to respond to the criticism from Sabancı saying, “Your views on education in one's mother tongue completely overlap with those of the PKK.”

Logistic support still a mystery:
Yesterday's Cumhuriyet drew attention to the fact that Dink's suspected murderer Ogün Samast was able to flee the scene very easily prior to his arrest, which the daily said looked quite suspicious since the young man was not familiar with the neighborhood.

The daily claimed that doubts surrounding the suspect's escape had to be eliminated for preserving the state's trustworthiness. The daily said the only way to achieve that was to reveal how Samast, the confessed murderer, could be so calm while escaping from the crime scene. In his testimony, the hit man said he was not familiar with the neighborhood, where even residents get lost, the daily pointed out, but he was able to get away in broad daylight even without hiding the features of his face. Cumhuriyet said the lack of answers to these questions implied that the individuals working behind the scenes weren't thoroughly investigated.

The police, currently going through records found on Samast's computer, found out that Uludağ University student Muharrem Kahveci seemed to be the link immediately above Erhan Tuncel, the man who recruited the second suspect, Yasin Hayal, who in turn confessed to having recruited Samast for Dink's murder. The police found an e-mail message from Kahveci, sent to Ogün Samast which said, “Let's do something that would make the name of the Turk heard in the entire world.”

Another message, apparently sent shortly after Dink was murdered, congratulated Samast on the assassination.

Double polls; double crisis
January 27, 2007
Turkey must avoid adventures and find a way of avoiding crisis with both the EU and the US at the same time

Turkey is in an election year. In April the process of presidential elections will start. Sometime later Turks will go to the polls to elect the new Parliament. Electing a president has always been a difficult affair for this country, often landing it in serious political tensions. On the other hand, we have already started experiencing the rise of nationalism, Islamist and secularist rhetoric and subsequent political polarization in the country, which is doomed to escalate further as the parliamentary election date approaches.

As regards domestic politics, it is obvious that 2007 will be one of those years that will shape many years ahead. In this difficult period, it could be argued that in exchange of suspension of European Union accession talks on eight chapters, the tenuous EU bid of the country and the controversy over the Cyprus ports and airports issue that were feeding the rise of nationalist and Islamist rhetoric were wanted to be deferred to 2008 and onwards. However, it is very likely that despite all the moves of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration, the opposition parties will exploit the EU and Cyprus matters to the maximum in hopes of crippling the election chances of the ruling party, which in all public opinion polls still remain as the biggest political grouping of the country.

Relations with the United States, on the other hand, appear to be heading to a serious crisis. Besides failing to eradicate a serious crisis of confidence with the George W. Bush administration since the March 2001 parliamentary rejection of a government authorization request to allow the United States to use Turkish territory in opening a second front from the north on the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, now there is a Congress both houses of which are dominated by the Democrats with whom the AKP government has almost no contacts. It is very likely that half-hearted efforts of the Bush administration to avoid adoption of an Armenian genocide resolution will not suffice and the House of Representatives headed by Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat majority could use the sensitive issue to score a goal in the Bush White House.

Even if a resolution on the recognition of the alleged genocide cannot go further than being adopted by the House of Representatives and the Bush administration – which is not required to endorse it into law anyhow – remains committed to opposing it, Turkish-American relations will enter a very serious problematic period, similar to the one we have started experiencing with France after the adaptation of a similar bill by the lower house of parliament there. On the other hand, if not a full-fledged collision, it is obvious that some serious headache is already continuing in Turkish-U.S. relations regarding Iraq in general, Kirkuk and anti-terror cooperation in particular. It is clear that for some other strategic interests, the United States does not want to engage in any action that could harm its relations with the Iraqi Kurdish leadership at a time when it already has great problems with both the Shiite and Sunni Arabs of Iraq even though the desires of the northern Iraqi Kurds don't necessarily match with the overall declared U.S. goal of maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq. For Ankara, and other countries of the region, however, Iraq's unity is a matter of high importance for their own security as well.

The looming referendum on the future of the disputed city of Kirkuk – the demographic composition of which was seriously altered by the Kurds over the past three years – is very much like a time bomb according to Ankara which together with the city could explode the whole Iraq and trigger a regional war. Although it is clear that Kirkuk and Iraq would explode into a sectarian civil war if Kurds are allowed to complete their design of including the city in their zone, the United States, while on the one hand is stressing its commitment to maintain the unity of Iraq, is on the other hand saying that Kirkuk is an internal Iraqi affair which should be dealt according to the Iraqi Constitution, that it indeed dictated to the Iraqis in 2005. For the similar consideration of not upsetting the Iraqi Kurds, the United States has not been acting on the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) presence in northern Iraq.

Tensions with the EU on the one hand, and the looming Armenian bill and northern Iraqi problems with the United States on the other, Turkey is heading to a period of double confrontation in a year of double elections. In this period, if nationalist-Islamist rhetoric and the obsession of isolationism are allowed to increase further, it won't be a prophecy to say Hrant Dink will not be the sole victim of terrorism in Turkey this year. Turkey must avoid adventures and find a way of avoiding crisis with both the EU and the United States at the same time.

Time for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation
January 27, 2007
Armen Darbinyan

The civil outburst of the Turkish people, their unanimous march with slogans 'We are Armenians' and 'We are all Hrant Dink,' leaves no doubt that a core transformation in the worldview of today’s Turkey has occurred

Jan. 23, 2007, the day of Hrant Dink's funeral, and the appropriate reaction of Turkish and Armenian governments to what has actually happened, should become a turning point in relations between the Turkish and Armenian nations. Honestly, Armenians in the world and in particular, Armenians in Armenia did not anticipate such a sincere manifestation of solidarity with the ideas and character of a true citizen of Turkey, which was demonstrated by tens of thousands of representatives of Turkish Istanbul.

The civil outburst of these people, their unanimous march with slogans “We are Armenians” and “We are all Hrant Dink” leaves no doubt that a core transformation in the worldview of today's Turkey has occurred; that the Turkish civil elite, among whose worthiest representatives was the Armenian Dink, is indeed ready to lead the determined movement of the Turkish nation towards universal values and the standards of European mentality and life. In essence, Dink was the prototype of the future citizen of Turkey – the European Turkey – where human rights and freedoms are respected and which should self-purify, come to acknowledge historical faults and accept the “code of conduct” of a civilized state both internally and externally, no matter how regrettable this may sound to some politicians. If the Turkish state does really intend to turn into a civilization bridge between the West and the East, which has been stated often by present Turkish leaders and which is certainly promoted by Turkey's exclusively advantageous geographical location, then drastic and fundamental reforms in the sphere of human rights and civil freedoms are inevitable.

Moreover, now, after the murder of Dink, these reforms have become mandatory and leave no room for any alternatives. The first step could be the abolition of the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which enforces punishment for the “denigration of Turkishness.” I need to remind that it was this very article that had been used to bring charges against the late Dink, writer Elif Şafak and Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk. Why hasn't it been done so far? Perhaps Turkey's ruling elite has not been able to realize that the positions of Pamuk, Şafak and Dink are actually widely supported in society. The people of Istanbul were eloquent in their manifestation of this support on Jan. 23, 2007. I do want to believe that one day Turkey will have a government worthy of the people who went out to the streets of Istanbul on that day.

Turks are not our enemy: What about us, Armenians? We have to accept that the image of a Turk as an enemy, which has long been fostered among Armenians and which is based on the real feelings of a nation that has survived genocide and is scattered all over the world, does not fit well with the historic reality. We have to accept that the present generation of the Turkish Republic has little in common with the Ottomans and Young Turks having committed genocide at the beginning of the last century, and that continuing the hostility between the two nations is absolutely irrational from the historical perspective. Moreover, both states, Armenia and Turkey, are interested in establishing stability and lasting peace in the region, peace which has been anticipated for so long and the symbolic warrants of which can become Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks. We are accustomed to think that the major hindrance on the way to peace and stability in the region is Turkey, which is not willing to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia. Still, it is worth understanding that the Armenian state needs to clearly define its final demands from Turkey in case the latter acknowledges the fact of genocide and not shove off the matter with vague allusions to it being a subject for future discussions. The neighboring country has the right to know what claims its neighbor has… My position is that the residents of Armenia should have the right to a duty-free, unhindered and unlimited use of Turkish transportation routes, including seaports. Meanwhile, the Armenian government should directly and unambiguously state that it has no territorial claims from Turkey.

An outstanding citizen of the peaceful world, Dink, not only sincerely wanted to see the country in which he was born as a European country, but had a dream of seeing his de facto homeland Turkey and his historical homeland Armenia as good neighbors. Like nobody else, both with his life and death he was able to bring these two cherished goals closer to their accomplishment. The duty of both Turkish and Armenian politicians is to stay on the heights he has reached and pick up the banner of peace from his noble hands. I call on the governments and peoples of Turkey and Armenia to approach the Norwegian Nobel Committee with a suggestion to call off the rule against posthumous nomination and nominate this eminent individual for the Nobel Peace Prize, since no one has done more to make this peace a reality, than him. * Armen Darbinyan is the former prime minister of Armenia and the president of the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University

What others say /TDN
January 27, 2007
The rulers and the ruled:
Yücel SARPDERE, Evrensel
Many comments can be made about the hundreds of thousands at Dink's funeral. You could say the people are not racist; they are filled with reaction to the deeper state or speak about the anger caused by murders of intellectuals, the influence of intellectuals or the possibility that people would be living peacefully if racist and chauvinistic ideologies weren't being pumped into the society. However the masses at the funeral showed one thing for certain: People retain their humane side in the deepest part of their hearts, while those who rule the country are fanning racism and chauvinism. Imagine the “supreme race” theme being promoted everywhere, from textbooks to newspaper pages and TV screens. For tens of years the paranoia of the “betrayer within” and the disintegration syndrome have been nurtured. If this many people are flocking to the streets in such an environment and calling for brotherhood then what would the world be like if we lived in an environment where racism and chauvinism did not dominate?The rulers will always fear that free thought will create the free man. They invent imagined enemies and try to cover up class conflicts drawing on “racial differences.”Suppose that an unemployed youth goes to bed wondering, “Who will be disintegrating our country tonight,” and then goes on a hunt for “betrayers” in the morning. He will fire a bullet. Then those at the top, the moguls and their supporters in the media will shed crocodile tears as if they were not the ones to manufacture those internal and external enemies. The people have flocked to the streets and shown who it is that creates hostility and racism.

What does ‘we are all Armenian' mean?:
Fehmi KORU, Yeni Şafak
We create troubles for ourselves out of nothing. Deaths and funerals are special times when emotions hit bottom. That is why it is called “mourning.” We don't only shed tears for our loss, but also question how ready we are for “death.” If we are not that means that we fail to understand not only death but also life. Hrant Dink's murder was such an opportunity for everyone. The masses who walked in his funeral, whether they knew him or not, were conscious of the fact that his death would create a huge vacuum. The assassination of a Turkish citizen of “Armenian” origin by the name “Hrant” had deepened their concerns about their country. That is why they marched in the procession. We should view the banners reading “We are all Hrant Dink,” and “We are all Armenian” in this context. We have been listening to and reading different comments. Some say, “Why should we all be Hrant? We are Mehmet and Ahmet.” Some say, “No we are not Armenian, we are all Turks.” Meanwhile I hear some getting entangled in deeper thoughts such as, “I am Kurdish, now if I say ‘We are all Armenians' today, I might have to face people saying “We are all Turks” tomorrow.”What deep and intricate philosophizing this is!Actually, one has to be blind [to think] that the silent funeral banners bore no religious or national message. Are these thoughts emerging because “being Armenian” is something you can do just by saying so? Let alone Ahmet and Mehmet, how could any Hayk or Agop be Hrant in the true sense of the meaning?People can't change their ethnic backgrounds like they are changing rooms. The phrases “We are all Hrant Dink” and “We are all Armenian” don't suggest willingness for such a transformation. They call for a different transformation. How could anyone with his heart pounding in pain for the greatness of his loss and in concern for the country express more efficiently that he understands the state of the “other,” and does not agree with the “treatment” of the other?Those who held the banners reading “We are all Hrant Dink,” or “We are all Armenian,” didn't become Christians or Armenians. We are quite skilled at using gestures made for solidarity to discriminate among people.

The most revolutionary political party:
Mehmet ALTAN, Star
Last Friday, I was considering writing a column on the new democratization report by the Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists' Association (TÜSİAD). They were calling for a new “constitution,” written from scratch. However a couple of hours later Hrant was shot.Yesterday I was planning to write about our social panorama. I learned that the sentence handed to Hrant Dink over an “article” he wrote was approved within just seven months by the Supreme Court of Appeals. Meanwhile a sentence given to Yasin Hayal, who threatened Orhan Pamuk with death yesterday, hadn't even reached the first judicial review phase at the Supreme Court of Appeals although eight months had passed since his initial conviction. The difference in how the law viewed an “article” and a “bomb” was eerie. I had decided to write about that, but I quickly changed my mind when I listened to speeches delivered at the TÜSİAD General Assembly yesterday. Turkey's entrepreneurs were keeping up a staunch stance for a universal understanding of freedom and democracy. TÜSİAD's revolutionary initiative replaced the pessimistic Supreme Court of Appeals story. This is a country where you can never be too optimistic, nor too pessimistic. The outgoing TÜSİAD president [Ömer Sabancı] condemned the Dink murder and said it was a plan to isolate Turkey from the West and deprive the country of its hard-earned freedoms in the fields of democracy and freedom of thought. TÜSİAD's Higher Consultative Council President Mustafa Koç called for a change to [Article] 301, saying that pro-status quo forces resisting change were feeding pessimism in the country. TÜSİAD is the only organization in Turkey seeing “change” for what it really is. The others are viewing “change” through the filter of their own ideologies. They think that resisting change is forced by life itself. This way change and politics contradict each other and politics becomes more conservative. They are unaware of the existence of the hundreds of thousands who marched at Dink's funeral. They are too happy to let themselves surrender to the mistaken belief that Turkey is only made up of young people in slums trying to cover their intellectual ill-preparedness behind the mask of nationalism. In doing so, they leave pioneering revolutionary change to businessman. What should we do in this environment of lack of leadership? Should we vote for TÜSİAD? They wouldn't feel the slightest shame even if we did. If they were to feel any shame, would the institution of politics be lagging so far behind the business circles?

Erdal ŞAFAK, Sabah
Finally! Turkey is at last preparing to take a courageous step to counter Armenian genocide claims. If the stories being leaked are true, Turkey will be waging a tooth-and-nail struggle on the international platform rather than exhausting its breath in symposiums that the West doesn't heed. Sources say Turkey is even considering taking the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration [the International Court of Justice]. We wholeheartedly support this plan. There is no other way to put an end to the allegations, which in the past only bothered us in April but recently have been bothering us from the first day of every year. This is the only way to save our nation from this huge trauma and the damage caused by the increasing feeling of being faced with an “international conspiracy,” fanned by new links in the chain of countries which officially recognize Armenian claims [of genocide].

And most importantly this is the only way to make the West confront its own responsibility in that tragic era. For the voice of their conscience plays a major role in forcing many of these Western countries lined up to acknowledge the genocide claims. However Turkey never dealt with that aspect of the problem. It never expressed the two-facedness and shame of the West loudly and directly, worrying that such a move might make “something happen.” Now is the time to do that, no matter what is uncovered. Doing that will make it possible [to learn] which countries approved and actually aided in the deportation of 1915. This should be done so everyone will learn that Europe (England, France, Germany, Austria and Italy), unnerved by the Treaty of San Stefano signed between Turkey and Russia on March 3, 1878, forced them to sign the Treaty of Berlin, changing the provisions of the Treaty of San Stefano promising improvement in Armenia. The Treaty of Berlin revised the promise and England ultimately acquired Cyprus!

This is not all.The world should also learn who offered “Forced Deportation” to the Union and Progress government. Henri Mongenthau, who was the U.S. Ambassador to Istanbul between 1913 and 1916 wrote, “The idea came from the Germans,” in his memoirs. In that period, German General Bronsart Von Schelendorf, who was on duty at the Ottoman General Staff, signed an order demanding that “Armenians in Eastern Anatolia be deported.” Another German commander, Wolffskeel Von Reichenburg, was among those who met the deported in Syria. That is not all either. Then there is the French, who provoked the Armenians in Çukurova. There are schemes put to work at the time of the Sevres Treaty. Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan documented many interesting examples in her book “Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World.”It is time to show how the nations of Anatolia were turned into enemies by remorseless imperialist powers. It is time to force the West into a confrontation with its sins.

Until very recently, everyone except for those in the state and in politics was a little shy about certain issues. Turkishness, nationalism, the nation, the flag, Cyprus, Kurds and Armenians: these were matters people tiptoed around. No one dared step out of the bounds of official history or go against the grain of prevailing perceptions.
Not scared anymore
January 27, 2007
Mehmet Ali Birand
Until very recently, everyone except for those in the state and in politics was a little shy about certain issues. Turkishness, nationalism, the nation, the flag, Cyprus, Kurds and Armenians: these were matters people tiptoed around. No one dared step out of the bounds of official history or go against the grain of prevailing perceptions. Nationalist groups and political parties used to represent such a force that no one dared contradict them. Nongovernmental organizations with differing opinions would try to keep a low profile, while the media turned a blind eye. Businessmen always kept silent, associations and intellectuals were nowhere to be seen. It was a total propaganda terror.

Things have changed now.
Just look around. Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli makes a harsh statement and gets rapped over the knuckles from the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD) right away. People are no longer shy. Those who flood the streets can shout, “I am an Armenian,” without fearing criticism. No one is scared.

The rules are changing in Turkey. Some know this and behave accordingly, while others think the old ones still apply. They think that slogans can still scare away the people. They have no idea about how wrong they are.

Istanbul earns a new jewel:
The 2006 Turkish Achievement Awards, organized by the Turkish Businesswomen's Association (TİKAD), European Journalists' Association and Time magazine, saw the female entrepreneur of the year award being given to Ahu Kerimoğlu Aysal.

I think this was the best possible choice. Aysal had achieved something no one else had. She spent $55 million to build the Les Ottomans hotel. She knew she would not get sufficient returns to cover the cost, but she did it anyway. Instead of investing that money somewhere else for a quick buck, she enriched the city. She built a jewel for Istanbul.

She deserves every reward she gets.

Rwanda is ahead of us on gender:
Whenever a gender-related question is asked, bureaucrats and politicians always give the same answer. “Turkish women were given political rights much earlier than some of their counterparts in Europe.”

We love to brag about this. However, the real question is, “To what extent have Turkish women been allowed to exercise their political rights?”

Numbers provide us with the answer.
Since 1935, 8,294 men and 186 women were elected to Parliament. In other words, 52 percent of our population has been represented by an average of 2.2 percent in Parliament in the past 72 years.

Today, the world average in parliamentary representation for women is 16.7 percent. The figure in Turkey is 4.4 percent. Never in republican history has this figure passed the 5 percent threshold. Women were put up as candidates at localities where everyone knew they would lose. The state of affairs at the local level is even worse. Only 0.6 percent of mayors are women.

Turkey comes last among EU member or candidate countries in this respect. Women's representation in Malta is second last at 9.2 percent, double of Turkey's level.

Do you know which country is the best in the world in terms of women's representation? It is Rwanda.

Forty-nine percent of deputies in Rwanda's Parliament are women. Those who believe in democracy are saying, “Turkey unfortunately has not reached Rwanda's standards in 84 years of republican government.”

Can anyone say a democracy without women can truly be described as a democracy? Women's organizations have been calling for years for affirmative action for women in politics. However, men are just ignoring their pleas. Women are thinking about how to solve this problem. Our political leaders, especially Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, need to stop seeing women as a political tool they can use to attract more votes, and start seeing them as productive members of society. Turkish politics needs to start attracting educated, sensitive and knowledgeable women. We need to transform our country from a “male-dominated democracy” into a true democracy.

Authorities charge 6th suspect in Dink killing
January 27, 2007 /TDN
The police on Friday charged a sixth suspect thought to have links to the Hrant Dink assasination

Turkish authorities charged a sixth suspect Friday in the slaying of prominent journalist Hrant Dink, police said.

Dink, who spoke out about the mass killings of Armenians in the early 20th century, was shot dead outside his newspaper building a week ago in a killing that raised fears that Turkey may continue to be a dangerous place for intellectuals who openly express their ideas.

University student Erhan Tuncel was formally arrested Friday in Istanbul at the end of the legal four-day detention period on charges of instigating the killing, police said. A seventh suspect, detained along with Tuncel, was released without being charged.

Five other suspects including alleged gunman Ogün Samast and Yasin Hayal, a nationalist militant who served time in prison for a 2004 attack and who police say confessed to inciting the slaying and to providing a gun and money to Samast, were charged Wednesday.

Also Friday, the government transferred Trabzon Governor Hüseyin Yavuzdemir and Trabzon Police Chief Reşat Altay to Ankara, tantamount to a demotion. Both men had come under criticism after Dink's killing for allegedly not closely monitoring the activities of Hayal despite his conviction for bombing a McDonald's restaurant in 2004. All the suspects were based in Trabzon.

The interior Ministry said the governor and the police chief were transferred due to the recent incidents in the province. It also sent two inspectors to Trabzon to further investigate the matter.

It was in their city last year that Rev. Andrea Santoro, a 60-year-old Italian Catholic priest, was shot dead by an apparently Islamist youth angered by the publication in Europe of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Authorities, meanwhile, launched a separate investigation into Hayal for what appeared to be a threat against Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk - who like Dink has been vocal about the killings of Armenians, police said.

Hayal shouted: "Orhan Pamuk, be smart! Be smart!" as he was being brought to an Istanbul courtroom with his hands cuffed behind his back on Wednesday. The investigation could lead to Hayal's prosecution if it concludes that his words amounted to a threat against the novelist.

Dink, the 52-year-old editor of the bilingual Agos newspaper, had been brought to trial numerous times for allegedly "insulting Turkishness," a crime under Turkey's penal code.

Pamuk, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature last year, also faced trial in Turkey for his comments on the Armenian killings and has been accused of treason for his remarks. His case was thrown out on a technicality.

Dink's murder inspired a massive outpouring of support for democratic values, including freedom of expression, tolerance and reconciliation between Armenians and Turks. But the killing also pointed to Turkey's continuing problems with extreme nationalism. Most Turks suspect the killing might be linked to ultra-nationalist groups.

Week in review
January 27, 2007
Last week was truly a historic one for Turkey. It was perhaps a milestone in the history of the Turkish Republic. The reason, of course, was the heinous murder of Hrant Dink, the most prominent Armenian public intellectual in the country, by a 17-year-old fascist militant, on Jan 19. The reaction that Turkish society has shown to the murder and the solidarity it expressed with the motto, “We are all Hrant, we are all Armenians,” was unprecedented. It signaled hopes for a more open, tolerant and peaceful Turkey. Tens of thousands mourn Hrant Dink.

Tens of thousands mourn Dink:
Tens of thousands of mourners gathered on Tuesday for a last farewell to Dink in Osmanbey, one of the central districts of Istanbul where he was shot in the head in front of his newspaper's office building, Agos.

Dink's fame for his courage and integrity stretched way beyond the Armenian community, whose rights he dedicated his life defending. His murder has made him a symbol for most citizens of Turkey.

The organizers of the funeral deliberately banned political slogans from the rally, as Dink, who had been subjected to various death threats, had expressly wished. Only leaflets bearing the slogan “We are all Hrant Dink” and “Repeal Article 301” were circulated.

Dink, like many Turkish intellectuals, had been charged with “insulting Turkishness” under the terms of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

Although large, the funeral remained a strangely intimate affair. Members of the Armenian community of Osmanbey, Bomonti and Şişli poured in from the side streets along with famous intellectuals, actors and media personalities. Police cordoned off the area, searching the bags of all participants.

Speeches took place punctually and the melancholy sound of the Duduk, the Armenian musical instrument, preceded the oration given by Dink's widow Rakel. “He left his wife, his daughters, his grandchildren and those who loved him, but he did not leave his country,” she said about her husband. Rakel also said: “Whoever the murderer is, whether aged 17 or 27 does not matter. I know they were babies once. But nothing can be done without questioning what makes a baby into a murderer.”

“We are here to mourn Hrant,” said a demonstrator who was standing outside with his girlfriend, “But we left him alone.”

Erdoğan offers condolences in person:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has offered his condolences to the family of journalist Dink and Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II made personal visits to both. Erdoğan arrived at the Dink family home in Bakırköy, Istanbul on Wednesday evening. Following his one-hour visit to the Dink family, he proceeded to the Armenian Patriarchate in Kumkapı, where he spent 20 minutes visiting Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II.

The ‘Trabzon connection' comes under the spotlight:
Trabzon, one of the biggest towns in the Black Sea Region, has come under the spotlight due to a number of events, the first of which was a lynching attempt of members of the Association for Inmates' Families' Solidarity (TAYAD) during a protest on prison conditions on April 6, 2005. Father Andrea Santoro was murdered in Trabzon on Feb. 5, 2006, and now Dink's murderer, Ogün Samast, hails from the same city. The man who allegedly asked Samast to kill Dink, Yasin Hayal, had previously been convicted to 11 months in prison for bombing a McDonald's in the Black Sea city on Oct. 25, 2004.

“Trabzon has a conservative, nationalist edifice. People are devoted to each other, but in the last three to four years things have started to change,” said Ahmet Külekçi, a journalist from Trabzon. In a phone interview with the Turkish Daily News Külekçi said that unemployment is the driving factor in the change that has taken place in the city.

The high rate of immigration into the city over the last decade from neighboring districts has also worsened the unemployment problem, emphasized Hürriyet journalist Faruk Bildirici in a phone interview. Bildirici asserted that the city, which is already quite conservative and nationalist, has also received its share of the rising nationalist tide in Turkey. According to Bildirici, who has visited the city many times, the economic situation has laid the groundwork and the nationalist surge has made the town more chauvinistic.

Meanwhile, members of some political parties and nongovernmental organizations in Trabzon condemned Dink's assassination. A group, including Trabzon Deputy Mayor Kemal Kılıç, Karadeniz Technical University Assistant Dean Professor Selahattin Köse and Trabzon Bar Association President Veysel Malkoç, protested against Dink's murder yesterday with a written declaration, reported the Anatolia news agency. “The reality – that the gun that killed Dink was fired by the hands of a person from Trabzon – tormented us,” said Trabzon Journalists' Association President Ahmet Şefik Molla Mehmetoğlu.

A very popular online networking site called Facebook has rivaling groups such as 'Recognize the Armenian Genocide' group and 'The Armenian Genocide is a Huge Lie' group. A much smaller group exists called 'Peace for Armenia and Turkey.' But its participants skyrocketed since the murder of Hrant Dink.
Turkish and Armenian youth are talking
January 27, 2007
In August 1999 Mother Nature played a trick on two nations living as neighbors, sometimes exchanging brides and grooms, sharing similar cuisine and customs and laughing at similar jokes. All the while, however, they believed their differences were irreconcilable after having disliked each other for such a long time. The earthquake in the Marmara region that year sparked a wave of solidarity between these two nations, Greece and Turkey, and created a new climate for bilateral relations. The so-called “earthquake diplomacy,” if nothing else, reduced prejudices among Turkish and Greek youth. The disaster reminded them they have more similarities than differences. A Greek friend said at the time, “I guess this is the nature of Anatolian people: we need disasters to see how alike we are.”

This time a manmade disaster forced another unresolved conflict of Anatolia to take a new turn. The tragedy of Hrant Dink's murder has brought millions of Armenians and Turks together. Never in 92 years have Armenians and Turks been so united or actively engaged in dialogue.

One interesting example of this change is what is happening on a popular online networking site called Facebook based in the United States, a Web site popular among students including in Turkey.

“There is a ‘Recognize the Armenian Genocide' group and a rival ‘The Armenian Genocide is a Huge Lie' group. A much smaller group exists called ‘Peace for Armenia and Turkey' but the number of active members remained small and recently it seemed rather inactive. This all changed the day Hrant Dink was murdered,” said Paul Vartan Sookiasian, who is a member of Facebook. An Armenian student who graduated from Harvard created the “Hrant Dink Memorial” group on Facebook. Within hours its membership had skyrocketed to a thousand members, all united in grief on the group's message board. No one would have thought a thousand people would come together in this group just a day before, but suddenly this group was full of Turkish and Armenian students (many living as part of the diaspora, some in Turkey). The Turks on the network started to translate posters and signs from the protests or vigils for the Armenians and even reported what they were witnessing in Istanbul. “I was at the gathering in front of the Agos newspaper office this evening, it was truly and profoundly sad by all means. … 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 maps are just imagined,” wrote a citizen reporter from Istanbul.

An Armenian group member responded, “We hope you can write more about what it was like at the demonstrations. It must've been an amazing sight. Wish we could have all been there!” “At times tensions rose as an angry nationalist from one side or the other entered and starting denouncing the other side for one reason or another. However, they were unanimously shouted down by the other members of the group, both Turkish and Armenian. A common comment seen from both peoples was of their pure astonishment at just watching the discussions unfold. Armenians and Turks were talking together for the first time. There was a group with Turkish and Armenian members who had never spoken to each other before taking inspiration from the same man and trying to emulate him,” said Sookiasian. A group member who wrote, “I am thoroughly sickened by how Turks treat anyone who speaks up for the Armenian Genocide!!!” was quickly answered by another Turkish group member who said: “I am Turkish and believe me NOBODY is more sickened and ashamed than I am right now and a lot of Turks share my feelings.

All the Turkish newspaper blogs, online discussion forums, etc. are being bombarded with messages of anger against the killer.” Over the weekend some Armenian and Turkish members of Facebook are planning to have an online voice chat to get to know each other better. “This group, a microcosm of their respective communities, now numbers over 1,700 members and is growing daily as more Turks and Armenians join together. The atmosphere of peace and for the first time some mutual understanding is an incredible symbol and testament to the greatness of Dink and exemplifies the dream he had for us all,” said Sookiasian. Now the main question is will these newly flourishing positive feelings among young people towards each other will create a new platform or will they shatter under the shadow of political maneuvers.

Nationalist group warns of bomb attacks
January 27, 2007
Hıdır Göktaş
ANKARA - Reuters
A shadowy ultranationalist group placed a fake bomb outside Turkey's Parliament on Thursday, threatening real explosions unless men involved in the politically-charged murder of an Armenian editor are released.

Police said they blew up a small package outside Parliament which carried a note from a group calling itself the Turkish Revenge Brigade (TIT) calling for Ogun Samast and Yasin Hayal, two key suspects, to be freed.

A police official told Reuters the note threatened "real big explosions" if the two were not released.

TIT has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly attacks in Turkey but many question the validity of their statements.

Istanbul's chief prosecutor, Aykut Cengiz Engin, has charged Samast, an unemployed 17-year-old from the Black Sea coast, with premeditated murder and membership in an armed group.

Hayal, a known nationalist militant, and three others have been charged with forming an armed organization and incitement to murder.

Hayal has admitted to inciting his friend Samast to kill Dink, police have said.

The murder brought 100,000 mourners onto Istanbul's streets for Dink's funeral on Tuesday and reignited debate about hardline nationalism in a country seeking European Union membership.

Samast, reported to have been close to an ultranationalist group in his home town Trabzon, has admitted to shooting Dink as he left his bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper Agos in Istanbul last Friday.

"From the quality and the nature of the crimes attributed to the suspects it is clear the result emerges that they formed an armed group," Engin told reporters late on Wednesday in comments reported by the NTV Web site.

Engin said the suspects had been remanded in custody. Two more suspects, who have not been charged, are due to appear in an Istanbul court for initial hearings on Friday.

According to police, prosecutors and Samast's own lawyer, he has confessed to killing Dink for "insulting" Turks in his writings and statements on the massacres of Armenians during World War I - a highly sensitive issue in Turkey.

Dink, who worked for reconciliation between Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks, had been prosecuted for his views on the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915.

He was among intellectuals, including Nobel Prize in Literature winner Orhan Pamuk, who have been prosecuted under laws restricting freedom of expression in Turkey.

Turkey denies claims by Armenia and other countries 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 breakup of the Ottoman Empire.

Hayal served 11 months in jail for the 2004 bombing of a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon.

Turkey: No new developments with Armenia
January 27, 2007
Turkish Daily News
Ankara has said recent remarks made by an Armenian government official expressing his country's readiness to establish diplomatic ties with Turkey without conditions does not amount to a new expansion in bilateral ties.

“Similar statements have been made by the Armenian government at various times and the latest declaration does not signify a new expansion,” said a written statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry late on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday after visiting the family of assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian said, “Armenia's wish is for diplomatic relations to start without any conditions.”

In the statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Bilman said Turkey wanted to improve ties with all its neighbors based upon mutual trust and respect but emphasized that maintenance of cooperation and the strengthening of bilateral and regional ties was not possible through measures taken by Turkey alone; a common will and joint steps were necessary.

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations, and the border between the two countries has been shut since 1993 because of Armenia's unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan – a close Turkish ally – over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azeri territory occupied by Armenians. Relations are further complicated over the World War I-era killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

Hopes have risen for normalization of Turkish-Armenian ties, with the Turkish government extending an invitation to both Yervan and the Armenian diaspora to participate in Dink's funeral, an intellectual who exerted efforts for reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia.

Turkish government officials had talks with Armenia's deputy foreign minister on Wednesday in a constructive and positive atmosphere, said the ministry statement.

“We sincerely hope that the tragic event that took place in our country last week will contribute to a new atmosphere in Turkish-Armenian ties and Armenia will reciprocate our well-intentioned efforts aimed at overcoming stagnation in our relations,” it added.

The ministry also said the Turkish government's proposal to Armenia to set up a joint commission of academics from the two countries to study genocide allegations was a concrete example of Turkey's intention to open dialogue with its neighbour.

Trabzon governor, police chief removed from office due to journalist's killing
Governor Huseyin Yavuzdemir and police chief Resat Altay of the Trabzon province in northern Turkey were removed from office due to recent incidents in the region, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on Friday.

Ministry of Interior Affairs charged two chief inspectors to investigate whether there was any failure or negligence of the local administration and the provincial security department, according to the report.

Last year, Andrea Santaro, Italian Roman-Catholic priest of the Santa Maria Church, was shot dead by a teenager in Trabzon where he was the parish priest for a small Christian community.

The key suspects of the killing of journalist Hrant Dink were also from the province.

Hrant Dink, a 53-year-old outspoken Turkish journalist of Armenian descent, was shot dead in front of his office building in Istanbul last Friday. The killing has ignited a national public outcry since then.

Last Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Ogun Samast, the suspected killer, was arrested in the northern province of Samsun earlier in the day.

Before his killing, Dink had been convicted by the Article 301 of the Penal Code of insulting Turkey's identity over his comments on the alleged Armenian genocide by Ottoman Turks during World War I and received a six-month suspended sentence.

He had also received threat from nationalists who considered him as a traitor, local media reported.

Turkey has denied that up to 1.5 million Armenians died as a result of systematic genocide during the Turkish Ottoman period between 1915 and 1923.

Source: Xinhua

Nothing new in Armenian comments: Turkish Foreign Ministry
The Foreign Ministry said that it was to be hoped that the tragic killing of Hrant Dink would contribute to creating a new atmosphere in Turkish-Armenian relations.
26 1 2007
ANKARA - There is nothing new to be found in comments by Armenia?s Deputy Foreign Minister saying that his country is ready to establish relations with Turkey without any preconditions, a statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry late Thursday said.

The Armenian government had made similar comments on several occasions in the past, the statement said.

Armenian Deputy FM Arman Kirakosian, made while he was in Istanbul to attend the funeral of murdered Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, were not a sign of a new step, the statement said.

Turkey wants to improve its relations with all its neighbours within the framework of mutual confidence and respect, said that Foreign Ministry.

However, enhancing bilateral and regional relations and co-operation cannot only be achieved by the steps to be taken by Turkey but can be possible with the will and steps of the other parties, the statement said.

Turkey had taken a number of concrete steps in the past to further improve dialogue with Armenia, including Ankara’s proposal to set up a joint history commission to look into allegations that the Ottoman Empire had committed an act of genocide against its Armenian citizens during the First World War.

The statement also said that it was to be hoped that the slaying of Dink would “contribute to the creation of a new atmosphere in Turkish-Armenian relations, and Armenia will respond to our good-willed efforts to overcome the stagnation in our relations with Armenia”.

Ankara Responds Sharply To Yerevan Comments
26 January 2007,
Comments made by Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian that "Armenian is prepared for unconditional diplomatic relations with Turkey" have elicited a sharp response from Ankara.

Foreign Ministry officials in the Turkish capital referred to Kirakosian's comments as "exploitation of feelings," noting that they came in the wake of national sorrow over the death of journalist Hrant Dink, and that the "unconditional diplomatic relations" part of the comment was the same as the phrasing used in a letter from Armenian President Robert Kocharian to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in April of 2005. Yesterday evening in Ankara, PM Erdogan referred to the Yerevan administration's refusal to consider the Ankara suggestion of a joint commission to investigate Armenian claims of genocide, saying "First they need to answer our suggestion. They have still not offered an answer. This is not a show of good intention. I do not find this stance of theirs sincere."

The Proposal Of Establishing Diplomatic Relations With Armenia Devoid Of Any Preconditions
Omer Engin LUTEM
26 January 2007
Having come to Istanbul to attend the funeral of Hrant Dink, the Armenian Assistant Foreign Minister Kirakosian, told a number of newspapers that Armenia was prepared to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey devoid of any preconditions which made the headlines of many papers.

Before analyzing this issue we shall pause for a moment to elaborate on the meaning of establishing diplomatic ties without any preconditions.

It is quite normal for unconditional diplomatic relations to be established between two countries in situations where there are no problems to be spoken of. However if there are areas of conflict and establishing diplomatic relations would not resolve but cause the continuation of these problems, then one of the sides requesting the resolution of the problems as a precondition is only to be expected.

As it stands, there exists three main problems between Turkey and Armenia:

The first is Armenia not having recognized Turkey’s territorial integrity. In this manner, Armenia believes that it retains the right to request land from Turkey at a future date.

The second is Armenia advancing genocide allegations against Turkey, and granting support to the Diaspora’s claims of reparations from Turkey.

The third is Armenia having occupied approximately 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory and having made approximately one million Azeri’s become fugitives. As a reaction, Turkey closed its border gate with Armenia.

If unconditional diplomatic relations were to be established, then Armenia would have no reason to resolve these three problems.

On this point it should be noted that as a response to the request made by all Turkish governments since 1991 to resolve these problems in advance, Armenia set forth the “unconditional diplomatic solution” as a means of taking advantage of the positive connotation associated with the word ‘unconditional’. In this manner Armenia has tried to frame Turkey as the side which has refrained from establishing relations.

Interestingly, almost all Turkish newspapers have made Armenia’s call for establishing diplomatic relations their headline story as if it were a new proposal. Several newspapers interpreted Kirakosian’s proposal as signifying the thawing of relations between Armenia and Turkey. Ironically, one newspaper misinterpreted the words “we want to develop good relations with Armenia” expressed by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, as meaning that a positive reply was given to Kirakosian. Similar story lines were aired on television. To our knowledge, only one newspaper, having consulted the Foreign Ministry, stated how Kirakosian’s call was not new and that the establishment of diplomatic relations with Armenia was contingent upon the solution of the three problems mentioned above.

Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that the Turkish media has, to a degree, done service to the aim of Armenian attempts to blame Turkey for the lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Historian Eric Feigl, proved Armenian genocide to be untrue, died
26 Jan. 2007
Austrian historian and writer, Professor Eric Feigl has died at 76 today, APA reports.

Recently he had internal hemorrhage and today he has died of kidney failure in the hospital in Vienna, APA reports. He decided to investigate the claims on Armenian genocide after terrors committed by Armenian Terror Organization ASALA and wrote a book called “A Myth of Terror”. He renewed the book after his close fiend Erdogan Ozen’s assassination by Armenian terrorists and devoted the book wholly to Turkish diplomat. He proved that Armenian genocide did not happen basing on the historical documents kept in some of archives of European countries.
It should be noted that, Eric Feigl was awarded Honour Order by President Ilham Aliyev. /APA/

http://www.apa.az/photos/Erik%20Fayql.jpg 110x80

'Mind-dazzling in crowds'
It seems as though the enormous crowd that gathered for Hrant Dink's funeral has surprised some. How is it that people were able to march for so long and come together for an intellectual with a different religious and ethic identity in a gathering that did not involve brute force?
Let there be no misunderstanding: Those who are amazed by the silence of the crowds that came to bid farewell to Hrant Dink, slain by those who fell victim to primitive sentiments, those who think they speak on behalf of the crowd present that day... These intellectuals who are experiencing a "dazzling of the mind" do not have the ability to understand the crowds that gathered nor the dissolute stance that pulled the trigger.


TUSIAD: Don't let Dink killing, 301 derail Turkey
The New Anatolian / Ankara
26 January 2007
Turkey's largest business group yesterday weighed into the recently rekindles debate over Article 301, saying the controversial law was supported by those who favor the status quo,

Mustafa Koc, head of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association's (TUSIAD) High Consultation Council, stated that last week's assassination of Hrant Dink, often targeted by 301, threatened to cast a pall over the year. "Feeding this pessimism," he added, "are some political trends which try to block transition and progress, the sectors which resist renewal, just as in the example of Article 301, as well as those who surrender themselves to the current atmosphere instead of exerting their willpower in favor of democratic breakthroughs."

In a report on democratization released last week,TUSIAD presented structural reform proposals meant to transform Turkey's political atmosphere, sparking anger in some circles.

TUSIAD made proposals in the report such as changes to the 1982 Constitution as well as Article 301, lowering the election threshold, and offering education in Kurdish.

In his speech, which seemed to be in response to criticisms leveled by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP )Leader Devlet Bahceli on Wednesday, Koc said: "First of all, we once again see clearly with this incident that the political atmosphere which laid the groundwork for the assassination of Hrant Dink could easily damage positive beliefs regarding Turkey's future."

Bahceli had claimed that an atmosphere was being sown for separatism by painting nationalism as a malignancy and that certain groups were supporting this through their proposals.

Koc responded that in such cases, the traps into which the country is drawn should be evaluated and new political positions should be assumed. "Even though we drew back from saying so, many of us believe that everything will be quickly forgotten and the vicious political challenges which feed this highly risky atmosphere will continue," he warned.

Koc explained that Turkey has two important elections this year and warned they could lead to tension, adding that international, political and economic developments could produce new problems. "A series of issues which are hot and open for provocation stretching from Cyprus to Iraq seem set to dominate this year," Koc said. "Even though all these subjects are concrete realities and have great potential, there is no place where pessimism will channel us."

Emphasizing that it is inevitable that certain forces on the national and international stage want to slow down Turkey's transition process and mislead the country, Koc stated that Turkey is oriented towards the West. "We cannot react to developments which upset and pressure us over periodic difficulties by going off-course," he said. "We can't let our efforts be wasted."

Koc stressed the importance of overall efforts to realize Turkey's ideal, adding, "Without the contributions of the current political parties, autonomous regulatory institutions which see the needs of the modern bureaucracy and market economy, strong civil groups, free and high-quality media, educational institutions and the private sector, this development process cannot be completed."

Underlining that the private sector was one of the most important driving forces of Turkey's transition over the last 20 years, Koc said: "We have no choice but to turn towards the West in order to provide prosperity and happiness for Turkey's 70 million people. By isolating ourselves from the world and becoming satisfied with the opportunities of our geographic location, we can never close the gap between us and developed countries."

Saying that Turkey should improve relations with its neighbors as much as possible, Koc said that strengthening relations especially with Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Caucasian, Mediterranean and Black Sea countries and the Balkans would also boost ties with the EU and the U.S. Koc highlighted that TUSIAD would continue to fight every effort to divert Turkey from its path.

Omer Sabanci, head of TUSIAD's Executive Board, directly replied to the MHP leader by saying: "A politician should consider the impact his words will have have and affect the dynamics. We expect from our politicians more solemn, rational words which elevate democracy."

Stressing that they should get rid of the shame associated with Article 301 in order to claim to be the owner of democracy and its accomplishments, Sabanci said: "Rooted reforms should be done to the judicial system and the election system should be changed in line with the assurance of fair representation in order not to leave democratization efforts just on paper."

Stressing that Dink's assassination could benefit those who want to denigrate Turkey's position in the world, Sabanci said: "This attack may create foreign conditions which have been desired for a long time by those who want to harm our advances in the fields of democracy and freedom of opinion and to isolate Turkey by breaking it off from the Western world." Sabanci added that Turkey needs more democracy to deflect these initiatives.

Bullet for Dink, smear campaign against me!
Ilnur Cevik

26 January 2007
Some of our colleagues are shot while they try to burry some of us alive. Many things have been said against Ilnur Cevik over the years simply because I declared that I am a Turk who believes in Turkish-Kurdish friendship and that we Turks have to lead the way to defend the rights of the Kurds if we want to live with them in harmony.

Many things have been said simply because I showed deep respect for the masses with religious sensitivities in Turkey and wanted to build bridges between them and the secularist elite that run our country … I was insulted as a Muslim fundamentalist.

So the latest assault on Ilnur Cevik is nothing new and should be expected at a time when we continue to push for dialogue between Turks and the Kurds.

There are claims that Ilnur Cevik collaborated with the Baath regime in 1997 and this is now mentioned in the former Iraqi intelligence security files. All this is rubbish.

It is true that Ilnur Cevik visited Iraq several times during the Iran-Iraq War and later after the Gulf War. All the time he was cordially welcomed but there were no warm receptions. It is true that Ilnur Cevik visited Baghdad in 1997 as the guest of former Iraqi Ambassador Rafi al-Tikriti who was at the time the head of the Iraqi intelligence. Cevik was accompanied by businessman Mehmet Emin Deger who later became the head of the Iraqi-Turkish Friendship Association and also Recep Ozel, a former politician who was close to Suleyman Demirel. They traveled to Baghdad by road in Deger's car and were very badly treated on the way by Iraqi authorities. When they reached Baghdad al-Tikriti displayed better hospitality.

Cevik wanted to meet ministers but he only managed to meet the industry minister and that hardly provided him material to write a story. But his meeting with al-Tikriti was very productive. The intelligence chief spoke positively about the Kurdish leadership and later Ilnur Cevik conveyed this to Kurdish leaders Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani.

After this trip al-Tikriti was poisoned allegedly under orders from Saddam. Cevik always suspected that Saddam may have ordered the murder of al-Tikriti because of this visit.

At the time the stories Ilnur Cevik wrote in the Turkish Daily News were critical of the Iraqi administration and showed the dissatisfaction of the people in Baghdad with the Iraqi regime and especially with the attitude of Uday Hussein who was molesting the daughters of many people and creating deep public resentment.

We have been very transparent about our work which is reflected in our stories and editorials.

We supported the Iraqis against Iran. We always defended the Iraqi Kurds against Saddam. We always tried to explain to the Saddam people and the Baath officials they were making mistakes.

But today we see that some people are unhappy because we talk about the realities and do not live in a dream world of fantasies; thus the smear campaign.

They have claimed that the two persons who came with me to Baghdad and I were involved in a tender to sell military clothing that protects against chemical weapons. There was no such tender and we did not attempt to sell anything. We were never involved in any business dealings with the Saddam regime. The files of the Saddam era are open for everyone to see. We simply toured Baghdad and returned via Mosul to Turkey by land and once again we were badly treated by Iraqi authorities.

Those who have a good memory will recall that in an interview with The New Anatolian last year Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zabari said he read three massive files about Ilnur Cevik retrieved from the archives of the Foreign Ministry from the Saddam era that showed the Iraqis were closely monitoring him and his activities in Iraqi Kurdistan as well as in Turkey. Zabari had praise for Ilnur Cevik …

Some people are clearly trying to create a Turkish-Kurdish clash and are in a highly provocative mood. They do not hesitate to claim stories of atrocities that do not exist. They go to the extremes of claiming Kurds have banned the use of the Turkmen language in Erbil and unfortunately the Turkish public believes them. When we raise our voice to tell the truth we are shot down.

We will not be deterred. We will not be silenced. We will continue to fight for our causes and hope for the best.

Who could answer these questions?
Onder Aytac & Emre Uslu
26 January 2007
Concerning the responsibility for Hrant Dink's murder, the most crucial questions that people in the West are unclear on have been raised by one of our readers from Germany. We would like to share his questions with you and welcome any good answer that could satisfy him.

Here's what our reader had to say:

"If you plant a bomb in a public place, this is probably attempted murder, or at least manslaughter, in several cases. In my opinion, you can't get away with just 11 months in prison for this. In other words, I could say that Yasin Hayal not only got judicial expertise from someone beforehand, but, perhaps, also support from the judges.

"Is this, then, indeed Turkish law? Or just a 'mentality' of Turkish judges to disregard human life? (That would require that it's trained and taught at central points, probably in universities)

"Or was it an organized crime which involved judges or people in a position to manipulate or pressure judges?

"In the latter case, the senseless McDonald's bombing [in 2004 that Hayal was sentenced for] may have been a test of loyalty and/or unscrupulousness. As he was 'proven,' Hayal was recycled as fast as possible to serve 'higher' purposes.

"Of course, that's just another conspiracy theory.

"And how is it that the High Court of Appeals still couldn't find enough sense of honor to resign? Don't they have an idea how much contempt for Turkey's judiciary they produced? It seems to me that there we have a strong argument for the mentality theory."

After all these questions, what we would say is that you can find many people who would come up with many petty little comments, but who could believe them?

Ankara Bar asks who threatened Dink at Istanbul deputy governor's office
Burak Esen - The New Anatolian / Ankara
26 January 2007
After days of rallies and tears, as interest in Hrant Dink's killing fades to join a long list of political murders, the Ankara Bar yesterday made an attempt to keep the issue alive, at least for a short while longer.

The bar asked the Interior Ministry to launch a disciplinary and criminal investigation into an Istanbul deputy governor and two people with him who allegedly threatened the late Armenian-origin Turkish journalist, basing this request on a column by Dink telling of this incident in the deputy governor's office.

Dink, in his Jan. 12 column "Why was I chosen as a target?" in his bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, claimed that he was threatened by two unknown "relatives" of the deputy governor over one of his news articles.

The claims were also touched upon by a close friend of Dink following his murder last Friday. Aydin Engin stated that some time ago an Istanbul deputy governor called and extended an invitation to Dink. "When Dink got there, no one paid attention to him," said Ergin. "There were two people with the deputy governor. He introduced them to Dink as his friends. Afterwards, one of the two, a man, spoke at length and said that there are all sorts of people on the streets and that something bad could happen to him."

Engin added that Dink mentioned the event in his application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Dink wrote in his column that he was invited to the office of an Istanbul deputy governor and to bring documents about a news story, but only after he reminded them about the documents did they remember that they had called him to discuss them.

The documents were about a news story claiming that Ataturk's adopted daughter Sabiha Gokcen, Turkey's first female Turkish pilot, was an ethnic Armenian, and Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler, in a statement in defense of his deputy, said that the news had disturbed the Turkish people.

Guler also said that Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan was subjected to death threats after the story, which, he remarked, may have prompted the deputy governor to tell Dink of the unwanted consequences of his news.

Guler also said, as quoted in the petition, that while the police and the governor's office were discussing security measures to protect Mesrob II, an official responsible for security called Dink to exchange information with him about threats against the patriarch.

However the governor revealed neither the name of the deputy governor or the position of people with him during the meeting.

Dink, who explained the reason for the invitation as to examine documents about the story, also said in his column that both the deputy governor and the unknown male at the meeting respectively told him that he was an experienced journalist and that he should write more carefully.

"Although we're sure that you have no bad intentions, you may face a public backlash as not everyone interprets your articles the way we do," Dink quoted the unknown guest as saying.

The bar's petition, which asked about the relationship of the two people to the deputy governor and whether they are public servants, was given to the ministry by lawyer Kemal Vuraldogan yesterday.

The details the lawyer sought from the ministry on behalf of the Ankara Bar are as follows:

- Whether the deputy governor has the authority to invite Dink to discuss documents about a news article he wrote.
- Why the documents brought along by the journalist weren't examined.
- Whether the two people who attended the meeting are public servants, and if so, which institutions they work for.
- Why the deputy governor introduced the two as his relatives if these people were actually public servants and if this could be considered unethical.
- Under what authority the deputy governor met with Dink, while two other people accompanied him
- Why the deputy governor failed to record the minutes of the meeting.
- Why Dink was informed about threats against Mesrob II rather than Mutafyan himself.
- Whether the deputy governor or the two people threatened Dink.

Erdoğan offers condolences in person
January 26, 2007
The prime minister also visis Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II
Turkish Daily News
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has offered his condolences to the family of journalist Hrant Dink and Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II, making personal visits to both.

Erdoğan arrived at the Dink family home in Bakırköy, Istanbul on Wednesday evening.

Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker, Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler, Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Istanbul branch head Mehmet Müezzinoğlu accompanied Erdoğan on the visit, which was closed to media members.

Following his one-hour visit to the Dink family, Erdoğan proceeded to the Armenian Patriarchate in Kumkapı, where he spent 20 minutes visiting Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II.

Being Hrant for 15 minutes:
A group named The Meeting of Bare Feet and Dance, whose members include Aris Nalcı, an employee at Dink's AGOS daily, will be staging a 15-minute silent performance to commemorate Dink at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 in front of the AGOS office in Pangaltı.

The group said they welcomed the participation of anyone who is “sensitive.”

The performers will lie on the street, their bodies covered with newspaper, for 15 minutes in the same position as Dink's body shortly after his assassination.

Meanwhile, AGOS has received a note from an organization which calls itself the Turkish Revenge Squad, threatening to bomb the newspaper's offices if it continued to describe the mass killings of Armenians during the Ottoman era in 1915 as genocide.

I swear: I will name my son 'Hrant'
January 26, 2007
A nation is waking up, dear Hrant. A nation which says, 'We are all Hrant... we are all Armenians, Turks and Kurds.’ We are not actually good at crying, but with your death you have taught us how to do so


Dear Hrant,

I haven't been able to make myself write anything lately.
I don't know what to write, how to write. Since you were shot, my phones haven't been silent. People who know about my friendship with you offer me their condolences, along with others who haven't, yet they still call.

And I also receive congratulations for our putting your photo and your words on the front page of the Referans weekend edition. When I hear the compliment, “Yours was the most impressive front page,” my heart hurts once again about my profession and about you.

When I put that photo, showing you lying like a child on the sidewalk, on the front page that day I wasn't aiming to be “impressive.”

When I received the news of your death I collapsed.
I confess: I cried and wailed for the first time in my life.
But dear Hrant, once I didn't know how to cry.

It was you who taught me how to live with my heart – without fear and concern. And how to cry from the heart in bereavement…

About an hour later I saw that photo and was shocked. I slumped in my chair in agony.

On one hand there was your lifeless body, on the other was our news editor Sefer Levent, who in spite of everything was trying to finish the paper, asking me, “What shall we do?”

In a moment that defied all words, still teary, I could only say, “We are all Hrant.”

All of us: Hrant!

When I saw you lying on the cold sidewalk with your worn shoes, I recalled a story you told me years ago: the story of the Armenian grandmother who died in Sivas.

That grandmother used to live in France, but finally returned to the village in Sivas she missed so much and died there. Her daughter back in France came to Sivas for her burial, saying, “the water has found its crack.”

And I recalled your crying after you told me the story. “Yes,” you said, “We have our eye on the soil of this homeland, but not to pull it apart and take some away – to be buried in its heart.”

Dear Hrant, we could not even bury you in the soil that you loved and never abandoned. We saw even that as too much and instead laid your body heinously on the cold pavement.

Now is the time of your funeral. In other words you are still not dead, because the “water has not yet found its crack.”

Please don't show modesty as you always did.

It was YOU, not us, who made the front page of Referans.

As you created AGOS with your life – together with a few comrades, a single man as powerful as an army against staggering odds – you created Referans that day with your death.

Believe me, my dear friend, after 3 p.m. that Friday, no one in the Turkish media had a word to say.
That day you were the secret editor in chief of all newspapers with a conscience.
You couldn't do it in life, but you took the lead in death.
And actually it is you who makes me write these lines.
Do you know that this nation has been crying for the son it killed so horrendously ever since that day?
We are not actually very good at crying, Hrant. With your death you taught us how to do so, en masse.
Yesterday we were with your one and only love, your wife Rakel.
Her heart still burns like a home's hearth.

She embraced Şehrazat, my baby daughter; she hugged her as if she was hugging you. “We were going to visit you together,” she said.

“I know,” I replied, “We spoke to each other last week, this week we were supposed to meet.”

“Anyway,” she said, “We came together like this. Don't worry, he is with us now.”

I realized that she was waiting for “the water to find its crack,” too.

Your son, your daughters, Naren who will be born two months from now; they all sense you, they all breathe you in.

Etyen, whom for years you have expected to take care of AGOS, will be raising the flag there from now on, for you and in your name.

A nation is waking up Hrant. A nation which says: “We are all Hrant... We are all Armenians, Turks and Kurds...”
I see couples around who think of naming their soon to-be-born children “Hrant.”
As you know, we had a baby girl and together named her Şehrazat.
But I swear if I have a son one day his name will be Hrant.
And he won't have the double name Fırat-Hrant to avoid the troubles you have had.

He will be as Muslim as his mother and I, as Turkish as both of us, and as Hrant as you!

* Eyüp Can is editor in chief of Referans and executive editor of the Turkish Daily News.
TDN Editor in Chief David Judson has chosen to run this piece today in place of his regular weekly column.

Armenian offer should not be rejected
January 26, 2007
Mehmet Ali Birand

Armenia repeated an earlier offer. The atmosphere generated during Hrant Dink's funeral allowed the offer from Armenia to bring about a new point of view. The Armenians are saying, “Let's start a dialogue without any prerequisites so that we can establish a diplomatic relationship.” Turkey has insistently rejected the same offer before.

The Turkish government had two prerequisites to establish a diplomatic relationship: the official acknowledgement of the Turkish -Armenian border and the withdrawal of Armenia from the Azerbaijani soil it occupies. Turkey can start a dialogue with Armenia this time by slightly tuning its attitude. And it must. Talks should start. A dialogue should begin. Prerequisites can be brought to the discussions later. The current circumstances have brought forth a very important possibility. The public response to Dink's murder has created a very positive feeling about Turkey in the international arena.

Therefore if Armenia's offer is accepted and a dialogue initiated, then this positive feeling can be further developed. In such a case, the genocide bill plan at the American Congress can be postponed. The bill in France “convicting those who deny the genocide” can be put to hold. Everyone will wait to hear the result of the Turkish-Armenian dialogue.

Once the talks have started and before initiating the diplomatic relationship, Turkey will, of course, open the issue of the acceptance of the border between Turkey and Armenia as it is today according to the Kars Agreement. But the primary issue now is to start the talks. The only trouble in commencing the talks with Armenia will be the relationships with Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani government will be displeased and will react strongly. It can even consider discontinuing feeding petroleum to the Baku-Ceyhan petroleum pipeline. Turkey should be able to convince Azerbaijan. It should be explained to Azerbaijan that a Turkey with strong diplomatic ties with Yerevan will have more influence on Armenian politics and thereby benefit Azerbaijan. Azerbaijanis need to be reassured. And now, let's look at the other side of the coin… Under the circumstances, if Turkey says: “No, first you need to officially accept the border and then withdraw from Azerbaijani soil. And then we will consider it,” acceptance of genocide bills in both the U.S. Congress and in the parliaments of other countries will be accelerated. Genocide accusations would be increasing uncontrollably. If the government does not want to leave a shameful past as a heritage, it will take advantage of this offer and will not miss out on it. Otherwise, it will not be easy to compensate for such shame.

What kind of joy is this?: There is a show of joy nowadays. Everyone is congratulating each other. I was flabbergasted when I listened to speeches by the interior minister and the governor of Istanbul. There was not a soul left that they did not congratulate. All smiles and flowers… All the happiness is caused by the fact that Dink's murderer was caught within 32 hours. Why are you so happy? Finding Dink's murderer is not such a big deal. The much more important matter is not to have had Dink murdered in the first place. It was to protect him. It was not to say: “they used their democratic rights” after having seen the people who attacked him.

After having failed in all these points, it makes no sense to brag, saying, “We are so successful, just look: we arrested all of them in a short time.” If you brag, then one must ask you: “Why have you not kept the murderers of the Italian priest in Trabzon under careful surveillance? Had you looked deeper, you would have been able to see the quagmire in Trabzon.” The political authority is guilty… They thought about Trabzon's image… “Let's not offend the people of Trabzon,” they said… They did not take the developments seriously. Today, it has been understood that there is a horrible secretive dark world in that town. Farms, where small children are brought up to become murderers, have been founded there. You did not see any of these, you did not investigate these any further, and now you are rejoicing. No, your job should be making sure our citizens do not get murdered.

Letters to the editor
January 26, 2007
Turkey needs better sewers – and more civilization: I am an Australian married to a wonderful Turkish woman and we have been living here in Turkey on and off now for approximately four years.

I love the country and its wonderful people. OK, I admit Turkey does have many problems – such as water and power cuts, traffic issues and many more, like the famous government departments. But we can live with all these problems, except when we are asked to live in a sewage-ridden situation, by which I mean our apartment building here in Şişli, Istanbul, which is 30 centimeters deep in sewage on its 50 meter square basement floor. This is not counting the shop on the ground level with a 30 meter square floor below and the apartment building next door where the inhabitants of the basement apartment have to go outside in the freezing weather to get away from the smell. We and many of the residents here and next door have not been able to sleep because of the terrible smell from the sewage. On top of this we also have a very serious rat problem because of the sewage! First it was Bayram and the water department did not answer any of its telephones when we tried to contact them.

Now, nearly five days later, we manage to get them at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning. They said they would come. We called again and again, and they did not arrive until late – nearly 6 p.m. that night. When they came they only pumped away some of the sewage, but said that we have to tell them where the hole is so they can fix it – they said that it is not their job to locate the hole for the sewage.

They said we have to get someone in to dig in the apartment basement and outside the apartment building to find this so-called hole. OK! Now for the next problem: we had to have permission to break the footpath outside the apartment building in order to find this silly hole, which really is the local government's job in the first place. To top all this off we have been told we now have to wait until Monday to get permission to dig in the street. All this may drag on and on; we may never get anything done. The whole episode is absolutely ludicrous, to say the least. Please may I remind Turks that they are trying to join Europe, but Europe or most of the civilized Western world would not accept this behavior under any circumstances. Ours is a dangerous situation to be in, as we cannot breathe the air here. In fact we actually taste the air on our tongues because of the sewage smell. I know for a fact that back in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia we have emergency numbers to call and such problems are fixed very quickly in matter of hours. FIXED QUICKLY, so there are no health problems associated with the sewage problem. I am only writing all this as a last option to draw attention to what is happening here. Our lives and our health are at a very serious risk. Geoff Estry Şişli, Istanbul

The civilized world is surely Turkish-Armenian now: Thank you for your story on the funeral of Hrant Dink. As my tears fall, I think that today the whole of the civilized world is surely now Turkish-Armenian. Sadly for Hrant, he is not among us to enjoy the splendor and the irony. This to me is an event as moving and emotional and outpouring as the death of Lady Diana. I hope this event will bring peace, forgiveness and reconciliation to Turkey and Armenia. And I hope Article 301 will be removed from the Turkish Penal Code. But it is sad to see that none of Turkey's leading politicians had the courage to attend the funeral.
Morise Frye Ireland

I wish Asala had been condemned, too: Last week we lost the life of a Turkish citizen, Hrant Dink. The brainwashed gunman was a Turkish citizen, too. Both the United States and European countries have condemned the murder and I have followed these condemnations from CNN and BBC for days and days. I wished they had shown the same sensitivity to the murder of the Turkish diplomats by the Armenian terrorist group Asala in the past.
Metin Atamer General Secretary of RESYAD Turkey

Turkish Press Yesterday
January 26, 2007
Turkish Daily News

How can he act this boldly?:
Radikal continued yesterday to follow up on Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink's assassination with a headline enquiring whether authorities had heard the public threats against Nobel Laureate writer Orhan Pamuk by Yasin Hayal, the man who confessed to inciting the gunman who shot Dink.

Pamuk attracted anger from nationalists last year, when he told a Swiss newspaper that 1 million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in Turkey.

The daily reported that Hayal, who was earlier convicted of bombing a fast-food store in the northern city of Trabzon and now confessed to having recruited Samast to kill Dink, yelled, “You had better be smart, Orhan Pamuk” at TV cameras as he was being dragged into a courthouse by the police.

Radikal focused on the current phase of the investigation in Dink's murder, saying that the judiciary phase had started with threats. The prosecutor's office announced they found no links to any known political groups.

"Where does he get the confidence?" read one of the subtitles the daily used, drawing attention to Hayal's blatant threats.

Radikal also underlined that authorities had been too eager to quickly dismiss the case as having no political organized group involved. The daily recalled that Trabzon Governor Hüseyin Yavuzdemir was one of the first ones to make up his mind on the case when he declared. "This is the work of an amateur. There is no ideological group behind this. He was used by that person known to the authorities."

The daily recalled that Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler had earlier stepped in and interfered with a police chief's declaration that there were no organized political groups behind Samast. Abnegating the police chief's statement, Güler said that the authority to investigate was with the office of prosecutors.

Bahçeli rails against TUSİAD:
Criticism directed at the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD) proposal to offer Kurdish as an elective language course in Turkey's schools from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli was the second headline story used by the Sabah daily yesterday.

The daily quoted Bahçeli as saying: “The proposals of TUSİAD for optional non-Turkish language courses and political offers based on ethnicity show that TUSİAD upholds the political objectives of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). If that is the case, then they should get together under the roof of a political party."

Sabah highlighted Bahçeli's words criticizing banners unfurled at Dink's funeral reading “We are all Armenian.” The MHP leader said certain sections of society, who never attend funerals of Turkish soldiers martyred in clashes with the PKK, are now inventing slogans discriminating on the basis of the victim's ethnic roots.

Those who are afraid to admit they are Turks should pick up and leave, the nation exclaims:
Tercüman said the headline it used yesterday - “We are all Turks” - was a stance against a “dirty game” being played against Turkey. Tercüman said the expression “We are all Turks” should stand as testimony to the nation's determination that separatists, who have been trying to plant seeds of hatred and who have tried to exploit Dink's funeral would never reach their goal.

The daily raised the question, “Where were all those hundreds of people at Dink's funeral when Turkish soldiers martyred in war were killed?” The daily commented that those who participated in the funeral were betrayers, whose actions during the funeral were coordinated by a single center.

They made him read Mehmet II's edict:
Yesterday's Hürriyet was also concentrated on developments related to Dink's murder. It said the police made the man, Hayal, who confessed to having incited the hit man, read an edict on tolerance issued by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in the 15th century when Hayal said he had no regrets.

According to the paper, Hayal used statements expressing extreme nationalist and anti-Christian convictions during his interrogation at the police department. The daily said the interrogating officers from the anti-terrorism department were irritated by his fanatic remarks and made him read the Ottoman Sultan's declaration on tolerance to break his resistance.

Hürriyet also highlighted an offer made by Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosyan for reconciliation on the Armenian question. Kirakosyan offered to sit down and talk with no prerequisites.

"The pain the people in the funeral shared without discrimination deeply affected me. ... We are ready to start diplomatic relations with Turkey without any conditions," the deputy foreign minister was quoted as saying.

Armenian diaspora positively surprised at solidarity shown at Dink funeral:
Zaman yesterday published an interview with the Armenian foreign minister's aide, Samson Özararat, who lives in France.

Zaman said Dink's funeral had heated up discussion on Turkish-Armenian relations with the two countries exchanging friendly messages.

The daily quoted Özararat, who was among the people at the funeral, as saying: "The scene at the funeral was auspicious. A part of what Hrant tried to achieve all his life was actualized in his funeral. All the colors of Anatolia united. I can still hear his wife Rakel's speech in my mind."

Zaman also said Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gül underlined that the government wanted to build confidence in relations with Armenia.

“This is not a one-sided decision. Our neighbor should also reconsider its policy on Turkey,” he said, adding that feeding feelings of hostility between the two countries would not benefit anyone.

Businessmen and EC urge amendment to anti-free speech article
January 26, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Turkey’s most influential businessmen’s association TÜSİAD and the European Council have expressed concern over Article 301

The discussion on how to treat infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) has heated up again following the assassination of journalist Hrant Dink last week.

Turkish-Armenian journalist Dink was gunned down last week by a Turkish youth who said Dink had insulted Turks.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül said on Wednesday "the door for changes to 301 is open." The European Union has also called on Turkey, an EU candidate, to abrogate the law.

Dink, like dozens of other Turkish intellectuals, had been prosecuted under Article 301 for his writings on the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I, a highly sensitive issue in Turkey.

His death has put the article and possible amendments to it under the spotlight.

Civil society leaders, businessmen and politicians continued to declare their stance on Article 301 on Thursday.

In its 37th General Assembly convention on Thursday, senior members of Turkey's most influential businessmen's association, the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD), expressed concern over the article in political statements.

TÜSİAD's Higher Advisory Council President Mustafa Koç expressed his opinion that Article 301 was one of the elements to lay the fertile ground for Dink's assassination. "Certain political movements and pro-status quo sections of society are attempting to block transformation and development. These groups resisting change instead of calling for democratic initiatives, as in the case of Article 301, cause growing pessimism."

Another statement on 301 was made by Social Democratic People's Party (SHP) Secretary-General Ahmet Güryüz Ketenci.

"The CHP and the AKP should stop being twofaced and launch the initiatives to amend Article 301," Ketenci said in a written statement.

Meanwhile, nationalist circles also made their stance clear on the article on Sunday. Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) President Sinan Aygün spoke at an ATO convention on Thursday saying that linking the assassination of Dink to Article 301 was unacceptable.

Aygün said the article should be preserved as is, adding that ATO supported both the article and the government. "We are on the side of everything that is good," he added.

Council of Europe urges change to 301:
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said Turkey should scrap Article 301 from its penal code, Reuters reported on Thursday afternoon.

"The existence of this measure, which judicially limits the freedom of expression, only validates legal and other attacks against journalists," a resolution passed by the assembly said.

Professor Nurshen Mazici: Recent happenings follow Armenia’s being uninvolved in Kars-Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi railway
24 Jan. 2007

Though the bill on recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide passed the Congress, President Bush will not voice the word “genocide” this year either.

Because, Washington still needs Turkey for the events happening in Middle East” Professor of the journalism faculty of Marmara University, the author of a number of works on Armenian factors in Caucasus policy of the US Nurshen Mazichi told the APA Turkish bureau. Nurshen Mazichi said Turkey is late in the fight against Armenians groundless claims, and considers that the further propaganda will be of no use, because no Western country listens to Turkey.
“Even if Turkey’s efforts have no results, we should not get bored from struggle. What will happen if Armenian genocide will pass the Congress? It passed the other parliaments, what happened to Turkey? These are political decisions having no juridical results. For example, some people say that Hrant Dink’s murder serves the acceleration of the process in the Congress and opening of the borders with Armenia,” she said.
Stressing that Turkey will have hard times concerning the problems of Kerkuk and Cyprus, Mazichi said recent happenings follow Armenia’s being uninvolved in Kars-Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi railway.
“After Hrant Dink’s murder a group called “second republicans” in Turkey immediately offered to open the borders with Armenia. The same people speak of the same things in every TV cannel,” she said.
Despite all this, Mazichi was not pessimistic about it. She said that the US will not be able to solve problems in Iraq unless it cooperates with Turkey.
“Washington knows it. We should continue our resistance,” she said. /APA/
Author of “Our Martyr diplomats” Bilal Shimshir:
When Armenians killed Turkish diplomats no one said “We all are Turks”
25 Jan. 2007
“Though the draft resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide is discussed in the US congress from time to time, the US government impedes its adoption. After the recent crime they say, the resolution is supposed to be adopted in the US congress. I do not think so, Hrant Dink’s murder is an individual case,” Former Chief of Caucasian Department of Turkish Foreign Ministry, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador, author of 20 books on the so-called Armenian genocide and the book “Our martyr diplomats” Bilal Shimshir said in his exclusive interview to the APA.

He said that Hrant Dink’s murder is exaggerated in Turkey.

“I am the man underwent systematic Armenian attack on Turkish diplomats. When Armenians killed our ambassador to Paris Ismayil Erez, ambassador to Madrid Danish Tunaligil, ambassador to Belgrade Galib Balkar and other diplomats there were no such funerals as in Istanbul, even very few people offered condolences. European press wrote very little about the death of our diplomats, and very much about the so-called Armenian genocide. We seem to forget all these. The murder of an Armenian is an individual case. We would just offer condolences and say that we do not accept the event. But the state’s standing up is senseless. What’s the matter? Do we have complex before Europe? Europe and the US commit crimes everywhere; just remember how many people are killed in Iraq every day. If U.S adopts false genocide decision against Turkey after this event, it will make mistake. When I say Turkey I mean Azerbaijan too. We are unique. This kind of move does not become to a great country,” he said.
Bilal Shimshir stressed that although the U.S Congress adopts law false “Armenian Genocide”, this decision will not have any influence power.

“Englishmen exiled prime minister and the members of the government of Ittihad and Tereggi government to Malta in 1915 because of Migration events. There were Azerbaijanis too among exiled people. They were accused of committing genocide against Armenians. But English prosecutor could not launch criminal case against them as he did not have any arguments. Armenian claims were groundless and these claims did not have any legal basis. Those who were exiled to Malta were exonerated from the blames in 1921. But to put this issue in the agenda is political campaign and we do not bow for it,” he said.
He noted that it high time to attack.

“The last point of my diplomatic mission was in Australia. If Englishmen did not pursue genocide policy against local people, the number of aborigines would not be 15m now. Do you know that in Lausanne Lord Jurson told Ismet Pasha that “You committed genocide against Armenians”, Ismet Pasha answered “Our hand is clearer than yours” We are a great nation. We should get rid of the complex being insulted”, he said.
Bilal Shimshir stated that if US Congress adopts the decision on so-called genocide, Washington will suffer from its consequences.

“Because, we have enough evidences. Two million Armenians try to call us for fighting, relying on the USA and Europe. They want the borders to be opened. There are some Turkish persons engaged in this propaganda. There are two conditions to normalize the relations with Armenia. First, Armenia must liberate the occupied Nagorno Karabakh territories, and second, anti-Turkish words- so-called genocide and claims to Azerbaijani territories- must be removed from independence act of Armenia. We must show Europe Armenians crimes to Azerbaijan and Turkey. Among 15 republics separating from Soviet Union, only Armenia pursued an aggressive policy. But instead of delivering these to the world, we were sad for a murder of an Armenian. It is inadmissible”, he said.
He noted that claims “We all are Hrant, we all are Armenians” are wrong from the root.
“What does it mean? There were no one saying “We all are Turkish” when our diplomats died. The terrorist killing Galib Balkar, Turkish ambassador to Belgrade, lives in Yerevan now. His name was included to the state protocol as a hero. Some Turkish journalists say “We should open the borders so Armenia forgives us”. I couldn’t understand it. We also saw such events. In 1919 when Ataturk held a Congress in Erzurum, some societies in Istanbul presented a report to the USA, asking to give Armenia a number of provinces. They are marginal groups and can only make hubbub. They are nonsense for great Turkish nation. They aren’t worth being disappointed”, he said. /APA/

Turkey goes on diplomatic offensive against genocide allegations
With some believing that the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink has given the Armenian diaspora an important trump card for recognition of an Armenian genocide around the world, Turkey has unleashed an ambitious diplomatic plan.

In the first step of the plan, supported by Turkish Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç, a delegation of 10 deputies will pay a visit to the United States Feb. 9-16 to lobby the US Congress. The delegation will be headed by Turkey-US Interparliamentary Friendship Group Chairman Egemen Bağış.
The 10-person delegation is composed of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Sakarya deputy Süleyman Gündüz, Aksaray Deputies Ali Rıza Alaboyun and Ramazan Toprak, Kırıkkale Deputy Vahit Erdem, İzmir Deputy Zekeriya Akçam, Antalya Deputy Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Republican People's Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Onur Öymen. They will meet with US congressmen and NGO representatives. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül will have meetings in European countries, and Turkish representatives will meet with leading figures of the Armenian diaspora for the first time as part of its initiative.

Diaspora invited to Akhtamar
One of the most important steps in Turkey's new anti-genocide strategy is opening dialogue with representatives of the Armenian diaspora. During Dink's funeral, the change in attitude of the diaspora representatives invited to ceremony also resulted in a change in Turkey's attitude: It now prefers to explain itself rather than adopting a defensive posture. Meetings have been held not only with the Armenian diaspora but also with the Armenian administration.
Following the invitation of the Armenian diaspora to Dink's funeral, the Turkish government took its second step and invited diaspora representatives to the inauguration of a recently restored Armenian church on Akhtamar Island in eastern Turkey on April 15. Minister of Culture and Tourism Atilla Koç said the opening of the church was previously scheduled for April 24 but has been moved back to April 15 since April 24 is the day Armenians remember the so-called genocide.
Koç hoped Dink's funeral would serve as a starting point for Turkish-Armenian and Turkish-diaspora relationships. "If we accuse somebody of something, then we must prove it. If we cannot, this is an offense. Every country must face its own history; those who tell us to face our history must also face their own history."
A number of parliaments have recognized an Armenian genocide as a result of the lobbying efforts of the Armenian diaspora. Turkey's attempts to have Argentina, Uruguay, Switzerland, Canada, Slovakia, Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, Russia and Lithuania change their decision to recognize it have so far proven fruitless. However, bills in the Spanish, Bulgarian, Austrian, Estonian, Romanian, Hungarian, Ukrainian and Latvian parliaments failed to become law.


Pressure mounts on government to amend Article 301
Turkey's leading business group and a European rights watchdog have raised concerns over a penal code article, increasing pressure on the government to amend the infamous law after a Turkish-Armenian journalist tried under it was shot dead by a teenage assailant.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said Turkey should scrap Article 301 -- which makes it a crime to insult Turkey's identity, state institutions and security forces -- from its penal code. The existence of this measure, which judicially limits freedom of expression, only validates legal and other attacks against journalists, a resolution passed by the assembly said.

In İstanbul, Mustafa Koç, a senior leader of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD), complained resistance to changing Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code "feeds pessimism" about the future of the country.

Article 301 has long been criticized by the European Union for restricting freedom of expression. Many nongovernmental organizations also slam the law, under which numerous intellectuals have ended up in the court for "insulting Turkishness." According to critics, the law fuels hard-line nationalism and contributed to the murder of Hrant Dink, the Armenian-Turkish editor of bilingual Agos newspaper.

But pressure has grown even higher since Dink was shot dead by a 17-year-old gunman outside his office in downtown İstanbul last Friday. The last article Dink penned before his death was itself a strong appeal for the amendment of Article 301; Dink wrote he was suffering because he had been convicted for insulting Turkishness and spoke of the death threats he received for this.

"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."

The government has signaled readiness to change the controversial law but has taken no concrete step so far, saying it is awaiting proposals from nongovernmental organizations and looking for consensus on how it should be changed.

State Minister Ali Babacan, also Turkey's chief EU negotiator, reiterated yesterday that the government was ready to change Article 301 as, he said, the government was also not happy with the way it was implemented. He added, though, amendments to the law would require consensus, something difficult to achieve.

But the NGOs say they have already offered verbal proposals on how the article should be changed, tossing the ball into the government's court for possible amendments. Dink, widely acknowledged as a voice for understanding and reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence for an article he wrote about the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in eastern Anatolia. A number of other intellectuals, including Nobel winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, have also been tried under the same article.
Some of the mourners at Dink's funeral, which attracted up to 100,000 people, carried black-and-white banners reading "Murderer 301." Ogün Samast, the main suspect in Dink's murder, reportedly said he had killed Dink because he insulted "Turkish blood."

TÜSİAD leaders, addressing a regular convention of the group, denounced the killing of Dink. "This revived memories of those eras when Turkey was plagued with political murders," said Ömer Sabancı, executive board chairman of TÜSİAD, adding that the murder should not be seen as an individual reaction.
"It is clear that this killing has the potential of producing results that could change the position Turkey has in international arena," Sabancı said. "To say it more clearly, this attack may create the conditions that would make it possible to reverse the progress Turkey has achieved in the area of freedoms and to cut Turkey's links with the West and make it an inward-looking country."

İstanbul Today's Zaman

Turkish city grapples with violent record
The teen who killed a Turkish-Armenian journalist came from a small village that has been front and center in several recent nationalist incidents.
By Yigal Schleifer | Christian Science Monitor

TRABZON, TURKEY - This small city on the Black Sea coast is getting used to being in the headlines – for all the wrong reasons. Over the past two years, Trabzon – best known for its successful professional soccer team, nicknamed the Black Sea Storm – has been front and center in a series of events that have shocked Turkey.

Last week, a local teenager confessed to firing the gun that killed Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, whose murder has had repercussions well beyond Turkey's borders.
In the Monitor
Friday, 01/26/07

Almost a year ago, a 16-year-old shot and killed an Italian priest who was working in a Trabzon church. In May 2005, four students passing out pamphlets about prison conditions were almost killed by an angry mob of 2,000 who thought they were Kurdish activists.

With the murder of Mr. Dink – whose funeral procession in Istanbul Tuesday was joined by tens of thousands – Turks inside and outside Trabzon are now trying to figure out if something has gone dreadfully wrong in the city.

"For the past 20 years, the politicians have been pumping nationalism and chauvinism into Trabzon," says Gultekin Yucesan, head of the local branch of the Human Rights Association, a Turkish watchdog group.

"I wasn't surprised to find out he was from Trabzon," he says about Ogun Samast, the 17-year-old accused of Dink's murder. "There are hundreds of other kids like Ogun Samast in Trabzon right now."

Long known as a bastion of nationalism, Trabzon has seen hard times in recent decades. Once an important commercial port, it is today more known for the sex trade that brings women from the former Soviet Union into Turkey. Unemployment in the city is high, while the countryside around Trabzon, long dependent on hazelnut crops, has seen its market go from boom to bust.

Black Sea folk have a reputation in Turkey for a culture of violence (Trabzon has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the country). Locals say that influence, mixed with the lack of economic opportunity, creates a worrying situation.

"It's like a highly explosive material. If it's not handled properly, it will explode," says Omer Faruk Altuntas, a lawyer who is the head of the Trabzon branch of the leftist Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP).

"A very ugly atmosphere is growing," he says, speaking in his book-lined office.

Umut Ozkirimli, a political scientist at Istanbul's Bilgi University who studies nationalist attitudes, says Trabzon is a hotbed, but not an exception.

"Nationalism and bigotry are not unique to Trabzon," he says. "It's a microcosm, an extreme example of something that exists in other places."

According to published reports, Mr. Samast told the police: "I feel no remorse. [Dink] said Turkish blood was dirty blood."

An unemployed high school dropout, Samast was reportedly part of group of youths that fell under the sway of a local extreme nationalist who spent 10 months in jail for the 2004 bombing of a Trabzon McDonald's in 2004, becoming something of a notorious local hero.

The Pelitli area of Trabzon, where the accused murderer grew up, is built on a steep hill overlooking the Black Sea and the airport runway. It is made up of rows of afet evleri – "natural disaster homes" – squat buildings built two decades ago after massive floods and mudslides displaced villagers.

Residents says there is not much to do except play soccer and go to one of the two Internet cafes (one has now closed after police confiscated all its computers as part of its investigation).

"This is like a small village in Trabzon. There are not many options here, people don't have jobs," says Talat Alamder, a young unemployed man standing outside a convenience store.

"Maybe if the young people have a good income, they wouldn't think about doing such things," he says, referring to Dink's murder.

The district's mayor, Omer Kayikci, says his office is struggling to keep up with Pelitli's needs. While the town's official population is 10,000, the real number is closer 30,000, he says.

"What we are given for one person, we must spend on three," adds Mr. Kayikci, who has suddenly found tiny Pelitli under the media spotlight. Satellite television trucks were parked in front of his office for several days.

"People migrate into this area every day. We have big responsibilities and we are trying our best to help people, but we don't have enough," he says.

Squeezed between the slate-colored waters of the Black Sea and the pitched foothills of the Kackar mountain range, Trabzon can have an almost suffocating quality. During the winter, the air in the city is thick with the acrid soot of cheap Russian coal that many people burn.

Salih Camoglu, a businessman who publishes two local daily newspapers, says the city, like other places in Turkey, has not been unaffected by the rapid changes brought about by the country's European Union membership drive and by events in Iraq.

"Nowadays, what's going on in the region is like an earthquake," he says. "This can damage places all around it."

Discussing Dink's murder, human rights activist Yucesan says recent events have him worried that Trabzon is heading in a dangerous direction.

"I'm from here, and we locals have brave hearts, but even I am sometimes scared," he says.

Official Ready to Re-examine Law Shielding Turks’ Identity
ISTANBUL, Jan. 24 — Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul called Wednesday for changes in a controversial law that penalizes insults against Turkish identity.

Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor who was assassinated last week, had been convicted under the law late last year. Many Turks say the conviction labeled Mr. Dink a traitor in the eyes of ultranationalist groups and made him a target.

“We see that in its present version, it causes some problems,” the foreign minister said of the law, adding that his government supported free speech as long as it did not incite violence.

Mr. Gul’s comments suggest that change is not far away; the government consulted civic organizations last year about revisions to the language of the law.

In the wake of Mr. Dink’s slaying, calls to revise the law, Article 301 of the penal code, began with the chairman of Parliament, Bulent Arinc, when he said Saturday that he was in favor of a move against the law.

The law, which carries a jail term of six months, has been applied mostly against intellectuals, like the Nobel laureate in literature Orhan Pamuk, who have commented about the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Army in the 1910s. Virtually anyone tried under the law, convicted or not, has drawn public threats and hate mail from ultranationalists.

In his last article in the Agos newspaper, which he founded, Mr. Dink expressed his fear of the threats but, according to security officials, did not request protection. Mr. Pamuk, the novelist Elif Safak, who was also tried under Article 301, and others were provided security this week, news reports said.

More than 50,000 people poured into Istanbul streets on Tuesday to protest the killing, in the largest public commemoration in the city since the death of President Turgut Ozal in 1993. Many political analysts and friends of Mr. Dink considered the huge outpouring to be an opportunity to introduce political efforts to improve relations between Armenia and Turkey.

Such efforts were given a head start this week when the Foreign Ministry extended invitations to the spiritual leaders of Armenians around the world and to the Armenian deputy foreign minister, Arman Kirakossian, whose attendance at the funeral was the first time that a ranking Armenian official had come to Turkey since the two countries froze diplomatic relations in 1993 and closed their border.

Mr. Kirakossian, impressed by the size and the diversity of the crowd that attended three days of public protests and the funeral, said Armenia was unconditionally ready to revive diplomatic relations, the semiofficial Anatolian Agency reported.

His statement was partly echoed in Mr. Gul’s carefully worded statement in Ankara. “Today, we improve our relations with all our neighbors on the basis of mutual trust and respect,” Mr. Gul said. “Of course we wish to improve relations also with Armenia.”

Diplomatic ties were severed during a dispute over Nagorno Karabakh, a region that Armenia claims but that Turkey recognizes as part of Azerbaijan. But the true heart of the dispute is over the Armenian genocide, in which more than one million Armenians died from 1915 to 1918.

Turkey’s stance on Nagorno Karabakh has been that a governmental history commission should be formed to analyze the issues. Armenia has expressed a willingness to take part in a discussion but has insisted that the border be reopened to trade first.

Ogun Samast, the 17-year-old suspect in Mr. Dink’s death, was formally arrested Wednesday. His lawyer, Levent Yildirim, assigned by the Istanbul Bar Association, told reporters that his client regretted killing Mr. Dink.

Yasin Hayal, an ultranationalist who had spent 11 months in jail for the bombing of a McDonald’s restaurant in Trabzon in 2004, was also formally arrested Wednesday with three other suspects who had been detained and investigated for suspected links with the killing, NTV reported.

As he was escorted into the prosecutor’s office in Istanbul, Mr. Hayal hurled threats about Mr. Pamuk.

“Orhan Pamuk should be careful!” he yelled at cameras. /NYT

The regrettable story of Article 301
January 25, 2007
For years, Turkey has been discussing how to treat ways of “thinking” and its “expression.” Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) presents a barrier to these two activities. Because of this, intellectuals and politicians have come up against each other in the 301 arena. Intellectuals push for freedoms while politicians resist. Article 301, which has been raised inside and outside the country in the wake of Hrant Dink's murder, under the current circumstances, was put on the backburner until the results of upcoming elections are in, along with the European Union's postponement of Turkey's membership in eight chapters. Following the Dink murder, this article started to be called “301, the murderer.”

According to research by the Human Rights Association of Turkey, there are in fact 14 articles in the TCK against freedom of speech. Among these are: “breach of privacy of communication, privacy of personal life, provocation of the public to hatred and antagonism, insulting the president, insulting Turkishness, the republic, institutions and organizations of the state, disaffecting the public from military service.”

Article 301 entered the penal code in 1936 and has been revised seven times since that date. It is the counterpart of Article 159 of the previous penal code. In summary, it foresees a jail sentence of six months to three years for people who “openly insult Turkishness, the republic or the Parliament.” Ninety-six writers, publishers, journalists and intellectuals were brought to court because of their articles as of Sept. 18, 2006.

Elif Şafak was tried under Article 301 for “insulting Turkishness” in her book “The Father and the Bastard.” She was acquitted at the first hearing, as there were “no elements of crime.” At that time, Şafak said: “There will be no end to these trials as long as 301 exists. Believing in ‘freedom of speech' means believing in respecting the opinions of those who do not think like me.” Nobel winning writer Orhan Pamuk was also brought in front of a court because of Article 301. The court judged that “conditions for trial were not formed.”

Punishment for Hrant Dink:

However, there were those who were not acquitted. Dink was sued under the argument that he had “insulted Turkishness” in his article “On Armenian Identity” in the Agos newspaper. He contested allegations that he “insulted Turkishness.” Şişli second criminal of court convicted Dink to a six-month jail sentence on Oct. 7, 2005. Writing could not be considered as an “expression of thought” according to the court. Dink's penalty was suspended, as he had no previous convictions. The Ninth Criminal Office of the Court of Appeals approved the jail sentence on June 6, 2006. The case came to a close in the Court of Appeals General Criminal Council on July 11, 2006. The council rejected the appeal and the decision became final. Dink did not go to jail because the penalty had been suspended. Dink was also being tried in another case under Article 301, he told Reuters news agency. His trial was to take place in March. The case against him was dropped upon his death…

Among those who have been tried under Article 301, who either have been sentenced or are still on trial are Aydın Engin, Serkis Saropyan, Hasan Cemal, İsmet Berkan, Burak Bekdil, Haluk Şahin, Murat Belge, Erol Katırcıoğlu, Ferhat Tunç, İlhan Selçuk, İbrahim Kaboğlu, Baskın Oran, Emin Karaca, Zülkif Kısanak, Fatih Taş, Aziz Özer, Erkan Akay, Ersen Korkmaz, Necmettin Salaz, Mehmet Çolak and İrfan Uçar.

Murat Belge, Hasan Cemal, Erol Katırcıoğlu and Haluk Şahin were sued with the argument that they have “insulted the judiciary institutions of the state” in their articles about the court decision that halted the Armenian Conference. The journalists were acquitted. Four Radikal and Milliyet writers that were also tried in this case were also acquitted but the case was later appealed. The public prosecutor asked for a 4.5-year jail sentence for Murat Yetkin who criticized the Orhan Pamuk case.

Journalist Rahmi Yıldırım criticized retired Gen. Tuncer Kılınç's borrowing $150,000 from a contractor who does business with the army. The 12th Civil Court decided that an “open insult to the Turkish Armed Forces” had not taken place. The case is in the Court of Appeals…

Mara Meimaridin's book “Magicians of İzmir” became the subject of a court case a year after it was published. The book told stories of Greek, Armenian, Turkish and Jewish people living in Ottoman İzmir during the 19th century. The sentence in the book that was seen as “insulting Turkishness” was “The Turkish neighborhood was behind the block, with its minarets, mud, dirt, open air markets and poverty.”

Translators, too:
The translators of U.S. writer John Tirman's book “Spoils of War: The Human Cost of America's Arms Trade” were also tried. With a revision to the case, in which Aram Publishing House owner Fatih Taş was being tried, translators Lütfi Taylan Tosun and Aysel Yıldırım were also added as defendants. Claude Edelmann, Turkey coordinator of Amnesty International's branch in France, said the case was “unprecedented in the world.” A six-month to three-year jail sentence was also requested for translators Tosun and Yıldırım, who were being tried under TCK Article 301/1.

Fatih Taş, two editors and translators of a book by Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, “Manufacturing Consent,” were tried and acquitted for “insulting Turkishness.”

What are politicians saying?:
Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal is against revising Article 301 and says: “The prime minister is looking for an accomplice to the shameful act of making it free to insult the Turkish identity in Turkey. He almost expects us to apologize for being Turkish. We will not apologize.” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has previously said that Article 301 could be changed in the event of necessity. Erdoğan maintains this position but any changes to 301 are not on the government's agenda. Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç also pronounces the hope that it “can change.” Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek has told journalists: “Do not start the discussion on 301 by asking questions. Let's see the funeral first; then we will discuss the issue at a different juncture.” Unless the prime minister changes his mind suddenly following Dink's funeral, no revisions look possible before the elections.

So why hasn't 301 been changed? One can hear the following piercing comment in the backrooms of Ankara: “Turkey is entering a phase of elections. No one can change an article that punishes “insulting Turkishness” at this time. The Republican People's Party, The Motherland Party (ANAVATAN), The True Path Party (DYP) and The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are against any revisions. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) is disposed toward change but does not want to give the opposition an upper hand.”

Killing brings the dark side of Turkish town into the light
Globe and Mail
TRABZON, TURKEY -- Ask Mehmet Akcelep the first thing he thought when he heard that the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink had been killed, and he answers without hesitation: "I bet that's the work of a local man."

Like the other inhabitants of Trabzon, the biggest city on Turkey's eastern Black Sea coast, Mr. Akcelep, a local councillor, has grown used to seeing his home town in the news for the wrong reasons.

It was here, last February, that a 16-year-old youth shot and killed an Italian priest in the local Catholic church.

It was here, in May, 2005, that four students distributing leaflets about prison conditions narrowly escaped death at the hands of a 2,000-strong lynch mob, first of a growing national trend.

Mr. Akcelep's fears were justified. Arrested Saturday on an overnight coach and accused of shooting Mr. Dink, 17-year-old high-school dropout and amateur soccer player Ogun Samast turned out to be from Pelitli, a suburb of Trabzon.

"I said my prayers and then I shot [Mr. Dink]," Mr. Samast reportedly told interrogators. "I feel no remorse. He said Turkish blood was dirty blood."

Four others were arrested, including fellow Trabzon resident Yasin Hayal, 26, who reportedly incited Mr. Samast to kill and gave him money and the gun. As he was led into court yesterday, Mr. Hayal yelled to reporters, "Orhan Pamuk should come to his senses" -- an apparent threat to the Nobel-winning Turkish novelist who has also raised the ire of Turkish nationalists.

The comments are hardly surprising. Nationalism has always been a fundamental ingredient of Turkish society, and has been a growing force in Trabzon.

"What you have here is a headless monster, a nursery for potential assassins," says Omer Faruk Altuntas, a lawyer and local head of a small left-wing party.

What is it that has turned Trabzon, a city that 100 years ago had local newspapers in Turkish, Greek, Armenian and French, into a symbol of what one Turkish commentator has labelled "banal fascism"?

Locals say the answer is partly economic. Villages around Trabzon used to be prosperous. Then the hazelnut market collapsed, and farmers fled to the city in the tens of thousands.

The Pelitli district, where Mr. Samast is from, is made up of former villagers forced out of their homes by floods and landslides. Youth unemployment is high and most teenagers while away their time in one of two Internet cafés, or playing football.

Deep-seated grievances have been stoked by the belief that Trabzon has suffered more than its fair share of casualties in Turkey's 25-year war against Kurdish separatists.

The mob attack on the four students in May, 2005, took place in an atmosphere of national hysteria triggered by an attempt by two Kurdish teenagers to burn the Turkish flag. Turkey's top general called the flag-burners "so-called citizens."

Local critics blame the authorities for the fact that reactions in Trabzon were more virulent than elsewhere in Turkey, but they reserve their harshest words for the local media.

"Three or four times, they've pretty much invited people to take out their guns and start shooting," says retired teacher Nuri Topal. The lynch mob formed after local televisions stations ran news flashes claiming the students were separatists.

In most Anatolian towns, few people watch local television or read local newspapers. In Trabzon, both are immensely popular and influential, and all because of the town's obsession with football. Trabzonspor, the only non-Istanbul club ever to win the Turkish soccer title, is a central part of the city's identity.

Judging from the atmosphere in Pelitli, there is little chance Mr. Dink's death will change attitudes soon.

"Who cares about that Jew?" says one young man standing outside a local tea house.

"Cut it out!" barks Mehmet Samast, a distant relative of Mr. Dink's confessed killer.

He goes on to say how much he regrets what has happened, how ashamed he feels. It sounds sincere, but concludes by insisting that Ogun Samast was a victim of an international plot.

"Trabzon is vital strategically," he explains. "This murder was the work of the Americans, or the Armenian diaspora. They didn't like [Mr. Dink] either, you know."

Dink: Champion of freedom of expression
The journalist Hrant Dink strove to achieve reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, a mission that earned him the hate of nationalist extremists from both camps.
As the editor of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, Dink was a champion of freedom of expression, human rights and reconciliation between ethnic Turks and the minority Armenian population. But his liberal viewpoint, his outspokenness, and his desire to to end the animosity between these two groups, were his undoing. He was shot dead on January 19 outside the offices of Agos.

Hrant Dink was born in Malatya, southeast Turkey, and raised as an Armenian Apostolic Christian. His designated official Turkish name was Firat, an appelation he later often used to mask his Armenian origins, in a line of work that made it difficult and often impossible to find employment.

Dink’s parents separated when he was young, so at the age of 7 he was sent to an orphanage in Istanbul. He was politically aware from an early age: in primary school he refused to recite the daily verse declaring “I am a Turk, I am honest, I am hardworking”, and he was expelled from his first secondary school for his left-wing activities. He later attended Istanbul University, where he studied zoology, and thereafter ran a bookshop with his wife, Rakel, whom he had met at the orphanage.

Although Dink was keen to keep a low profile, in the knowledge that the Turkish authorities were wary of his political persuasions, he maintained an interest in current affairs, and in 1994 he began writing commentary pieces for the Istanbul-based Armenian newspaper Marmara, under a pseudonym. In 1996 he founded Agos, a free-thinking and influential publication, printed in both Armenian and Turkish.

Dink addressed issues of ethnicity, emphasising that identities need not be mutually incomptable. “I am an Armenian from Turkey, and a good Turkish citizen. I believe in the republic, in fact I would like it to become stronger and more democratic,” he said.

The Turkish authorities closed down the newspaper in 2001 and tried to have him imprisoned for “insulting Turkishness” (one of the country’s most unloved pieces of legislation), but he was acquitted. His pro-EU stance also antagonised Turkish ultranationalists.

But Dink was likewise vilified by elements within the Armenian community in Western Europe and North America, who have campaigned (successfully in France) to have outlawed any denial of the 1915 massacres. Dink, a much-liked and liberal man, believed this was abhorrent censorship. Hrant Dink, who described himself as “a pigeon, obsessively looking to my left and to my right, in front of me and behind me”, is survived by his wife, a daughter and two sons.
Hrant (Firat) Dink, journalist, was born on September 15, 1954. He was shot dead on January 19, 2007, aged 52. © The Times


'A New Beginning' with Armenia
ALI BULAC a.bulac@todayszaman.com
"After sorrow comes joy," the mystics say. The assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink may pave the way for public opinion here to better understand Turkey's Armenians and result in positive developments with the country's relationship with its neighbor Armenia. The Turkish government deserves congratulations; we should admit it has well managed the crisis caused by Dink's murder. It was wise of the government to invite some leading figures from Armenia and the Armenian diaspora to the funeral ceremony. This act has immediately borne fruit: Armenian deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosyan declared they were ready to "meet Turkey without a precondition."

This statement by Kirakosyan in İstanbul can be considered a good opportunity for "a new beginning." It is true that similar statements were made a decade ago but no steps have been taken so far. Therefore, Kirakosyan's statement must be met with cautious optimism. Every new opportunity can, nevertheless, be used for a good beginning.

We should admit that there are serious problems between Armenia and Turkey. These are not only current problems but they are related to the near past and have a certain depth. Moreover, the conflicts between these two countries result in the intervention of a number of third countries. However, these conflicts are not of the type that cannot be solved or "kept within a certain frame" at least.

The method that has been followed so far should be changed I think. It is often thought that the conflicts between the two countries should be handled in a single dossier. This is in fact a result of the politicians and administrators' attempts to solve the problem from a "wrong point" or their unwillingness to solve it. The first thing to do is to give up the logic of "all or nothing." If the parties have the "good will", namely "a certain will" to solve the problem, all conflicting points should not be handled in a single dossier; the problems can be handled one by one starting from the minor ones and step-by-step towards major ones. It is necessary to handle Turkey's conflicts with Armenia in this frame because this is the requirement of the conflict's historical depth.
A credible step to set up diplomatic relations can immediately be taken in this frame. Embassies should be immediately opened in Ankara and Yerevan. As a second step, Turkey can open its Armenian border without mentioning a big issue like genocide. Armenia needs this much. Thus, Turkey will have displayed its good-will, not only to the Armenian people but also to the whole world.

Azerbaijan would not certainly approve of such an attempt. Our Azeri brothers want Turkey to continue its current attitude against Armenia for understandable reasons. There is the Karabagh problem and the Azeris have understandable arguments. However, there is a basic truth Turkey can tell itself and the Azeris: as long as this conflict with Armenia continues, no progress will be made in the Azeri-Armenian conflict. The lack of a solution just deteriorates the issue. However, if Turkey, with its growing economy, its increasing political and diplomatic power in the region and its population of 75 million improves relations with its smaller neighbor in good-will and with mutual benefits, this will benefit both countries as well as contribute to solving the issue of Azerbaijan and Karabagh.

Political murders and state authority
HUSEYIN GULERCE h.gulerce@todayszaman.com
Political murders and assassinations have often been committed throughout history. The assassination of second righteous caliphate Omar was a first in the Islamic world. Looking at the present-day bloodshed in the Middle East and the tragic situation of the Islamic world proves the wound opened after Omar's death is still bleeding. Turkey's recent past is also marked by political murders. Its first political party, the Party of Union and Progress, was founded on May 21, 1889 and seized state institutions through the notorious bloody Sublime Porte Raid on Jan. 23, 1913. In 1914, World War I broke out. The Enver-Talar-Cemal Pasha trio aligned the country with Germany as a belligerent in the war. When the war was over in 1918, so was the Ottoman Empire: leading figures of the Party of Union and Progress fled the country. This was the sad end of the bloody political authority that did not rely on national will.

The riots, polarizations and the series of unresolved murders during the republic era point to one thing: Whenever Turkey maintains economic and political stability, a mysterious hand takes the stage and instigates a nationwide provocation. All puppets controlled by this hand are of the same character and mindset; all seem to be clinical cases. They seem to have been medically desensitized. The activities of those controlled figures are then artificially affiliated with a certain targeted city, family, community, religion or nation.
While some unresolved murders are quickly shelved because of the lack of evidence, others remain mysterious despite the apparent identity of the perpetrators. For instance, as most of you may recall, an assassination ploy was staged against Turgut Özal at his party meeting in front of a large audience. While the assassin was caught immediately, the ploy was never fully resolved. Now Turkey suspects the same will happen in regards to the Hrant Dink murder.

Why are political murders obfuscated? Is it not a clear sign of weakness of the state? Why do the leaders of this country not pay the sufficient attention to these issue to remedy the pain of the mothers who lost their beloveds? Why is the president, prime minister, chief of staff, other military authorities and politicians indifferent to this question? How do they sleep at night without feeling any pain or anguish?
Whenever our country achieves significant economic progress and stability, we are shaken by political murders that destroy the bright picture. Could it be called a coincidence? The majority of Turks contend that some external forces have infiltrated Turkey's institutions.

Those forces are manipulating the economic, cultural and administrative structure of the country. They bypass the legal order and conspire to establish criminal organizations. Yet they are not held accountable.
It is only the state itself that can handle this situation. Only the state can illuminate this mystery. If some secret mobs that are able to exert pressure on leaders in this country believe they remain untouchable despite all they have done are deeply seated in the state structure, only the state itself can combat these illegal enterprises. How many additional unsolved murders will be committed? When will the state wake up and raise its voice against the criminals and bullies of the so-called "deep-state?" When?

While things get more settled in politics
BULENT KENES b.kenes@todayszaman.com
2007 will be a year of two very critical elections and thus is a very important year for Turkey. It is nearly certain that the person to assume the post of presidency will either be the current Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, or someone to be selected by him. The present conditions make a third option impossible. As opposed to current speculations, I think when the time comes, that the new president will be silently elected without sparking any tensions or problems. I have my own reasons to think this.

As you will remember, heated debates enveloped the country before Chief of Staff General Yaşar Büyükanıt was appointed in the beginning of August. A great number of conspiracy theories and screenplays of horror were presented to the public. However, the appointment occurred peacefully. No one should have worries; the presidential post will be taken over without disturbance. I see Prime Minister Erdoğan, who is becoming more and more of a statesman with each passing day, leaving behind his politician identity, as the guarantee of this.
The presidential elections will be held without any problems unless a colossal provocation is staged. However, it is virtually impossible to say the same positive things about the general elections to be held in November. The real tension and excitement will be unleashed in the November elections, I think.

The struggle of political parties competing with one another to get the most of this dangerous trend, especially at a time when nationalism is rising, signals that the forthcoming summer and fall will be hotter than ever. Although the Justice and Development party (known as the AK party) has launched attempts to run after the votes of nationalists by making changes in its general stance, the social sensitivity that revived particularly after Hrant Dink's assassination will force it from its newly-changed stance. It will likely tilt away from neo-nationalism for a more conservative-democrat one that is more appealing to greater masses.

Just as the True Path Party that has long been signaling that it will adopt a democratic attitude rather than a nationalist one, the AK Party will be placing a greater emphasis on its remarks that highlight its democrat and pluralist/participatory identity.

This being the case, we cannot overlook the neo-nationalist/nationalist stream of public discourse that started sprouting and growing around the opposition against the US and the west. In particular, we can assess MHP Leader Bahçeli's strong criticism of the slogan "All of us are Armenians" shouted at Dink's funeral and his accusation that TÜSİAD is a part of the project of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) within the same framework. We can also foresee that AK Party, DYP and the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN), which are all close to the nationalist-conservative voters, will launch efforts to rid themselves of these convoluted contentions.

Furthermore - although the MHP is the first party to do so -- the Democratic Left Party (DSP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP) might also try to resort to a more chauvinistic approach in an effort to get more neo-nationalist/nationalist votes. In fact, it will be the attitude of these parties which will surely cater to the tense environment. We can easily conclude that AK Party will be successful in the November elections to the extent it is able to distant itself from the attraction of cheap and heroic nationalism.

Again, as opposed to the current general speculations, the parties that give messages to the conciliatory/ pluralist/ participatory sections of the society which rely on universal democratic values instead of the neo-nationalist/nationalist trends -- the target of all parties -- will come out as the new shining stars of the Turkish politics.

Acts and facts
ALI H. ASLAN a.aslan@todayszaman.com
It's always been a little funny and sometimes distressing for me to watch State of the Union addresses by American presidents.

In this traditional political theater, the setting is the Congress and politicians are the actors. True, acting is not an uncommon political attribute. But in the State of the Union, it is so disturbingly evident.

Take the case of President Bush, the decider-in-chief of the United States. We are talking about a man of convictions convicted by his own public as well as global public opinion under the dark shadow of an extremely unsuccessful war he waged. The man is on the verge of being written-off by history soon after attempting to rewrite it. He comes to the podium to talk about the State of the Union. The union is definitely not in a better state than it was six years ago when he first took office, but his job is to put a lipstick on piggish policies.
As part of the political theater, Bush enters the Congress cheerfully and is greeted by fervent applause as if he is home. The problem is that place is no longer a home for Bush since his Republican Party lost the majority in both Senate and House of Representatives to the rival Democratic Party. The president pretends he is happy. The Democratic Congress pretends they are there to make him happy. It's all hypocrisy. In reality, no one is actually happy to see each other.

Perhaps some of the rare genuine applause erupts when the gentleman from Texas congratulates the gentle-lady from California, Nancy Pelosi, for being the first 'Madame Speaker' of the House. Not-so-gentle will Pelosi and her colleagues act when it comes to business, especially in Iraq. Hence, the day after the State of the Union theater, a resolution criticizing the new Bush 'forward' strategy gets adopted by Senate Foreign Relations Committee to quickly find its the way to the floor.

Is Bush's new plan more of the same failure plus 21,500 troops or a real change in policy in the right direction? Well, had he adopted the recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton report in its entirety, one could have been relatively optimistic. On the contrary, to many in Congress and elsewhere, it looks like a final attempt to try to save Bush's face more than saving private Ryan from Iraq?

Amidst all the theatrical appearances in Washington, there is a real drama staged mainly by the US in the Middle East. And no one deserves applause for that, Democrats included. They were generally complicit when Bush was sending private Ryans to Iraq. Now they act as if they care about them more than Bush by offering a withdrawal of US troops as soon as possible. Yes, Bush was the one who started an unjust war, yet Democrats might be responsible for putting an unjust end to it. As David Brooks of New York Times put it, "Does the party that still talks piously about ending bloodshed in Darfur really want to walk away from a genocide the US is partly responsible for?" If we can't unite the country, let's break it; it's as simple as that in the eyes of some Democrats. The Democrats do not seem very interested in containing 'regional warming' as much as they care about global warming, although the former definitely kills faster than the latter.

The war idea was popular back in 2003, so the Congress, with Democrats and Republicans, went for it by mandating the President to use force at his discretion. Rare consistent Democrats like Senator Robert Byrd who deemed the war authorization unconstitutional were stepped over. Now that it's an unpopular war, many Democrats and Republicans alike would like to play public sentiments the other way around.

It was Bush who more than anyone else wanted Iraq to define his presidency. Let it be so, the pen of destiny said, but not exactly the way he wished. Gone was the overly confident presenter of State of the Union speeches. Gone was the 'axis of evil' type arrogant rhetoric. However, I'm still not sure whether he agrees he has learnt a grave lesson from history or he is acting in his own theatrical world as if he has learnt that lesson.

Strength in diversity
NICOLE POPE n.pope@todayszaman.com
The solidarity and unity displayed during Hrant Dink's funeral inspired some hope that his senseless murder would mark a turning point and be the forerunner of change in Turkey.

Abdullah Gül's acknowledgement that Article 301 needs to be amended was welcome, as was the overture made by the Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosyan, who offered an unconditional resumption of diplomatic contacts.

There are of course just as many reasons to keep a tight rein on our expectations. Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral, but neither the president nor the prime minister was among the participants, although Recep Tayyip Erdogan did pay a private visit to Dink's family later. Wednesday also marked the anniversary of journalist Uğur Mumcu's murder, which had led to similar display of popular support 14 years ago but still remains to be fully explained.

Turkish society is criss-crossed by numerous fault lines -- Kurd-Turk, Alevi-Sunni, secular-religious, Christian-Muslim -- that must be bridged to prevent the kind of polarization that killed Hrant Dink and others before him. The hard-hitting and soul-searching editorials published in the Turkish press in the past few days are undoubtedly contributing to a more open debate. Airing ideas in the public arena prevents radical views from festering and developing like mushrooms in the darkness of Internet chat rooms, where radicalism finds an easy platform.
But the official reflex is still to keep the lid shut on these differences. This lack of flexibility has always led the Turkish state to have an uneasy relationship with intellectuals and writers who have promoted a diversity of opinions.

I remember attending a prize-giving ceremony for Yasar Kemal at the Frankfurt book fair 10 years ago. Feted by the international literary world, Yasar Kemal had been dragged through the courts in Turkey for one of his articles on the Kurdish issue, yet the Turkish culture minister was giving a reception in his honor at the fair. It seemed bizarre that Turkey could at the same time proudly celebrate the success of one of its citizens and charge him for his views. Orhan Pamuk's Nobel prize last year was greeted with a similar ambivalence in official circles.
Only a few days ago, the rector of Istanbul University declared in an interview published in Sabah newspaper that he would not invite Orhan Pamuk or Yasar Kemal to teach at his university because of their opinions. Such a narrow-minded approach to learning deprives students of a chance to be exposed to a variety of opinions, which are necessary for them to develop critical thinking and to gain an understanding of the world beyond the borders of the country.

Critical thought is one of the building blocks of a democratic society, but the notion that criticism can be constructive and useful is still not well understood by the Turkish authorities. Deviating from the received opinion is too often perceived as an insult or a form of betrayal, largely because diversity -- of views, of ethnic roots, of religions -- is still seen as the country's Achille's heel. In fact, diversity is one of Turkey's best assets. Together with growing openness to the world, individualism and creativity, it is among the elements fuelling Turkey's rapid social and economic transformation, but its value has yet to be recognized by Turkish officialdom.

Dink, on Turkish society and tolerance
These days some columnists and commentators are committing an error while grieving over the murder of Hrant Dink. This error is the argument that Turkish society is intolerant and racist. This is absolutely unacceptable and impossible.

The only society in our modern day and age that has not been racist is Turkish society. While the thousand-year history of the West is clouded by murders caused by religious and racial differences, Ottoman society remained a tolerant and peaceful civilization that opened its doors to different races and religions. The same can be said of the period of establishment of the Republic of Turkey that followed. There are about 40,000 citizens of Armenian origin in Turkey. If we assume that all of them attended the funeral, the remaining 10,000, who were Turks and Muslims, served as a clear indicator of the kind-hearted openness and social solidarity we possess. Let us not, despite the sorrow we feel, be unfair to our nation. Let us not give ammunition to our enemies, who want take advantage of this misfortune.


Media and the Dink murder
The media afforded Hrant Dink many resources and brought him into the limelight so that he could talk about his dissenting views.
Perhaps this was partially due to the ratings that dispute and discussion programs bring; nonetheless, he was given the opportunity to talk about his views openly through the media. His death and funeral received sufficient and effective coverage in terms of Dink's views in retrospect and people's reactions. While the topics of peace, democracy and media relations were addressed, Dink's personality and thoughts were also covered. There is one question, however, in my mind about the Dink murder and media relations: Would this murder have been (able to be) committed if the media had sufficient coverage of his death threats and displayed sensitivity in this regard? This we will never know.


Micro-nationalism: How was it revived?
The economic and social hardships of the past 25 years have created a slum culture in the ghettoes of both the large cities and the small towns of Anatolia.
A generation of young people who have not received a sufficient education, who are unable to find jobs, who experience family issues, who are subjected to police violence in their towns, who are pushed to and fro and marginalized, are as a result filled with rage. They don't have a shoulder to lean on. They don't know how to have fun. They don't have any choices in life. What they do instead is gather in coffee shops or in so-called organizations, gamble or hang out in Internet cafes. They appear to be religious because they are indoctrinated with a fear of religion; however, it is difficult for them to fully adhere to their religion. The only value they then hold on to becomes nationalism.


Hrant Dink: "I have the right to die in the country I was born in"
© 2005 RIA Novosti
25/ 01/ 2007
The journalist's last interview he granted to Ellen Rudnitsky and Mirko Schwanitz, International Organization of Journalists, two days before he was murdered.

QUESTION. Mr. Dink, you speak up in your weekly Agos not only for the Armenian minority but also for all minorities there are in Turkey. Are you not afraid?

ANSWER. Sure, I am. To be honest, I feel haunted day in, day out. Ever seen a pigeon? Seen how it keeps turning its head? It shudders at the slightest noise, ready to fly away any instant. Can you call that life? The difference is that I can't fly away like a pigeon.

Q. In the past few months you have landed in the dock twice for allegedly insulting the Turkish nation. Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk was also indicted-but never convicted, as you were. How is that?

A. I had a suspended six months' sentence. The notorious Paragraph 301 stipulates criminal liability for insulting Turkish national identity-and no one knows why some people are convicted and others acquitted. The European Union has every reason to demand that the paragraph be abolished. Its wording gives every judge a free hand. I had no luck with mine. He alleged I said Turks had unclean blood. Absurd.

Q. Agos, the weekly you are publishing, has a very small circulation, but some people in Turkey find it dangerous. Why, do you think?

A. That's right. Our print run is roughly 6,000 copies, but it is read by many more people than that, both in and outside Turkey. That's what worries certain forces.

Q. The Agos is considered the Armenian community's press outlet. Why do you publish it in Turkish, as well as Armenian?

A. That's just what makes it so dangerous to certain nationalistic circles in this country. The Agos tells the truth about the Armenian genocide. At the same time, we present it as part of history, and urge our readers to learn the lesson it teaches. We think of the Agos as a tool for education and reconciliation. At the same time, we hold up a mirror to the Turkish public. We say out loud: If Turkey really wants to join the EU, it has to acknowledge its historical responsibility and put an end to coercive assimilation of all minorities. All citizens of this country must have equal rights.

Q. Your struggle brought you last year's Henri Nannen free press award, didn't it?

A. It makes me proud and sad at once-because one can't be happy about what brought me the award. A country anxious to become part of the EU does not take basic human rights for granted. That's bad. I would like to get my prize for something positive, for example, for Turkey's democratic progress.

Q. Is it really so bad to be an Armenian in Turkey?

A. You have hardly any problems if you hold your tongue. As for me, I found it hard even in my teens to join the chorus singing how proud we were of being Turks. Certainly, this country has a great deal to be proud of-but I am not a Turk, after all. Community activists often refer to Armenian schools and orphanages in this country, but they never say that children who become involved in politics are expelled from such schools. That was what happened to me.

Q. It seems you cause irritation wherever you turn, and not only among Turkish nationalists but also among the Left politicians whom you sympathized with in your young days.

A. When I was a young man, I thought class struggle rested on the truth and social rights, not ethnicity. That's where I was wrong. I was shocked to see even the Left forces in Turkey refuse to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. They turn a blind eye to everything that has a bearing on ethnic identity. That's the worst of it all. As for me, I think to work for preserving one's identity, for the right to live according to one's own cultural traditions means to fight for the most important cause. I don't think my Turkish friends would like to see their native language and culture banned-but that's just what Turkish politicians have been doing to Armenians for many decades now, and not to Armenians alone.

Q. When did you first feel really discriminated against?

A. When I finished my active service, I wanted to go on with my military career and become a commissioned officer. I was married then, and had two children. My wife was expecting our third child. I passed officer examinations with many of my Turkish fellow servicemen. After that, all applicants were called one by one to get their certificates. I was never summoned-the only one on the list. That was when I realized that although Turkey was a secular state, a non-Muslim could never qualify as an officer. That day, I first knew what it truly felt like to be an Armenian in Turkey.

Q. You mean it was Turks who, in a way, made you an Armenian rights activist?

A. That's right. That day was a turning point in my life. That was when I founded the Agos, Turkey's first and only bilingual newspaper-which it stays to this day. I wanted to give Turks an idea of Armenian problems, and create a forum for discussing those problems. That was a hard job at first because Armenians still felt too hunted-down to speak out. But we knew no other way to fight deep-rooted prejudice. "Armenian" was a derogatory word, and Armenians were thought of as terrorists, on a par with the PKK, Kurdistan Workers Party-so the Agos was to become the Turkish community's mirror.

Q. And what was the result?

A. We became part and parcel of the changes everyone who has eyes to see notices in Turkey. The Agos is a bridge between the Armenian and Turkish ethnic communities. There are more and more voices in our support. Orhan Pamuk's is one of those voices. There are many other Turkish intellectuals among our readers.

Q. You asked in the latest Agos issue: "What makes me a target?" What is it, really?

A. The answer concerns Armenians more than Turks. Too many of us try to hide away at the slightest sign of danger. I am not one of them, I daresay. What does hiding lead to? You Germans have firsthand knowledge of it from history, and not you alone. That's what makes me a prospective victim, and I am not the only one. The same applies to my family. How, do you think, my wife and children feel when I receive threats every day, some over the phone, others by e-mail? I compared myself to a pigeon earlier because the bird wants to be free, however frightened it might be. That's what I work for-I want liberty for all of us. I want things to change someday.

Q. Could you leave this country?

A. You, of all people, saying that? My friends keep telling me the same thing. Enough of that. I want to carry on my cause here. It is not my own personal cause. It concerns everyone who wants to see Turkey a democratic country. If I surrender and emigrate, the shame will be on us all. This is the land of my ancestors. I have my roots here, and I have the right to die in the country I was born in.

Death in Istanbul
January 25 2007
The assassination last Friday of Hrant Dink, the editor of a bilingual Armenian-Turkish newspaper, called forth a howl of outrage on the streets of Istanbul, as 100,000 mourners at his funeral cried "we are all Armenians" or "we are all Hrant Dink". A teenager who admits to the crime and has ties to Turkey's violent ultranationalist fringe has been caught. What Turkey now needs, especially if it is to remain a credible candidate for membership of the European Union, is a ruthless examination of the poisonous backdrop to this killing. Mr Dink's murderer did not emerge from nowhere.

The impasse in Turkey's EU accession talks has whipped up xenophobia. Brussels says that despite major reforms to entrench human, democratic and minority rights, Ankara has not done enough to protect freedom of expression or subordinate the army to civilian control. Turkey's neo-Islamist government says the Europeans are acting in bad faith, raising the bar to entry ever higher to pander to anti-Muslim prejudice, particularly in France, Germany and Austria.

Both are right. But there are, nevertheless, rightly unalterable membership criteria. No country with a penal code that makes it a crime to "denigrate Turkishness" (Article 301) will meet them. European membership is also inconceivable while Turkey refuses to face up to the mass murders of Armenians as the Ottoman empire crumbled during the first world war.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, has called for reputable historians to establish the truth, confident this would place the killings within a conflict in which millions of Turks also perished as western powers dismembered Ottoman territory.

Yet for generations there has been nothing but silence or denial. Rare conferences to discuss these terrible events have been cancelled after pressure from the army-dominated nationalist establishment. Turkey closed its borders with Armenia in 1993.

Critically, nationalist cabals have used Article 301 to silence writers and intellectuals who have dared to raise the Armenian tragedy and ask whether it was centrally directed genocide. Mr Dink himself was given a suspended jail sentence and Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel prize-winning novelist was also dragged to court (where yesterday he was publicly threatened by a well-known extremist who prosecutors say provided the gun that killed Mr Dink).

Mr Erdogan has reacted forcibly to the murder and made gestures of reconciliation towards the Armenians. It is unrealistic to expect more ahead of fiercely contested elections this year.

But Turkey must demonstrate its commitment to free speech by repealing Article 301, not only a mechanism for exacerbating ultranationalism but evidently an incitement to murder too. Once the elections are over, Turks and Armenians need to move towards a public reckoning with history.

Copyright Financial Times

Turk and Armenian: Hrant Dink and Talat Pasha Murders
Sedat Laciner
22 January 2007
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.

22 January 2007
Trns. by Zerin Acar and Kemal Tuzcu (JTW)

Armenia wants ties with Turkey: Armenian Deputy FM
Kirakosyan was in Istanbul to attend the funeral of murdered Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

25 1 2007
ISTANBUL - Armenia is prepared to establish diplomatic ties with Turkey, Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosyan said late Wednesday.

Speaking to journalists after visiting the family of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was gunned down on January 19, Kirakosyan said that while not in Turkey at the invitation of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, he had represented the Armenian republic at Tuesday’s funeral of Dink.

“Armenia is ready to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey with no preconditions,” Kirakosyan said when asked Turkish-Armenian relations.

Kirakosyan said that he had been deeply moved by the attendance at the funeral by people wanting to show their respect to Dink.

Murder and paranoia in Turkey
January 25, 2007
THERE WAS a huge turnout in Istanbul Tuesday for the funeral of the assassinated journalist Hrant Dink. Mourners held up placards saying, "We are all Armenians" and "We are all Hrant Dink." It was a heartening display of support for values that the slain editor of the bilingual paper Agos defended at the cost of his life: free speech, acknowledgment of the 1915 genocide of Armenians in Turkey, and reconciliation between Turks and the 60,000 Armenians who remain in Turkey.

Encouraging as that affirmation of tolerance and pluralism may be, Dink's murder and his funeral illuminate a dangerous conflict that pervades state and society in Turkey.

Speaking at the slain editor's graveside, the Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II said: "We continue to hope that the Turks will recognize that Armenians are Turkish citizens who have been living on this soil for millennia and are neither foreigners nor potential enemies." What is shocking about this plea for understanding is that it needed to be made. The patriarch's hope for Turkish acceptance of Armenians as full citizens who can be loyal to Turkey reflects a deeply rooted confusion about something called Turkish identity.

Dink was killed by a 17-year-old who had been given a gun and told to carry out the murder by an ultra nationalist from his home town who had served 10 months in prison for bombing a McDonald's. The assassin told police he had seen something on the Internet alleging that Dink had said, "Turkish blood is dirty." This was an allusion to the Armenian-Turkish editor's conviction under an odious law that makes it a crime to insult Turkish identity.

For the people who marched in Dink's funeral cortege, there is a clear connection between the nationalist paranoia that produced such a law and the murder of writers and intellectuals who are branded as disloyal. That nationalism has been nourished on political myths that are rooted in the ideology propounded by the founder of the post-Ottoman Turkish state, Kemal Ataturk.

Turkey's military and security services -- what some Turkish liberals call a "deep state" that acts independently of elected governments -- have interpreted Kemalism in a way that defines cultural and linguistic autonomy for Kurds and other minorities as a rebellious challenge to the ideal of Turkishness. The secular ideology derived from Kemalism has been equally intolerant of outward shows of religious piety, prohibiting women and girls from wearing head carves in school.

To gain entry to the European Union, Turkey's political leaders will have to conduct a broad educational campaign, uprooting myths about the mass murder of Armenians and the military's dirty war against the Kurds. Before Turks can take on a new European identity, they will have to redefine what it means to be Turkish.
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper

Armenian historian: Turkey is not old enough to recognize its sins
© 2005 RIA Novosti
Turkey continued its “traditional actions” towards the Armenian people, Armenian historian Stepan Stepanyan announced at a news conference on January 25. As a REGNUM correspondent informs, According to Stepanyan, the Turkish massacre has been continuing for 600 years, since the Turkish troops invaded Armenia for the first time. “And murder of Hrant Dink (editor of Armenian-language Agos newspaper (Istanbul) — REGNUM) is exclusively a form of genocide,” he added.

Speaking ion the issue of recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey, the expert said that Turkey and Turkish public are not old enough to recognize their sin: “The Turkish public needs to get mature for it,” and now Turkey is zealously denying the genocide. However, on the other side, Turkey and the Turkish government are not so naïve, Stepanyan said noting that the main reason why Turkey does not recognize the fact of genocide, is that after the recognition Armenia will be claiming for its historical territories and then will , probably, claim for financial compensation. Well, if Turkey does not recognize the Armenian Genocide, it will not mean that the world won’t either. According to the historian, the USA will possibly soon recognize the genocide, as about 38 states have already done it with Armenian communities playing a big role on it. “If the USA officially recognizes the fact of Armenian Genocide, I do not think we’ll need to continue the process of international recognition,” Stepan Stepanyan concluded.

Politicians wanted!
What must we do now? If only Hrant's death could carry the "Armenian issue" beyond superficial statements and clichés... If only it could open a new chapter of companionship in the book of Turkey and Armenia relations...
If only the pain caused by Hrant's death could serve as an attestation of the maturity level we have reached... If only we could go beyond superficial statements, get rid of knee-jerk reactions. Is it really that hard? The responsibility for looking into the answers of these questions lies with the politicians of this country. Are there any brave, courageous, determined and historically aware politicians in this nation? Dear Hrant, after I finish these lines I will be on my way to bid my final farewell to you. Rest in peace, my brother! And don't forget that you are not alone.

If We Can’t Stop Racism
By Tufan Turenc
Firstly, I must say it that the Turkish nation showed its stance on this heinous murder in the way it should. Our nation gave an important and meaningful message to the world. A funeral was held for Hrant Dink with the tears of tens of thousands of people. This picture, which was incredibly beautiful but also full of sadness, was the indication of a meaningful and determined stance against the mentality of this slaying. No matter what the fanatics do, the Turkish and Armenian nations will neither become enemies nor hate each other, but love each other, because these two nations, the product of the same lands, have shared the same fate for many centuries. What’s more important, they have been in the same culture and experienced the same sufferings. Even Armenian fanatics who killed our diplomats couldn’t succeed in bringing these two nations at odds with each other. Fanatical racists who have betrayed their forebears’ tradition of tolerance won’t succeed in this either. These two nations will continue to love each other.

The aspect of Dink’s murder which should give us the most pause is the alarming situation in Trabzon. At this point, the negligence of the police in Trabzon is huge. Those who turned this beautiful city into a haven for murderers have been left unchecked. In 2004 Yasin Hayal bombed a McDonald’s and injured six people. He was trained in bombings in Chechnya, in turn gave training to very young people with instructions from elsewhere, then put guns in their hands and directed them to commit murder. Hayal formed and administered this cell in Trabzon, and how could he be left to roam free when he had committed numerous crimes? Nobody was even curious about his links.

What have Trabzon’s governor, police chief and gendarmerie commander done all these years? How could they ignore what’s been happening in the city? The country’s rulers must think about this seriously. Actually remarks made by Hayal’s father give clues that there are certain people behind this cell. ‘We’re poor people,’ he said. ‘Yasin even didn’t own a cell phone. How could he find the money for a gun and give it to someone?’ As I’ve written before, security forces made the murder of a priest in Trabzon seem a simple matter and closed the case. If they could have reached the people behind this incident, maybe Dink would still be alive now. Unfortunately, certain people with titles share the same dangerous understanding. If we cannot expunge this understanding from the security forces, we can never end these murders that damage our country.

Editor's Death Spotlights Turkish Nationalism
By Pelin Turgut/Istanbul
Jan. 23, 2007
The murder of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink has put Turkish nationalism in the spotlight. The suspect, 17-year-old Ogun Samast, was quoted by newspapers as telling police he shot Dink because the journalist insulted the Turkish nation. Local papers are reporting that Samast was allegedly linked to a small ultranationalist group in his hometown, Trabzon, on the Black Sea Coast. "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," wrote Ismet Berkan in his daily column in Radikal, one of Turkey's main dailies.

Nationalism in Turkey has been fueled in recent years by the lukewarm reception of Turkey's bid for membership in the European Union. Many in Europe have voiced misgivings over embracing the populous, mostly Muslim (although officially secular) country. The accession process, which began with great optimism in 2004, has slowed significantly in recent months. With Europe appearing ever distant, ambitious politicians on all sides have stepped up their nationalist, ethnocentric rhetoric ahead of elections slated for November this year. The country's right-wing parties especially have gained strength. So much so that even traditional leftist organizations like the Republican People's Party are campaigning on a nationalist program. Its leader Deniz Baykal has spoken out against the European Union and legislation for religious minorities. He has even opposed lifting an anti-free speech law under which Dink and Nobel prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk were prosecuted.

The E.U. wants Turkey to abolish that law, Article 301, which is used by nationalist prosecutors and lawyers to charge writers and journalists with "insulting Turkishness." At Dink's funeral today, many in the procession carried posters that read "301 is the real killer." "His murder has started some soul-searching," says Hakan Altinay, director of the Open Society Institute in Turkey. "Turks need to look at themselves and ask how they could have bred the xenophobia and paranoia that would lead a kid to do this. Everyone has some degree of responsibility here."

Dink, 52, a widely respected journalist and editor of Agos, a Turkish and Armenian newspaper, was gunned down in front of his office in central Istanbul on Friday. He had been branded a "traitor" by nationalists for his comments on the mass deaths of Armenians in the then Ottoman Empire during World War I. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians died in 1915, in what many Armenians — like Dink — say was systematic policy. Turkey denies any claim of genocide and says the deaths were part of a partisan conflict in which thousands of Turks were also killed.

But Dink's murder may yet serve as a wake-up call. Since Friday, tens of thousands of people have flocked to his newspaper offices to pay their respects, many chanting slogans like "We are all Armenians." On Tuesday, thousands filled the streets to pay homage to Dink, carrying the same signs. "Everybody here feels responsible," said Ayse Sivri, a 21-year-old student. "We all saw this coming, but nobody did anything to prevent it."

Copyright © 2007 Time Inc.

Dink murder case must be solved. Because . . .
EKREM DUMANLI e.dumanli@todayszaman.com
June 18, 1988. Then Prime Minister Turgut Özal is delivering a speech at the second congress of the leading Motherland Party, ANAP. The clock strikes 12:18, and two rounds of gunfire are shot at the Prime Minister . His hand is wounded, but the PM continues his speech. The attempted assassin was apprehended, but many questions remain unanswered. Özal is believed to have said, “I know who is behind this, and I will tell you but don’t tell anyone,” to his brother, Korkut.

Nov. 3, 1996, there is a car accident in the Susurluk district of Balikesir, a province located in the west of Turkey. Police Chief Hüseyin Kocadağ and convicted fugitive Abdullah Çatlı were killed in the accident and True Path Party (DYP) member of Parliament Sedat Bucak suffered serious injuries but survived. A few people were punished, but Brig. Gen. Veli Küçük, whose name was also involved in the scandal, was not investigated. The government of the time fails to fight with the Susurluk scandal.

Nov. 9, 2005. A bookstore is bombed in the southeast province of Hakkari’s Semdinli district. Headlines describe it as the “Second Susurluk” because the bombers include a noncommissioned officer, a former PKK member who had confessed wrongdoings and a sergeant major. Prosecutor Ferhat Sarikaya heads the investigation. Sarikaya claims the gang was protected by a group of high-ranking commanders. His claims attracted nationwide debate and ultimately lead to his removal from the post. The suspects were sentenced to 39 years and 10 months in prison. But, the contacts and chain of command of the gang were never investigated.

The year 2006 witnesses striking developments and criminal organizations are revealed one by one. The “Sauna Gang” is headed by a captain from the Special War office, an alleged mafia leader and former deputy police chief. In an operation to break up the gang, police find drawings and maps of important locations and private state documents. The Sauna Gang case is under judicial process.

In March of 2006 in Bursa, a crime gang consisting of a former PKK member who had confessed crimes, Bursa’s state gendarmerie and a sergeant is discovered. One police chief and four police officers are taken into custody.
May 2006. The Council of State is attacked. Lawyer Alparslan Aslan opened fire on the members of the Second Chamber and killed a prominent judge. Initially, the second chamber’s ruling over the headscarf ban sparked debate over laicism and anti-laicism. The assailant was apprehended before he could exit the building. Investigators in the case found links to a nationalist gang. Rt. Brig. Gen. Veli Küçük’s name is also mentioned frequently in association with the case.

In June 2006, in an Atabeyler gang operation, police seized sketches and roadmaps of Prime Minister Erdogan’s home and a few Justice and Development Party (AK Party) officials’ homes. Nine people including a few soldiers were arrested in the operation. Police found a C-4 bomb and hand grenades at the Atabeyler gang headquarters. Following the arrest, the police are prohibited from organizing operations against military personnel without approval from the military.

On Feb. 5, 2006, a 17-year-old boy murders Roman Catholic priest Santaro in Trabzon’s Mavra Church. The boy denies having links to any organization, but media organs publish news claiming the murder had links to a “nationalist” group. The case continues.

Jan. 19, 2007, the Turkish-Armenian editor-in-chief of Agos newspaper, Hrant Dink, is murdered. The assailant is 17 years old and apprehended in 32 hours. The boy denies having links to any organization, but once against the mysterious nationalist gang is brought into the limelight. Dink’s lawyer accuses Veli Küçük of death threats.
The chronology listed above shows that Turkey’s governments have been unable to crack down on gang organizations. There have been great efforts in recent years, but a still a long road lies ahead. Traces can not be concretely linked back to anyone or anything. The AK Party government has achieved significant progress, it has caught the murderer. But, the process after this is more important. The case should be investigated to its very root. Because if governments don’t collapse gang organizations, then gang organizations will attempt to collapse the government. If the gangs mentioned in previous cases had been disbanded, Dink would still be alive today. The high turnout of Turkish citizens at Hrant Dink’s funeral is a message that this problems needs to be solved.

Hrant Dink
HUSEYIN GULERCE h.gulerce@todayszaman.com
The assassination of this “son of the nation,” though of Armenian descent, Hrant Dink, led us to remember our long-forgotten values and characteristics that promote coexistence. We recalled chanting “We are human beings first.” We remembered the power of love. We remembered that we have actually forgotten to be more possessive of “the pigeons” that we were supposed to protect. We remembered our compassion and lamentations from anguish together. Not all of us are mature enough to do that; but if only we are able to tell, we could convince our people that our most prominent force against hatred, extremism and separatism is an understanding based on love, tolerance and respect.

Certain circles are trying to marginalize this society and make it inclined to hatred and enmity, and expending efforts to inject a benign “ultranationalist” view that envisions the replacement of real Turkish patriotism with a hostility-based and flawed nationalism. Holders of this defective view are so appalled by the nation’s tribute to Dink’s funeral, which was marked by the attendance of tens of thousands, that they have been hardly able to act and speak consistently as observed in their oral and written comments and statements that have appeared in some TV shows and newspapers. Certain circles have abused the previous political murders in an effort to create artificial social segments and polarize the society. For the first time, the murder of a prominent Turkish citizen created a completely opposite outcome to what they wanted. This time, they were unable to blame the so-called reactionary movements.

This time, they were unable to manipulate public opinion by asserting, “The murderer shouted ‘Allah’ at time of the shooting.” For the first time, the huge crowd walking alongside Hrant’s coffin gave us hope that we could render the plot of the instigators. For the first time, the remarks of his spouse who underlined the need to question the “darkness” that turns innocent babes into killers reminded of the value of sharing pain and tears. Hrant Dink has always been supportive of dialogue attempts. He was a regular participant at the Abant gatherings. At the latest Abant conference in Paris, it was Dink who gave a sharp and decisive response to the French participants who made offensive remarks about Turkey. Mithat Melen congratulated him for this response. A statement of his was unfairly distorted; subsequently he was accused of treason and prosecuted for allegedly insulting Turkishness. The allegations accusing him of treason were publicized through the tireless efforts of the ultranationalist instigators, and they did it despite the reports of expert witnesses who concluded that the remarks he was prosecuted for did not breach the law which criminalized insulting Turkishness.

We had a moral debt to him. He was always with us, so too should we have been with him on his last journey. Harun Tokak, Cemal Uşşak, and Salih Yaylacı and I, from the Journalists and Writers Foundation, attended the religious ceremony held at Santa Maria Church. Cüneyt Ülsever, Eser Karakaş and Oral Çalışlar were also there. Patriarch Mutafian gave an eloquent speech where he emphasized the need for unity. He urged everyone listening not to politicize the murder; he also said that the criticisms directed at our country in relation to the assassination had caused additional wounds in hearts. He further added they had long been living together with the Turkish nation on these lands and asked for a comprehensive campaign to eradicate the elements that instigate hostility and hatred towards Turkish Armenians. Dink’s body is not with us anymore, but he left us so many reminders, so that from now on we cannot run away from our obligations of being a human being.

What to do after Hrant Dink?
IHSAN DAGI i.dagi@todayszaman.com
The murder of Dink is a personal tragedy. The loss, agony and grief suffered by the Dink family cannot be compared to anyone else’s. It has been argued that the murderer targeted Turkey, Turkish democracy, stability or the reconciliation efforts between the Turkish and Armenian communities. There is some truth in these analyses. But above all, the assassin shot dead a living person, not a collective or abstract entity. The most profound and permanent pain has been felt by those individuals close to him. We may take this or that measure to strengthen democracy and stability, and to deepen our reconciliation efforts, but nothing we do will bring Hrant Dink back to his family. The best we can do is to share in their grieving. And this has been done by millions.
That said, we cannot help observing that the murder of Dink will certainly have significant implications on Turkish domestic politics and foreign policy. To open a breathing space for Turkey, those who are in power should move fast.

The first thing to do is to take concrete steps to forward reconciliation efforts between Turkish and Armenian communities, as was sought by Dink himself. I think the first step in this direction has been taken by the people who joined Dinks funeral chanting “We are all Hrant Dink, We are all Armenians.” This deep enthusiasm for embracing Dink’s memory and mission of reconciliation will hopefully soften the hearts of many diaspora Armenians who opposed Dink’s quest in his life-time.

What should the Turkish government do? Opening the borders with Armenia should be the very first move. In an environment of understanding following the loss of Dink, this would be a perfect gesture to tell the people of Armenia of Turkey’s goodwill, and show the world that Turkey is ready to a rapprochement with Armenia.

Secondly, article 301 of the penal code should be repealed without any delay. It is a shame upon the record of this reformist government. We can’t wait any longer for the implementation of the law, as repeatedly requested by Foreign Minister Gul. Writing 301 off the penal code now is the new threshold, not only for freedom of expression in Turkey, but also for the reformist credentials of the AK Party government. Unless it is removed from the penal code, it will continue to give a legal ground to the conservative judiciary to prosecute reformist intellectuals that will further endanger the government’s EU bid and its international standing.

Third, the latest legislation on minority foundations vetoed by the outgoing President Sezer in last November should be taken up immediately by the parliament. This will demonstrate that the government is determined to go along with its reformist stand despite the resistance of pro-status quo forces.

There are also things to be done by Turkey’s friends and allies abroad. Some Armenian diaspora groups will now try to use this unfortunate occasion to pass genocide decisions by national parliaments including the USA Congress. If such a bill is approved by the US Congress it will certainly peak anti-Americanism in this country, which has been growing, according to the latest BBC poll. The reformists in Turkey will further lose ground in the face of nationalist uproar to be fueled by the decisions of foreign parliaments. Let me say this: the nationalists, who would think that they are vindicated, will even claim that Dink was murdered by those foreign forces who wanted to speed up and justify the process of Turkey’s acceptance of Armenian genocide claims.

My advice is that Turkey’s allies in the west should not strengthen the nationalist perception and arguments by adopting genocide claims, but support the reformists who are eager to engage in dialogue and reconciliation.
What the nationalists want is to isolate Turkey in the world, break its ties with the EU, and portray the west as plotting against Turkey. It is time to be sensible and further engage Turkey in the west, including the EU, not isolate it. We have seen some right moves recently from the EU as it voted again for direct trade with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) and opened the way for starting negations in three new chapters. Let’s not throw Turkey into a nationalist quagmire.

Culture of violence
IBRAHIM KALIN i.kalin@todayszaman.com
The details of Hrant Dink’s assassination are frightening. Not because they reveal an underground gang or a secret terrorist organization but because they are so ordinary. Ogun Samast, the assassin, is a 17-year-old youth from Trabzon. He is described by his family and friends as somewhat angry and temperamental. He played soccer in an amateur club. His school record is not bright. He smokes. He socializes with his friends. He has a family. And he is 17 years old.

All of these details lead us not to a monstrous killer but to an average person. And this is what is scary about the whole crime. How do ordinary people like Ogun Samast become assassins? What motivates them to commit such heinous crimes? How many Ogun Samasts are there out there, waiting for an occasion to resort to violence to make a point? Was he making a point?

We could spend days talking about the motives behind Hrant Dink’s killing. This is probably not without use. Turkey needs a healthy debate on civil rights, minority rights and the speedy abolishment of 301 and its sisters in the Turkish Criminal Code. Furthermore, the enormous sympathy shown to Dink after his killing and at his funeral gives us every reason to be hopeful because one person committed a crime and millions condemned it. Thousands carried placards saying “We all are Hrant Dink, we all are Armenians.”

But none of this changes the fact that we live in a culture of violence. Tens of people killed every day in Iraq make us all sick and tired of death news. Thousands of people killed in battles, conflicts or natural disasters around the world have a similar effect: Death becomes something ordinary, something routine, trivial. Human life has no more value than oil, stock markets or national borders. A taxi driver in Istanbul was telling me that “human life in our country is no more than that of a chicken. Dink should have known better.”
Like other societies in the world, Turkish society is embracing violence in myriad ways. Thanks to movies and other mass media products, we look at the anesthetization of violence with awe. Violence gives us a secret pleasure and a false sense of security from such atrocities. In his “Confessions,” St. Augustine talks about how people from all walks of life took pleasure watching the Roman gladiators killing each other. The modern gladiators are no longer in the arenas but among us. And we are their ruthless spectators.

We spend so much time on organized crime and other forms of violence that we often forget the ubiquitous nature of “ordinary violence.” “Ordinary violence” defies any neat categorization. It is the sort of violence committed by people like Ogun Samast. It is carried out by ordinary people with rudimentary means without grandiose plans, plots or preparations. It does not require organized groups or big budgets. It takes ordinary people frustrated with their lives to commit such crimes. And that is why no police force can stop it.

A deep sense of alienation and frustration underlies cases like Ogun Samast. We live under so much stress and pressure that getting by every day has become a hustle for most of us. A great majority of Turkish people are unhappy and dissatisfied in one way or another. The virtual reality we are bombarded with through TV series, movies, Internet and newspaper headlines is exact the opposite of what we ordinary people experience in our daily lives. The contrast only adds to the sense of frustration, the frustration that we’re able to do things better but that we simply can’t.

For various political, economic and cultural reasons, many Turks feel out of history and dislocated today. They feel dispossessed and disempowered. The sharp contrast between their glorious past and the not-so-bright present creates a huge tension in their hearts and minds. Much of the “ordinary violence,” which is bred by the modern culture of violence, is a result of this sense of alienation and resentment. That Dink was killed by an ordinary youth from Trabzon does not say much about either Trabzon or Dink’s Armenian identity. (Many such Turkish figures were killed before.) But it speaks volumes about the enormity and urgency of the culture of violence surrounding us all.

Dink’s funeral conveys his lifetime message of solidarity
FATMA DISLI f.disli@todayszaman.com

Thousands and thousands of mourners of different ethnic and religious backgrounds gathered to pay homage to Hrant Dink on Tuesday in İstanbul.

Dink, a prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist, was shot dead last Friday. Dink's wife Rakel addressed the crowd outside her husband's newspaper offices, also the site of his killing, and said farewell to her beloved husband. Grief, anger, and defiance was the crowd's mood and thousands of people displayed solidarity against the narrow nationalist ideas that killed Dink chanting and carrying banners that read "We are all Armenian," "We are all Hrant." It was this solidarity that Dink sought to promote. However, the leaders of the four big political parties, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the Republican People's Party (CHP), the True Path Party (DYP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), did not attend Dink's funeral because of previous engagements. Their absence was notable and drew large amounts of criticism from both the public and media. It is said that they did not want to risk the nationalist vote prior to the parliamentary elections.

Star's Ahmet Kekeç says that the picture which emerged from Dink's funeral was one that showed the "real" Turkey. Kekeç says that for centuries people living in these territories regardless of their ethnicity shared a habit of living together in peace and harmony, so this picture reflected this. "This was a picture of something that Hrant Dink tried to explain and achieve." Kekeç also criticizes some comments made about Dink's murder immediately after the incident, comments like "The bullets were fired at Turkey, at Turkey's stability." He says there is a human being at issue who is no longer alive and making such remarks is meaningless. Though happy to see the 'real Turkey,' Kekeç also directs more criticism to those chanting slogans or carrying banners that read "We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant." "None of you can be Hrant because you remained silent when political assassinations took place in this country, you remained silent when parties and associations were shut down. You preferred to remain silent when the rights of others were at stake," Kekeç remarks. He urges that the first condition of being "Hrant" is to respect the rights of the "other."

Vatan's Güngör Mengi also feels that, in death, Dink realized his lifetime hope to unite the Turkish public for the ideals of democracy. Mengi says that Dink consciously paid the cost of the mission he undertook, but the country's leaders should have given confidence and encouragement to the people of this country by attending Dink's funeral. "Unfortunately the leaders of the four political parties came together, not to realize this significant mission, but to avoid the cost of attending his funeral. Their fear of losing the nationalist vote put them all in that dirty basket," Mengi writes.

Radikal's İsmet Berkan points out that Dink's funeral brought almost 100,000 people together, including Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Jews, Bosnians, Arabs and Georgians, regardless of their religions. He complains that it is a pity that we could not manage this solidarity when he was alive. "But we still managed to do it, which means Hrant's efforts were not in vain. This means that Hrant was not alone in the defense of his case," he writes. Berkan thinks that the people of this country can achieve even more and it is in our hands to make this county a better one. "We want our differences, cultures, and ethnic roots to be values and not the source of conflict," he asserts.

We now want our doves back
We want both our doves and roses back now. Even though the most delicate flowers of our "culture of unity" has been wrapped in a shroud and placed in a coffin, we still live on this soil and we demand the spirit of our humanity back.

Even though bloodthirsty butchers -- because there is no other way to describe them -- stand on street corners waiting for their next prey -- those who dress differently and think differently and those of different faiths -- we want the values back that have made us who we are. We want our folksongs, which have hundreds of years of history, back, despite those who threaten our unity with songs of nationalist, chauvinist and fraudulent patriotism. Even though their graves have been dug, literally killing our hopes of ever living together, we want those who loved this nation -- enough to die for it -- back. Even though our values were targeted along with Hrant, we bid farewell to him with the 'grand love' we have accumulated over hundreds of years -- a love we have always possessed.


The Trabzon file
Hrant Dink was laid to rest yesterday. Today we commemorate the 14th anniversary of Uğur Mumcu's murder. Our sorrow grows larger with the murder of each intellectual.
We have learned that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was absent from Dink's funeral due to his attendance at the semi-completed Bolu Tunnel opening ceremony, will be visiting Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II to express his condolences. There is, however, no news of Erdoğan visiting Dink's wife, Rakel. Whether he pays her a visit or not, does this approach not sound as bizarre as the prime minister visiting Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate following the death of Mumcu? I wonder if it is not necessary to -- in order to attain unity -- redefine citizenship principles without playing on religious or ethnic identity? Is it not necessary to address this subject, Süleyman Demirel had brought up some time ago?


Armenia repeats call for unconditional dialogue
Armenia repeated its call for the unconditional start of diplomatic relations with neighboring Turkey after a Turkish-Armenian journalist was murdered in İstanbul last week, but Turkey remained cautious.

“We also want to have good relations with Armenia, but this is not entirely up to us,” said Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül when asked by reporters about prospects for relations with Armenia after the murder of Dink. “We have no enmity against any of our neighbors, but our neighbor should also revise its stance towards us.”
Dink, who called for understanding and reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, triggered an outpouring of sympathy and boosted prospects of improvement in ties between Turkey and Armenia with his death. Up to 100,000 people walked through İstanbul's streets to bid farewell to him in one of the biggest-ever funerals in the city. Most of the mourners carried banners reading “We are all Armenians.”

In another step in the direction of reconciliation, Turkey invited officials from Armenia, Armenian religious leaders and representatives from the Armenian diaspora to the funeral.
Arman Giragosian, the deputy foreign minister of Armenia who came to İstanbul for funeral, told reporters after a visit to Dink's family that his government was ready to establish diplomatic ties with Turkey without any precondition.

“It is a pity that we have no diplomatic ties. Different countries have problems, but they maintain their ties,” Giragosian said. “This is what Dink was working for.”
Turkey has no diplomatic relations with Armenia and keeps its border gate closed in protest of Armenia's ongoing 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. Turkey also wants Armenia to properly recognize a border agreement between the two countries.
“Such things cannot be one-sided,” Gül said. “Armenia should not have unjust demands from Turkey.”
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also was cautious on prospects for ties with Armenia. “It would not be a serious thing to do for me to make a comment before knowing what kind of a proposal came from Armenia,” Erdoğan told reporters in İstanbul. “We don't have information that has been officially confirmed.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan offered his condolences during a visit yesterday evening to the family of Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist who was murdered by a teenage gunman outside his office on Friday. Erdoğan, who did not attend Dink's funeral, which drew as many as 100,000 people, because he was hosting visiting Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, also visited the Armenian Patriarchate in İstanbul.

İstanbul Today's Zaman

[The New York Times]
Armenian-Turkish unity at slain editor’s funeral

More than 50,000 mourners, including senior Turkish and Armenian officials in a rare display of unity, poured into the heart of Istanbul on Tuesday to bid farewell to Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian journalist who was gunned down outside his offices last week, a death that many Turks hoped would be a catalyst for change.

The Armenian patriarch in Istanbul, Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan, spoke out during Mr. Dink's funeral against curbs on freedom of expression and encouraged the thaw in relations between Armenia and Turkey that has become evident since the slaying. "It is unacceptable to judge and imprison someone because of his thoughts, let alone to kill him," the archbishop said during the hour-long service at the Holy Mother of God Armenian Patriarchal Church. "It is mystical that his funeral turned into an occasion where Armenian and Turkish officials gathered together." Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia were frozen and their border closed in 1993 after years of grievances, chiefly over the mass deaths of Armenians at Turkish hands in 1915, during World War I.

[The Guardian]
Turkey rises above its ultra-nationalists

Not for the first time, the violence of extremists has achieved the exact opposite of what they intended.

Ogun Samast, alleged to have gunned down the bridge-building ethnic Armenian Turkish journalist Hrant Dink last week, reportedly told investigators he was defending Turkey's national honour. Instead, Turkey's honour stands besmirched before an appalled international audience. The widely felt sense of shame, anger and self questioning that accompanied yesterday's impressive funeral in Istanbul was also not an outcome Turkey's nationalist fringe would presumably welcome. Placards in the procession read: "We are all Hrant Dink. We are all Armenians". That reconciliatory gesture, of great although possibly passing symbolic significance, represented another own goal for the ultra-nationalists who are presumed, directly or indirectly, to have inspired and supported the assassination.

Hrant Dink and the culprits of his murder
January 25, 2007
The man Hrant Dink was a very, very dear friend to me, as he was to scores of people who had the privilege of knowing him closely. The lines of anybody who knew could not help the agony to dominating the lines he or she is writing.He was not a colleague. He is widely described as a Turkish-Armenian journalist who was assassinated last Friday in front of his office, the bilingual, Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos. Wrong. Hrant Dink was not a journalist. True, he was the editor in chief and founder of Agos.

Yet, he was not a journalist; he was more than that. He was the secular “ethnarch,” leader of an ethnic community” of the Turkish Armenian community, decimated to nearly 70,000 people, most all of whom now inhabit Istanbul, after the alleged genocide perpetrated in the remote eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Being the secular ethnarch of the Armenian community in Turkey put him at odds with the officially recognized ethnarch, the Patriarch of the Armenian Gregorian Church in Istanbul, Mesrop Mutafyan, who could not hold back his tears during his eulogy at the funeral ceremony.Whether what has happened was genocide or not has never been Hrant Dink's main concern. For him, there was no doubt about it. For official Turkey that was the case. Nevertheless, the credible Turkish accounts put the number of perished Armenians in that period at 300,000, while the Armenian claim focused on the figure of 1.5 million.

Throughout his life, Hrant Dink tried to convert the issue from an obscene difference of arithmetic to something noble: The duty to recognize a tragedy falls to both Armenian and Turk consciences.He stood against Turkey being forced to confess any wrongdoing against the Diaspora Armenians to whom, while he has been inviting his countrymen, the Turks, to acknowledge and perceive what has happened through their conscience. He discovered two magic codes from old Turkish language. He asked his kinsmen to stop asking the Turks and Turkey for “ikrar”, meaning “confession” and in turn he called for the Turkish public opinion for “idrak,” kind of an equivalent to the combination of “acknowledgement” and “perception.”Despite all these efforts, he could not help prevent feelings of vengeance by Turkish nationalists who operated under a venomous climate to bully Turkey's liberals and democratic elements or those who feel committed to stop Turkey's march to the European Union.

They were aided by the notorious Orwellian Article 301 of Turkey's penal code and a reluctant government that is counting on appeasing the nationalist sentiment during an election year.A perceptive American, Stephen Kinzer wrote in Boston Globe that Turkey is being torn apart by an epochal crisis of identity. The old and oppressive political tradition is dying, but its elements are becoming disturbingly violent. Very true, as it took the life of Hrant Dink as he was sacrificed at the altar of Turkey's turbulent epoch of transformation.However, with the loss of Hrant Dink, a colossal bridge uniting a Turkish and Armenian tragic past with a hopeful future for both is brutally blown up. The disappointment is not only for Turks and Armenians in this respect but all those advocates of human rights, democracy advocates and the pro-EU elements in Turkey. That was a real hard blow and the gap created by the loss of such a Prometheus-like figure in Turkey will be very difficult to overcome, despite the unprecedented manifestation of tens of thousands in Turkey who marched in the funeral procession of Hrant Dink, chanting, “We are all Armenians” and “We are all Hrant Dink.”Unfortunately, we are not. As suggested, “Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan 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 Armenians.

After all, Turkey already officially accepts that 300,000 people died. Best of all, Erdoğan could abolish Article 301, which makes intellectuals like Dink a target.”But, as also predicted, none of this is likely to happen, since Turkey has presidential and parliamentary elections this year, and as long as ultranationalists pose the main challenge to Erdoğan's ruling party, the AKP seems in no mood to persist in the reform process. Because, Europe whose support is critical for the government and in extending political credit to Turkey, is not in such a mood, as well.Therefore, the culprits of Hrant Dink's assassination extend from the suburbs of the Black Sea town of Trabzon to Brussels and Paris, with its strong Armenian electorate. That makes Hrant Dink's assassination even more ironic and tragic...

Amendments to 301 possible, says Gül
January 25, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gül on Wednesday hinted that an amendment to controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) could be possible.

In remarks made at an airport shortly before he flew to France to show Turkish support for a restructuring in Lebanon, Gül expressed sorrow over the assassination of Agos weekly's editor in chief Hrant Dink. “We have our hands on this case as the government; his murderer was caught even before his funeral. Any political groups behind the murder will be revealed.”

Gül also underlined that figures from the Armenian diaspora were invited to the funeral. “I believe they left [Turkey] with positive emotions.”

The foreign minister admitted that Article 301 was problematic.

The government has been reluctant to change Turkey's anti-free speech Article 301 with its catch-all penalties for "denigrating Turkishness.”

“We also see that changes to Article 301 are called for,” Gül told media members.

Gül said the government was considering changes and currently talking with civil society organizations to that purpose.

“We wouldn't want anyone to go to jail for expressing their opinions,” he added.

Gül: Ankara open to ties with Yerevan
January 25, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Turkey is willing to establish friendly ties with neighboring Armenia, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül said yesterday, adding the caveat that this would not be possible without the full cooperation of both sides.

Asked about implications for Turkish-Armenian relations following the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, Gül said, “Turkey aspires to enjoy friendly ties with all of its neighbors on the basis of mutual trust and respect and we want to establish ties with Armenia as well.”

The foreign minister's remarks came at Ankara's Esenboğa Airport before his departure for France where he will participate in a meeting of donors to rebuild war-torn Lebanon.

Gül stressed that Turkey had no hostility toward any of its neighbors but said that establishing friendly ties was only possible with steps from both sides, adding that Armenia should review its thoughts and feelings toward Turkey.

The funeral of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on Tuesday brought Turks and Armenians together. Armenian government officials and moderate figures from the Armenian diaspora attended the funeral at the invitation of the Turkish government. “Representatives from [Armenia] came and saw; Turkey has no hostility toward anyone,” Gül said.

But he noted that Armenia should not come up with unfair demands from Turkey – such as the recognition by Ankara of the alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Empire – in return for normalization of bilateral ties. On genocide claims, Gül repeated the Turkish government's proposal to set up a joint commission of Turkish and Armenian academics to study allegations. Gül said all of Turkey's archives, including the classified ones, were open for any research. “It's no use of feeding hostilities in this region.”

Fascism must be fought everywhere
January 25, 2007
Semih İdiz
We are now watching with anger how those that contributed to the poisonous atmosphere in this country, which culminated in Hrant’s death, are now shedding crocodile tears over his brutal murder.

Hrant Dink was a dear friend of mine, as he was of so many of us – a fact that alone attests to what a great guy and a lovable human being he was. Hrant died as he no doubt feared he might. That he feared so is clear from his last piece in Agos, the bilingual Turkish-Armenian daily where he was editor.

The article carried the title “The dove-like timidity of my state of mind” (Ruh halimin güvercin tedirginliği). Having received serious threats aimed at himself and his family he had a nasty premonition. But he was the eternal optimist. In that piece he ends up foolishly believing that “at least no one shoots doves.”

Little did he know that they do and will continue to do so unless a serious change of mind takes hold of the country, stirring it out of this climate of ethno-centric animosity cultivated for the sake of petty interests.

As an aside here I would like to honor the memory of Uğur Mumcu, another brave journalist who was killed in a similarly brutal attack exactly 14 years ago, on Jan. 24, 1993, in front of his house as he was getting ready to go to work at his paper.

The supposedly social democratic CHP:
We are now watching with anger how those that contributed to the poisonous atmosphere in this country, which culminated in Hrant's death, are now shedding crocodile tears over his brutal murder. Take for example the supposedly social democratic Republican People's Party (CHP), which I dealt with in this column last week.

It takes some audacity for this party's leader to now offer condolences to Hrant's family and Turkey's Armenian community when it has members in executive party positions who were recently calling for the mass expulsion of up to 70,000 Armenians (from Armenia) who are illegally employed in this country.

They wanted Turkey to retaliate in this brutal way for the French law that aims to criminalize the denial of the Armenian genocide. No one in the party, including Mr. Deniz Baykal, its leader, had the sense to understand what such a suggestion does to Turkey's image, given the historic backdrop of the mass expulsion of Armenians in 1915.

No one in this party had the courage to say, “Rather than expelling these people, we should highlight the fact that they are living and working happily here, thus proving that Turks and Armenians are not eternal blood enemies, as the pathological nationalists on both sides would have us believe.”

The tens of thousands of Turks who turned up for Hrant's funeral on Tuesday are what this country is about. Their tears as they chanted “We are all Hrant, we are all Armenian” were genuine, not crocodile tears.

As if all this was not enough, we got news of the sad death of İsmail Cem yesterday. He too was a Turk who reflected this country's humane face to the world.

It was this spirit of Cem's that, when combined with the kindred spirit of his Greek colleague at the time, Foreign Minister Yorgo Papandreou, melted the ice between the two countries after years of acrimony. I have no doubt that Cem's death has caused sadness across the water too.

Fascism in Europe:
A word of warning here for our European friends before signing off. Hrant Dink and İsmail Cem were model human beings for Europe also. We have to remember that the same kind of hate-mongering that we are complaining about in Turkey also exists in Europe and has already led to murders and assassinations.

Like our supposed social democrats, there are countless supposedly “civilized” politicians in Europe today, some vying for the highest positions in their country, who are contributing to a growing atmosphere of hate through their racist and supremacist remarks.

Therefore no one should feel complacent and suggest that “these things are happening in Turkey alone, away from Europe.” Fascism is a pathological state of mind and, like bird flu, can not be stopped at this border or that.

Only last June Hans van Themsche, 18 and the son of a founding member of the racist Vlaams Blok (Flemish Bloc), shot and wounded Songül Koç, a Turkish woman wearing a headscarf, as she sat reading on a bench. He then killed Oulematou Niangadou from Mali and the white child, 2, in her care.

If I was a European liberal I would be equally worried about what is happening in Europe today as I watch these sad events unfold in Turkey. We have to understand that a stand against fascism and crypto-fascism is only meaningful if it is universal.

Mehmet Ali Birand
EU murdered Dink:
I see such statements and I am just shocked.

If some go one step further, they will accuse the European Union of ordering the murder of Hrant Dink.

You must be reading some of the commentators. Some will almost accuse those who oppose Article 301 of the penal code of treason. They argue that EU harmonization laws have tied the hands of the security forces and that is exactly why the proper precautions were not taken.

Not only some commentators, but also our police are of this mind. Just read what Trabzon Police Chief Reşat Altay says.

“There were certain changes made in line with the EU harmonization laws. In the past intelligence officers could work on finding evidence and execute surveillance operations, now they can only do such work with a court order due to new regulations. There can be certain deficiencies in their efforts due to the changes. These deficiencies need to be addressed. Particularly concerning matters of state security, certain changes that will allow security forces to work more effectively are needed.”

That's not right, Mr. Altay. You can't link Yasin Hayal being free with the harmonization laws. If the police chief had shown the necessary sensitivity Yasin would have been under surveillance and maybe the murder could have been prevented. The only problem is the failure to receive the court order. How can other countries work along these lines, while Turkey can't?

The unfortunate statement by Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah, who said a nationalist committed the murder, shows how our police department sees this incident.

This is the real problem.

The police cannot be given powers of the judiciary. They are authorized to find the culprits and hand them over to the judiciary. They are obligated to stop murders. It doesn't matter if the murderer is a nationalist or a socialist; they need to find the murderer.

Holding EU harmonization laws responsible is tantamount to making fun of the intelligence of this country's people. No one has that right.

People are always right:
Dink's funeral was a very nice one for all of us. However it surprised the international public. I have been following the international media for days. Everyone is talking about the Turkish people who flooded the streets on Tuesday.

Just read the comments made in the European media. Headlines read, “The huge reaction by the Turkish people.” You read commentators praising the people. On television, reports showed how Turks flooded the streets, easing any doubts over the sorrow Turkey felt. The most common statement is, “No one expected this.”

The representatives of the Armenian diaspora and guests from Armenia did not hide their surprise. What happened on Tuesday may not change the general attitude of Armenia and the diaspora, but it will send a strong message to those who follow Turkey closely.

People are always right. Unfortunately our leaders failed to keep up with them.

The regrettable story of Article 301
January 25, 2007
ANKARA TDN Parliament Bureau
For years, Turkey has been discussing how to treat ways of “thinking” and its “expression.” Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) presents a barrier to these two activities. Because of this, intellectuals and politicians have come up against each other in the 301 arena. Intellectuals push for freedoms while politicians resist. Article 301, which has been raised inside and outside the country in the wake of Hrant Dink's murder, under the current circumstances, was put on the backburner until the results of upcoming elections are in, along with the European Union's postponement of Turkey's membership in eight chapters. Following the Dink murder, this article started to be called “301, the murderer.”

According to research by the Human Rights Association of Turkey, there are in fact 14 articles in the TCK against freedom of speech. Among these are: “breach of privacy of communication, privacy of personal life, provocation of the public to hatred and antagonism, insulting the president, insulting Turkishness, the republic, institutions and organizations of the state, disaffecting the public from military service.”

Article 301 entered the penal code in 1936 and has been revised seven times since that date. It is the counterpart of Article 159 of the previous penal code. In summary, it foresees a jail sentence of six months to three years for people who “openly insult Turkishness, the republic or the Parliament.” Ninety-six writers, publishers, journalists and intellectuals were brought to court because of their articles as of Sept. 18, 2006.

Elif Şafak was tried under Article 301 for “insulting Turkishness” in her book “The Father and the Bastard.” She was acquitted at the first hearing, as there were “no elements of crime.” At that time, Şafak said: “There will be no end to these trials as long as 301 exists. Believing in ‘freedom of speech' means believing in respecting the opinions of those who do not think like me.” Nobel winning writer Orhan Pamuk was also brought in front of a court because of Article 301. The court judged that “conditions for trial were not formed.”

Punishment for Hrant Dink:
However, there were those who were not acquitted. Dink was sued under the argument that he had “insulted Turkishness” in his article “On Armenian Identity” in the Agos newspaper. He contested allegations that he “insulted Turkishness.” Şişli second criminal of court convicted Dink to a six-month jail sentence on Oct. 7, 2005. Writing could not be considered as an “expression of thought” according to the court. Dink's penalty was suspended, as he had no previous convictions. The Ninth Criminal Office of the Court of Appeals approved the jail sentence on June 6, 2006. The case came to a close in the Court of Appeals General Criminal Council on July 11, 2006. The council rejected the appeal and the decision became final. Dink did not go to jail because the penalty had been suspended. Dink was also being tried in another case under Article 301, he told Reuters news agency. His trial was to take place in March. The case against him was dropped upon his death…

Among those who have been tried under Article 301, who either have been sentenced or are still on trial are Aydın Engin, Serkis Saropyan, Hasan Cemal, İsmet Berkan, Burak Bekdil, Haluk Şahin, Murat Belge, Erol Katırcıoğlu, Ferhat Tunç, İlhan Selçuk, İbrahim Kaboğlu, Baskın Oran, Emin Karaca, Zülkif Kısanak, Fatih Taş, Aziz Özer, Erkan Akay, Ersen Korkmaz, Necmettin Salaz, Mehmet Çolak and İrfan Uçar.

Murat Belge, Hasan Cemal, Erol Katırcıoğlu and Haluk Şahin were sued with the argument that they have “insulted the judiciary institutions of the state” in their articles about the court decision that halted the Armenian Conference. The journalists were acquitted. Four Radikal and Milliyet writers that were also tried in this case were also acquitted but the case was later appealed. The public prosecutor asked for a 4.5-year jail sentence for Murat Yetkin who criticized the Orhan Pamuk case.

Journalist Rahmi Yıldırım criticized retired Gen. Tuncer Kılınç's borrowing $150,000 from a contractor who does business with the army. The 12th Civil Court decided that an “open insult to the Turkish Armed Forces” had not taken place. The case is in the Court of Appeals…

Mara Meimaridin's book “Magicians of İzmir” became the subject of a court case a year after it was published. The book told stories of Greek, Armenian, Turkish and Jewish people living in Ottoman İzmir during the 19th century. The sentence in the book that was seen as “insulting Turkishness” was “The Turkish neighborhood was behind the block, with its minarets, mud, dirt, open air markets and poverty.”

Translators, too:

The translators of U.S. writer John Tirman's book “Spoils of War: The Human Cost of America's Arms Trade” were also tried. With a revision to the case, in which Aram Publishing House owner Fatih Taş was being tried, translators Lütfi Taylan Tosun and Aysel Yıldırım were also added as defendants. Claude Edelmann, Turkey coordinator of Amnesty International's branch in France, said the case was “unprecedented in the world.” A six-month to three-year jail sentence was also requested for translators Tosun and Yıldırım, who were being tried under TCK Article 301/1.

Fatih Taş, two editors and translators of a book by Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, “Manufacturing Consent,” were tried and acquitted for “insulting Turkishness.”

What are politicians saying?:

Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal is against revising Article 301 and says: “The prime minister is looking for an accomplice to the shameful act of making it free to insult the Turkish identity in Turkey. He almost expects us to apologize for being Turkish. We will not apologize.” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has previously said that Article 301 could be changed in the event of necessity. Erdoğan maintains this position but any changes to 301 are not on the government's agenda. Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç also pronounces the hope that it “can change.” Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek has told journalists: “Do not start the discussion on 301 by asking questions. Let's see the funeral first; then we will discuss the issue at a different juncture.” Unless the prime minister changes his mind suddenly following Dink's funeral, no revisions look possible before the elections.

So why hasn't 301 been changed? One can hear the following piercing comment in the backrooms of Ankara: “Turkey is entering a phase of elections. No one can change an article that punishes “insulting Turkishness” at this time. The Republican People's Party, The Motherland Party (ANAVATAN), The True Path Party (DYP) and The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are against any revisions. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) is disposed toward change but does not want to give the opposition an upper hand.”

What others say
None of you are Hrant Dink!
Ahmet KEKEÇ, Star
Some news channels broadcast the funeral live saying “tens of thousands are marching” while some said “hundreds of thousands” were in the procession.

It does not matter.

It was also a good thing that the government was represented at the funeral. It was a scene that would destroy the calculations of individuals or groups that would like to reach their targets using terrorism.

We showed that we wouldn't get detached from our habit of living together despite all our differences. This was what Hrant Dink was trying to explain on different platforms.

Okay, we couldn't give up our habit of living together even if we wanted to, but did Dink have to die to show that? I object to that. I also object to some commentators' saying, “This is a bullet shot at Turkey, it is an attack on our stability.” Perhaps, it is so. Or perhaps, it is a murder committed by two nationalist thugs. It could be anything. However, a human died.

Then there are those who invite us to “empathize” with them. As if, they haven't contributed to this murder in the first degree they say, “Nobody should cuss at the other one.” They tell us to refrain from labeling them as “fascists” or “racists,” when they accuse of us being “second republicans and liboş” [derogatory term for anti-kemalist neo-liberals], or “Islamists.”

They say we should empathize and understand each other, because we are all Dink's and we are all Armenians.

No, none of you is Dink. You kept silent when “legal murders” were being staged in this country. You were silent when parties, associations, chambers and foundations were shut down. You simply closed your eyes when the subject was the rights of the people who are not like you.

You sold your friends to save yourselves. You printed fake stories about your colleagues. [Specifically referring to the Andıç scandal, when major newspapers printed stories linking certain figures to terrorist groups, apparently on orders from the Turkish army. The stories all turned out to be untrue, but all figures mentioned in those stories received life threats, while one survived a near-fatal shooting.]

None of you can be Dink. The first condition of being Dink is to respect the rights of others, which, unfortunately, is something you cannot do.

The voice of silence:
Fehmi KORU
, Yeni Şafak
People don't walk too often in Turkey. We in general don't like to walk. We don't take morning walks for a healthier life, neither do we march in the streets for a case that we believe in. Only funerals can make us march; which usually turns into more of an ideological show.

I believe yesterday was exceptional. It is impossible to categorize the tens of thousands as holders of a single ideology who walked from the Agos newspaper's office to Taksim, and then to Yenikapı. The crowd reflected a very rich spectrum of differences.

Silence does indeed have a voice. If this wasn't so, could the message given by the thousands walking in silence have echoed so loudly? Most probably, none of us in the procession had similar thoughts in mind. Still, we walked feeling the same anguish for our loss.

Whoever I am, Dink was a complimentary element of my identity. I felt “complete” at times when I spent time with him. This might sound selfish, but those who shot him also took something away from me. As I walked in the silent procession, I swore that I continuously heard the same voice saying: no matter how much pain we feel, it can hardly match the greatness of our loss.

The shadow behind Ogün:
Mehmet KAMIŞ
, Zaman
We are almost forgetting how Turkey was brought to the conditions that paved the way for Sept. 12. It is worthwhile to look at those in order to understand if the recent murders against non-Muslims bear any resemblance to those.

Before Sept. 12, in some Turkish cities, which had “military bases,” some poor young men from a village were granted the right to be “heroes.” They were praised, trained to use guns and asked to protect their country (!). Communism was taking over the country day by day. A Russia-backed coup could happen at any moment! The country had to be saved.

These young people were trained in camps. They were given guns when they didn't even have the money to buy a cup of tea. After a while, some of these youths were kidnapped and tortured. The culprits could be none other than the communists. Their hatred towards the communists who brutally killed their friends grew day by day. They never even questioned whether the killers could be anyone else.

These miserable and poor young people enjoyed becoming heroes. Killing Abdi İpekçi, who they said was selling the country to foreigners, or shooting the pope, who they said was the source of all evil in the world were things only a hero could do. They were intoxicated with the feeling of being a hero; they couldn't see what they were being used for. Yes, it was difficult, it demanded sacrifice; sometimes even losing your life; however, they had join the ranks of the most cared-about people in the world. That's what they wanted most anyway.

Thousands were killed in Turkey during that movie. Thousand of others were maimed, orphaned or widowed. Then came the coup.

It looks like somebody has chosen our city of Trabzon as a source of new recruits. The recruits are also like those of the pre-Sept. 12 period: youths aged between 16 and 17 that nobody gives any importance to. Instead of communism, Christianity is the name of the new threat.

The government should first shed light on the murder of Father Santaro and take a profound interest in Trabzon. If it doesn't see that bigger picture, we will see many other “Ogün's” with ambitions to become a hero. It is impossible to expect these kids to understand how greatly their murders benefit the big powers in the world.

Murders won't stop if we can't end racism:
, Hürriyet
The part that merits most concern about the Hrant Dink murder is the worrisome formation taking root in Trabzon. In this murder, the negligence of the Trabzon police is unacceptably huge.

Yasin Hayal bombed a McDonald's store, wounding six. He was taught how to make bombs in Chechnya. On orders of certain groups, he recruited young people and trained them to be killers.

How could they not monitor the activities of Yasin Hayal or not look into his links with other groups, despite the fact that he was the head of the Trabzon cell of that organization. This is no simple negligence. How could they ignore what was going on in the city for such a long time?

The people running the country should seriously think about this.

Security forces should take the killing of Santaro seriously. If they could reach the background forces behind that murder, Dink could be among us today.

The most worrying dimension of the whole thing is that some administrators share the same dangerous mentality.

If we cannot clean the security forces of this mentality, we cannot stop these murders from wounding our country.

ANKARA - Turkish Press Yesterday
Istanbul has never seen a ceremony like this:Radikal, along with all of yesterday's papers, covered the funeral of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. The daily underlined that Dink's funeral brought together Kurds, Turks and Armenians of the nation in an extraordinary show of unity. The crowd of mourners started gathering hours before the funeral began. As they surged towards the spot where Dink was murdered by a teenage nationalist, a lone musician played a solemn tune. Radikal said as many as 100,000 people took part in the procession. The journalist's wife, daughters and friends followed the coffin on foot, in tears and dressed in black. “It was his love for the truth and transparency that brought Hrant here today,” Rakel Dink, his widow, told the crowd, reading out what she called a letter to her beloved. Thousands carried circular black and white placards declaring, “We are all Hrant Dink, we're all Armenian.”

Goodbye brother:“Turkey has never seen a funeral like this. A hundred thousand people said goodbye to Hrant Dink,” read yesterday's Posta.Posta claimed that this was the first time in the world a non-Muslim had been accompanied on his last journey with so many Muslims in the funeral procession. The daily said Dink's last message was “We are all brothers.”

You have not left your country, my love:According to yesterday's Hürriyet, the highlight of Dink's funeral was his wife's address to the crowd, using a line from her speech as the front-page headline. Hürriyet also commented. “The bullet backfired, Turkey united into a single heart.”

You think Hrant's dead?:Milliyet's coverage of Dink's funeral yesterday answered a question posed earlier by the daily. Tens of thousands gathered despite the funeral being held on a workday. Milliyet also noted that many international TV networks, including the BBC and CNN, broadcast some parts of the funeral live. Songs, signs and slogans were in Armenian as well as Turkish in the funeral service led by Patriarch Mesrob II to a congregation that included officials from Armenia, as well as Turkish ministers and foreign diplomats at an Armenian Orthodox Church in Istanbul.“Hrant fought to develop relations between Turkey and Armenia,” the patriarch said, in a sermon delivered partly in tears. “It is mystical that his funeral became an occasion when Armenian and Turkish officials came together. He would have been happy to see this turn into a real dialogue.” The daily said Gedikpaşa Armenian Church's priest Trkor Ağabal led a prayer in Turkish. Milliyet also reported that that the mother of Ogün Samast, the 17 year old who gunned down Dink, fainted in her family home in Trabzon as she watched the address by Rakel Dink, Hrant's widow.

Condemning terror:Dink's funeral was interpreted as a massive condemnation of terrorism by Sabah.The daily also highlighted an interesting detail about one of the suspects in the Dink assassination. Erhan Tuncel, detained by the police on Tuesday on suspicion of involvement in the assassination, once volunteered to be a bodyguard for the strongly nationalist Great Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu. Tuncel, who was detained by the police after his Internet conversations with Dink's killer Ogün Samast were revealed, is suspected of having solicited the services of Yasin Hayal, who recruited Samast for the assassination.

Condemn the murder, not our country:Yesterday's Zaman highlighted the words of Istanbul Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II.Leading the funeral service, Mesrob II called on foreigners to condemn the killers, saying that “negative statements being made against our country to condemn the incident are causing new wounds to open.”

We commemorate Uğur Mumcu:Meanwhile Cumhuriyet focused on the anniversary of the assassination of another journalist, Uğur Mumcu. Mumcu, born in 1942, was an investigative journalist and columnist for Cumhuriyet. He started to write during his university years for Yön magazine and continued in several other leftist periodicals. Between 1968 and 1970 he wrote political research articles for the newspapers Akşam, Cumhuriyet and Milliyet. In 1974 Mumcu started his career as an editorial opinion columnist for the periodical Yeni Ortam. From 1975 on, he had a column in the prominent newspaper Cumhuriyet, which he left in 1991 for six months due to disputes with the management.As he left his home on Jan. 24, 1993 he was killed by a C-4 plastic car bomb in front of his home in Ankara. A number of Islamist organizations claimed responsibility, but the real perpetrators were never found, although the man who placed the bomb was convicted.

Humans count most:The end of lawyer Behiç Aşçı's 293-day hunger strike was reported on in Yeni Şafak.Aşçı's protest against prison conditions ended after the government decided to ease the isolation of inmates, a human rights activist said on Tuesday After the Justice Ministry issued a decree Monday improving conditions for inmates in maximum security prisons Aşçı, 40, ended his fast and agreed to be taken to an Istanbul hospital for treatment.The Justice Ministry increased the time prisoners can meet from five to 10 hours a week and upped the number of prisoners able to interact in jailhouse social facilities from four to 10. Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek, speaking in Parliament, welcomed Aşçı's ending his hunger strike. “A human being should never be put into a position risking his life to show something is wrong. It is not right to follow such drastic alternatives when there are better ways to solve a problem. There are many ways to show something is wrong in a democratic country. Risking human life is the last thing we want. Human life is important to us.”

TFF bans Dink murder protest
Thursday, January 25, 2007
The funeral of slain Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink brought tens of thousands of people together on Tuesday in an unprecedented display of solidarity. However, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) does not want the Turkish soccer community to take part in the mourning.

The TFF on Tuesday rejected Division Two side Adana Demirspor's application to hang a banner condemning the assassination that would read, “We are all Hrant, we are all Armenians,” citing the issue was irrelevant to sports.

“Our players would have worn black armbands and performed a moment of silence. Unfortunately, you need the TFF's approval for this kind of thing and the federation did not accept our application,” Adana Demirspor Chairman Adem Atılgan said.

However, most of the banners carried by Turkish soccer clubs in the past were actually not related to any sports event. In November, players took to the field carrying banners emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis of lymphoma, that read “Lymphoma is treatable, don't be afraid.” In September, Galatasaray players were carrying a banner reading “How young is your heart? Calculate your risk.”

Atılgan said they were deeply sorry for the murder of Dink. “We condemn this criminal attack and the vicious killing of a son of this land. We wanted to show our reaction by carrying a banner that says, ‘We are all Hrant, we are all Armenians' during our home match against Alanyaspor on Sunday.”

“‘The Turkish Education Foundation is 40 years old;' ‘We are proud of our contributors,' ‘We salute the 161st anniversary of the Turkish police force' or ‘Turkish Heart Foundation, protect your heart' also bear no relevance to any sporting event, but the TFF draws the line when it comes to a protest which has some sort of a political dimension?'' said Atılgan.

An official response signed by the TFF's Deputy Secretary-General Nüzhet Kiper Bağış was sent to the club on Tuesday night, reading: “Your application to carry a banner that says ‘We are all Hrant, we are all Armenians' in your League B Play-off group match against Alanyaspor scheduled to be played on Jan. 28 has been denied by our federation, as the banner's content is not relevant to a sports event.”

However, most of the banners carried by Turkish soccer clubs in the past were actually not related to any sports event. In November, players took to the field carrying banners emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis of lymphoma, that read “Lymphoma is treatable, don't be afraid.” In September, Galatasaray players were carrying a banner reading “How young is your heart? Calculate your risk.”

“‘The Turkish Education Foundation is 40 years old;' ‘We are proud of our contributors,' ‘We salute the 161st anniversary of the Turkish police force' or ‘Turkish Heart Foundation, protect your heart' also do not bear relevance to any sporting event, but the TFF draws the line when it comes to a protest which has some sort of a political dimension?'' said Atılgan.

Slain journalist commemorated in Washington
January 25, 2007
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News

Dink's vision for a better world came true when tens of thousands displayed solidarity at his funeral, US official says

Washington's Armenian community mourned the assassinated journalist Hrant Dink at a memorial service on Tuesday night, as a senior U.S. official said that Dink's vision for a better world of dialogue and reconciliation had come true when tens of thousands of marchers at his funeral displayed solidarity with his views.

Bishop Vicken Aykazian, legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern), presided over the memorial service at St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church. The Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), one of the largest U.S. Armenian groups, organized the event.

Describing Dink as a man of courage, Dan Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said that the slain journalist insisted on reconciliation and dialogue in his work and life.

“His was a vision of a better world,” Fried said. “Tens of thousands of people, Armenians, Turks, Greeks, filled the streets and stated their solidarity with his vision... His vision was made a reality today.”

More than 100,000 mourners marched in Istanbul earlier on Tuesday in a funeral for Dink, who was gunned down outside the office of his newspaper, Agos, in Istanbul last week.

Fried said that Dink's life came to an end “at the hands of an ignorant and hateful nationalist.”

Bishop Aykazian said Dink's murderers also attacked Armenia, Turkey and the advancement of Turkey into the European Union.

“Hrant Dink called upon the world, and Turkey in particular, to acknowledge and admit the truth of the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey – not to shame or humiliate the Turkish people, but to engage our two neighboring peoples in a fruitful dialogue for the betterment of relations,” Aykazian said.

“For a nation to deny its history, no matter at times how dark, is to deny itself,” the bishop added.

AAA's executive director Brian Ardouny blamed “a climate of intolerance, prejudice and repression” in Turkey, “which precipitated this crime.”

“Sadly, 92 years after the beginning of the Armenian genocide, Hrant Dink is the latest victim of Turkey's inexcusable campaign of denial,” he said.

Dink 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 in the penal code. He received a six-month suspended sentence.

In a related development, a fresh resolution formally recognizing World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide will be introduced at the U.S. House of Representatives, Armenian sources said.

Pro-Armenian lawmakers sponsoring the resolution originally had planned to introduce it last week, but then delayed the procedural move in an effort to maximize the number of legislators backing the measure in writing, analysts said. The House is expected to discuss and probably vote the resolution within the next few months.

Meet the monster: Turkish fascism
January 24, 2007
It is simply tragic and repulsive to see some prominent figures in Turkey who insist on putting the blame on imagined 'external enemies.' Alas, enough is enough, and it is time to be honest. What we are facing is an internal enemy. And it deserves being called 'Turkish fascism'


Hrant Dink, a beacon of conscience and liberty, was shot dead on Jan. 19. Since that black Friday, many Turks have shown the virtue to condemn this heinous murder and cry out for the memory of this noble man. Yet some of our “opinion leaders” have also invented concealed plots against “the Turkish nation” behind this public killing. This is, they rushed to conclude, a maneuver by “foreign powers” and their intelligence services directed at putting Turkey in a difficult situation in the international scene.

But lo and behold! The Turkish police caught the killer and he turned out to be no agent of the CIA. Nor of Mossad, MI6, Mukhabarat, or some People's Army for The Liberation of The Turkish-Occupied Wherever. He is neither Armenian nor Kurdish. He is, as his family proudly noted, “of pure Turkish stock.” Moreover, as he himself proudly noted, he is a die-hard Turkish nationalist who killed Dink out of his zeal for the “Turkish blood.” It also turned out that the 17-year-old apparatchik was directed by his elder “brothers” in Trabzon who have an ugly history of nationalist violence. The city, after all, is the citadel of ultra-nationalism: Catholic priest Father Andrea Santoro was also shot there a year ago by a 16-year-old militant, who had a profile very similar to his comrade who killed Dink.

In the face of all that, it is simply tragic and repulsive to see some prominent figures in Turkey who insist on putting the blame on imagined “external enemies.” Alas, enough is enough, and it is time be honest. What we are facing is an internal enemy. And it deserves to be called “Turkish fascism.”

Measuring the Turkish skull:

The term does not imply an organic link between Turks and the fascist ideology. The latter is a modern disease that has influenced many nations throughout the 20th century. Germans and Italians are the two most obvious cases, of course, but there are countless others. Even the quintessentially liberal Anglo-Saxons had their experience with the monster. (Remember the Ku Klux Klan and the British Union of Fascists.)

In Turkey, the story of fascism is most ironic, because although our contemporary fascists are fanatically anti-Western, the ideology is an import from the West into the traditionally multicultural lands of the great Ottoman Empire. It all began with the Social Darwinism that some Young Turk intellectuals, such as Yusuf Akçura, acquired in European capitals in the turn of the century. Their vision of a fully Turkified state came true in the 1920's, with the creation of the Turkish Republic. Atatürk's vision for this new state was not racist, he instead defined Turkishness in terms culture and citizenship, but things started to change in the '30s. Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany were admired by some of the Republican elite, such as Recep Peker, the long-time general secretary of the CHP (the party, which is now chaired by his intellectual descendant, Deniz Baykal.) The Turkey of the '30s also imitated corporatism, the economic model of fascist Italy, and internalized Mussolini's motto, “Everything for the State; nothing outside the State; nothing against the State."

In the same period, “Turkishness” also acquired an ethnic meaning. An officially sanctioned “scientific” congress was held in Ankara in 1932, in which the “advanced” features of the “Turkish skull” was praised and Turks were proudly declared to be “Aryans.” During the same period, public calls for applicants to government offices demanded them to be “of the Turkish stock.” Tevfik Rüştü Aras, the foreign minister, affirmed, “Kurds will be beaten by Turks in the struggle for life.” And Mahmut Esat Bozkurt, the minister of justice, notoriously announced, “In Turkey, non-Turks are the servants and slaves of Turks.”

During the war years, Turkey also initiated the infamous Wealth Tax, which was designed to confiscate the properties of its Christian and Jewish citizens. 1942, the first and only Jewish labor camp was established in Aşkale, a district in Erzurum. Had the Third Reich won the war, Turkey apparently would not have had much trouble fitting into its “new order.”

The hysteria on ‘internal enemies':
Of course, Turkey never became fully fascist, but there is plenty of evidence to argue that it was deeply influenced by that monstrous ideology. But, alas, since Turkey never became fully fascist, it never had the chance to fully liberate itself from it. Post-war Germany, Italy and Japan started as tabula rasas, but Turkey had only a partial transition to democracy. In 1950, the Democrat Party (DP) came to power in the first free and fair elections since the beginning of the republic, with the motto, “Enough, the nation has the word!” But with a military coup in 1960, the DP was crushed by despots in uniform, who did not hesitate to execute Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and two of his ministers after a show trial.

Since then, fascism, not as a system but a spirit, has survived in Turkey. The depiction of all other nations as “the enemies of Turks,” the cult of personality built around the country's founder, and the deification of the state are all elements of that spirit. In recent years, as a reaction to the EU-inspired push for more democracy and freedom, the fascist rhetoric has ascended. Some elements of the media, along with some pundits, bureaucrats and politicians, systematically spread the fear that Turkey is facing existential threats. Kurds, Armenians, Jews, Greeks, missionaries, non-nationalist Muslims — anybody who falls outside the narrow definition of a “good Turk” — are all seen as “internal enemies,” who are in bed with the external ones — the Europeans, the Americans, Iraqi Kurds, and, actually, the whole world.

The militant who killed Dink is the product of this popular hysteria. Unless we accept this bitter fact and start to think seriously about our internal fascism, it is quite likely that Turkey will produce more of them. “Nationalism is the last refuge of the scoundrel,” said Samuel Johnson. We should not tolerate becoming a nation of scoundrels.

Mesrob II weeps at mass for Dink
The funeral mass for slain journalist Hrant Dink yesterday at the Armenian Church of the Virgin Mary was led by the Archbishop Sahan Sivaciyan, with words also spoken by Patriarch Mesrob II, who was so moved by tears that he had a difficult time speaking.

The Ankara government was represented at the mass by Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin and Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu, as well as many MPs from the Turkish Parliament. With officials and citizens coming from all over the world to join in the march before Dink's funeral, as well as to attend the mass, it was clear that the journalist's death had touched a wide variety of walks of life and beliefs.

Trabzon suspect: Orhan Pamuk had better wise-up!
A group of people arrested in connection with the murder of journalist Hrant Dink were transferred to the courthouse in Istanbul this morning, with one of the central suspects, Yasin Hayal, yelling "Orhan Pamuk needs to wise up, he needs to wise up!" as police moved him into the building.

Ogun Samast, one of the group of 5, was dressed in a police vest and hat as he was transferred into the courthouse buildings in Istanbul. The investigation and questioning in the case of Dink's murder are still continuing.

Trabzon circle of suspects widens; Ogun Samast says "I am sorry I killed him"
17 year old Trabzon resident Ogun Samast, who has admitted to shooting and killing journalist Hrant Dink in the Istanbul district of Sisli, ended his 8 pages of testimony to prosecutors yesterday with the words "I am very sorry that I killed Hrant Dink." Samast, who was first observed by psychologists, went before the prosecutors to give his version of the events surrounding the Friday afternoon murder.

Samast is not the only person in custody for the murder of Hrant Dink at this point; Trabzon resident Yasin Hayal, who is thought to have given Samast the gun and the orders to kill the Armenian journalist, is also in police custody currently, as is Black Sea Technical University student Erhan Tuncel, who is thought to be one of the possible masterminds behind the plans. There are also several other young men being questioned by the police, several of whom appear to be linked with Tuncel, Hayal, and Samast.

While investigating the murder of Hrant Dink, the police have also apparently stumbled upon important clues to last year's murder of the Italian priest, Andrea Santoro, which took place in Trabzon. Some of the suspects in Dink's murder have admitted to links to Santoro's killer.

Taner Akcam: The real murderers are among the leading circles of Turkey
"Hrant's death was not accidental. He was chosen as a target for this period of time. Moreover, Dink became a target, since he was Armenian," Professor of the Minnesota University, Turkish historian Taner Akcam said during the memorial service dedicated to Hrant Dink in San Francisco.

The historian declared also that the real murderers are among the leading circles of the country. Turning to the Turkish Prime Minister's condemning speech, Akcam said, "Let him not drop crocodile tears. This was the culmination point of the continuous policy of Turkey.

"The press, the government, the military, everyone carries responsibility for this assassination," the Turkish historian declared. Taner Akcam told the participants that Dink was recently warned by city authorities of Istanbul "to restrict his writings, since there are a lot of mad young people in the streets." "The detainee is very like the one they described," he said.

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.


Goodbye, Hrant...
Today is his last day with us; today we bury Hrant. I am deeply shaken... There is a fire that keeps spreading instead of going out.
Nothing consoles me: not political statements, not the treasures he leaves behind, not the social and political unity that came about following his death, not the political status he gained with Armenians globally, nothing -- not a single occurrence consoles me... A world without Hrant will always be an incomplete one for all of his friends. His big heart will no longer beat, that warm expression, smile and embrace of his will no longer be there for us. A Turkey without Hrant will be incomplete for everyone. No one is going to be able to replace Hrant, who was involved in politics for Turkey, in Turkey, and bravely combined his Armenian and Turkish identities while doing so. He used to say, "I've got my eye on it ...on the land of this nation, but not the land above the ground, the one below." He is now heading there. Farewell, my beloved brother Hrant.


The culture of lynching
For quite a while now we have been witnessing a culture of ignorant bandits initiating or provoking a larger group to help partake in acts of lynching.
Looking at the reasons behind and probing the boundaries around this culture go beyond both my and this column's scope. We do require, however, that our sociologists conduct studies on this matter. What can be said at this point is that the most visible reason for this practice is the government's frailty and partiality; the government exercises a double standard in implementing laws. The culture of lynching is practiced in response to both political and non-political occurrences. To make matters worse, it is overlooked by government officials who are responsible for maintaining order and stopping these bandits.


We are Hrant; we are human beings
Hrant, was an Armenian and a Turkish citizen… But all the layers of his identity aside, he was a human being… a human being who thought, wrote and lost his life doing so.
He devoted his life to fighting: against poverty and ignorance. He was someone who loved, was loved in return, suffered, wept, laughed, got on top of tables to dance, sang Turkish folksongs and whose heart beat for his country. With a circle of people who admired him, Hrant was bound to "uzlet" (chosen solitude). I wish he were alive so I could ask him, "How would you like us to know you; a Turk, an Armenian or a human-being?" I know the answer he would have given; he would have said "human being." For days crowds have been chanting "We are Hrant, we are Armenian," however, today our chants must emphasize the human being he was. While respecting ethnic identities, we must glorify the "human identity."


Themes of peace and coexistence at funeral
January 24, 2007
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

The religious part of journalist Hrant Dink's funeral was held in the Kumkapı Virgin Mary Patriarchate Church yesterday. The ceremony in the church, just as the one held in front of Agos newspaper, was memorable for its excellence of organization.

The ceremony in the church started at 2 p.m. Security, starting at the door, was strict. Only the Anatolia news agency was invited, however, the Turkish Daily News also succeeded in gaining entry.

More than 100 people from Istanbul Armenian choirs joined hands to chant with Istanbul State Opera soloist Sevan Şencan before the arrival of the coffin in the church.

The red protocol seats at the front of the holy table were filled as the time for the ceremony neared. At 1 p.m. sharp Dink's coffin was carried in and placed in the middle of the church. It was met with applause that rang out in the church for a long time. The coffin was encircled with people, black ribbons wrapped around their left arms, carrying candles. With the arrival of the coffin to the church, everyone, including Dink's relatives, also entered. Close relatives of Hrant Dink, his daughter included, attended the funeral wearing white scarves. The first to come to the ceremony were his son, Ararad, and daughter, Sera. Dink's family remained calm throughout.

Turkish Armenians Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan became very emotional toward the end of his speech. Beginning with the words, “Today we bid farewell to Hrant Dink, to eternal life.” The patriarch went on to explain Dink's life, which began in Malatya, and the difficult struggle he had fought. Saying that Dink was a defender of democracy, Mutafyan went on to say: “Armenians have been living on this land for thousands of years. They should not be seen as potential enemies. A different approach to Armenian-Turkish relations should be followed, starting with the books taught at schools.”

Stating the importance of catching Dink's murderer, the patriarch added that the unseen collaborators should also be found. Declaring, “I condemn the statements made about Turkey,” he added that the presence of Armenian and Turkish people together in the church at the moment was significant, as this was what Dink had wanted to establish.

Who attended the funeral
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

Several international figures attended Hrant Dink's funeral. Acting as the representative of Ğajag Barsamyan, the leader of the Romania and Bulgaria Armenian Churches, Gatağigos Karatekin II; religious representatives of American Armenians Diyayr Sırpazan Mardikyan and Viken Sırpazan; Claudia Roth from the German Green Party; and Turkey-European Union Co-Chair of the Joint Parliament Committee Joost Lagendijk were among participants.

Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Nusret Bayraktar; Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Zeki Sezer; Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erkan Mumcu; former Istanbul Mayor Ali Müfit Gürtuna; Jewish community leader Ishak Haleva; Doğan TV Chairperson of Executive Board Arzuhan Yalçındağ; Bülent Oya Eczacıbaşı; Sabancı Holding CEO Güler Sabancı; and artists Uğur Yücel, Ferhat Tunç and Yavuz Bingöl all attended the church ceremony.

*Goodbye Hrant, we are all Armenians
Mınasparov Hrant Polorıs Hay Yenk*

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

Tens of thousands of mourners gathered for a last farewell to murdered journalist Hrant Dink in Osmanbey, one of the central districts of Istanbul where he was shot in the head in front of his newspaper's office building, Agos.

Dink's fame for his courage and integrity stretched way beyond the Armenian community, whose rights he dedicated his life defending. His murder has made him a symbol for most citizens of Turkey.

The organizers of the funeral deliberately banned political slogans from the rally, as Dink, who had been subjected to various death threats already, had expressly wished. Only leaflets bearing the slogan “We are all Hrant Dink” and “Repeal Article 301” were circulated.

Dink, like many Turkish intellectuals, had been charged with “insulting Turkishness” under the terms of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

Although large, the funeral remained a strangely intimate affair. Members of the Armenian community of Osmanbey, Bomonte and Sisli poured in from the side streets along with famous intellectuals, actors and media personalities. Police cordoned off the area, searching the bags of all participants.

Television crew cables ran all along the building facades into the apartments that offered the most advantageous view of the Agos entrance, which was decorated with wreaths

Police presence at the initial stage of the rally was hefty but discreet. A helicopter patrolled the skies above Osmanbey and several green berets were stationed on the roof tops.

The speeches took place punctually and the melancholy sound of the Duduk, the Armenian musical instrument, preceded the oration given by Dink's widow Rakel.

After a two-minute silence, a poet read a militant poem by Aydin Engin.

Rakel Dink gave an impassioned speech. Some chanting was heard from the periphery against the “fascist state,” but subsided immediately.

“Today we are here to raise a voice by our silence,” she said.

As Dink's widow gave her speech from the doorway of Dink's newspaper, Agos, the only noise that could be heard among the audience was the sobbing of grown women and men.

“He left his wife, his daughters, his grandchildren and those who loved him, but he did not leave his country,” she said about her husband.

Rakel Dink also said, “Whoever the murderer is, whether aged 17 or 27 does not matter. I know they were babies once. But nothing can be done without questioning what makes a baby into a murderer.”

Dink's bier was placed on the funeral car after Mrs. Dink's speech, and the cortege set off on the eight kilometer march that would lead to first to the Armenian Church of the Virgin Mary, then to Dink's burial ground at the Balikli Armenian Cemetery.

Many of those not attending the demonstration because of work stood outside their shops respectfully. A few were merely curious on this sunny day. The staff stood in an orderly line outside of a Yapimerkezi branch. “We have lived together in peace for so many years, this murder must be a provocation,” said Nihan, a shop assistant.

Many waved from the windows of the offices overhead; few as excitedly as those thronging the windows of a second-story branch of the CHP, Turkey's main opposition party.

They were greeted with taunts from the crowd, “Fascists” and “Where is your leader?”

Deniz Baykal, the leader of the CHP, was conspicuously absent from the funeral.

“We are really sad, and these are not crocodile tears,” Cafer Alchin, told the TDN inside his office. “Connecting the murder to Article 301 is too simple,” he said. The CHP has been accused of using nationalist rhetoric and defends Article 301.

“We are here to mourn Hrant,” said a demonstrator who was standing outside with his girlfriend, “But we left him alone.”

In the Armenian Hospital in Harbiye, Galip Atintepe, a senior surgeon, was wearing a picture of Dink stapled to his chest. “I was born a decade after the events of 1915 and I cannot feel guilty for something I had no hand in,” said Dr Altintepe, himself a Turk. He was referring to the year the Armenians were forced away from Anatolia.

“Judges should think hard before indicting people on Article 301 charges. The police in Trabzon should be brought to task for failing to track down the networks behind the murderers.”

He said that his Armenian friends and patients felt that the French and U.S. approaches to the Armenian “genocide” were ridiculous, and that these were not the issues at stake.

The cortege proceeded to the Armenian church in Kumpkapi gathering in numbers. Ohannes Menceshe, a 77-year-old Armenian who was standing outside of the church, told TDN that conditions were dire for Armenians in the 1930s and 1940s. He then addressed a group of Turkish children.

“We are not walking for Armenia,” he told them. “We are walking for you.”

Honor his legacy, give back the deed
ISTANBUL - Referans
January 24, 2007

Mustafa Köseoğlu, the current land owner of the Tuzla Armenian Children’s Camp, which was confiscated by the state and for which Hrant Dink has struggled for 25 years to be returned, says he will not give the land back

The late editor in chief of Agos newspaper, Hrant Dink, who was killed on Friday, had been fighting for the Tuzla Armenian Children's Camp to be returned to orphans, however, the current landowner, Mustafa Köseoğlu, has no intention of doing so.

Köseoğlu bought the land in 2001 for $1 million and planned to construct luxury villas but when he learned the history of the land, he had decided to return it, saying, “He would not like his children or grandchildren to benefit from unjustly acquired money.”

However, Köseoğlu has now reversed his decision, saying, “The circumstances have changed.” Köseoğlu explained the reason for his decision to Referans on Tuesday. “I spoke to a number of Armenian clergymen at the time concerning the land. Dink also phoned and explained the situation to me and I said I would give the land back, however, following the phone call I heard nothing. No one attempted to contact me and now I plan to build a private school on the land.”

The reopening of the Tuzla Armenian Children's Camp was a dream of Dink's. A book titled “Tuzla Armenian Children's Camp: A story of confiscation,” published by the Human Rights Association (İHD) in 2000 with a preface by Orhan Pamuk tells the sad story of the camp as follows:

“The aim was to create a pleasant place for orphaned children, who could run around on the cement backyard of the church in Gedikpaşa under the scorching summer sun. The administrators of the church foundation found a spacious green area in Tuzla and bought the land from Tuzla resident Sait Durmaz in November 1962 and registered it in the church's name. The church acquired the land by completing all the necessary documents as required by the General Management of Foundations Directorate and the governor's office. The foundations were laid and children carried the stones and sand necessary for the construction in handcarts. In the beginning they lived in tents and after two years of hard work the camp was finished. Dink and 1,500 children spent their winters in Gedikpaşa and their summers in Tuzla.”

The camp remained a refuge for orphans for 21 years, until Feb. 23, 1979.

In 1974, the General Management of Foundations Directorate applied to the Kartal third civil court, as İHD's book explains, asking to have the church foundation's deed cancelled and the land returned to its previous owner. The case lasted four years.

The court decided that the land be confiscated from the church and returned to its previous owner. "This meant that Durmaz sold empty land and had it returned complete with all camp facilities without paying a penny,” the authors wrote.

The court of appeals based its decision on the reasoning that it was illegal for foundations formed by non-Turks to own property even though it was possible for foreigners to buy or acquire property through inheritance but foundations were deprived such a right.

Since 1974, Dink struggled to have the land returned to the orphans. “I was eight when I first went to Tuzla. We worked day and night until the orphanage was finished. I worked there for 20 years until one day the authorities came and thrust a paper into our hands – you, as a minority foundation, do not have the right to own property, we made a mistake by giving you permission and this place will now be returned to its previous owner, they said,” he recalled those times.

Jale Özgentürk in her column in yesterday's Referans calls upon the government to solve the problem:

"The current market price for the land should be calculated and the property bought back from the current owner. The deed should also be given back to the church foundation.”

Özgentürk thinks that even expropriation is possible in the case of objection.

She goes on to explain the benefits of such an act: “This would help Turkey gain prestige in the international arena as it will settle the issue without having to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.”

She says this will also help better Turkey's image worldwide.

“An even a bigger benefit would be to relieve Turkish citizens of the diverse minority backgrounds, who have found themselves in an atmosphere of “fear and chaos” in the aftermath of the latest incident.

Maybe the death of Dink will remind them once again that they are citizens of this country,” she said.

Özgentürk asked whether these minority groups believe it is possible for the orphanage to be returned to the church.

Zakaryan Mildanoğlu, responsible for the architectural restoration of Ahtamar Church said: “We would be very happy if the land was returned and that would also allow Dink's soul to find peace. We would all work with pleasure but it is only a dream…”

Maybe this time dreams will come true!”

Everbody has a different killer for Hrant Dink
January 24, 2007
Who killed Hrant Dink?
A teenager, according to the full forensic report and according to that same teenagers own testimony. It was “The murderer state,” according to left-wing fanatics and Dink, who betrayed the lands where “he was fed,” himself, according to right-wing fanatics.

The secularist state establishment, according to the Islamists. The Islamist government, according to secularists. The “deep state,” according to deep state-connoisseurs. Foreign secret services, according to conspiracy-connoisseurs. “The blood-thirsty Turks - the descendants of genocide-makers,” according to the Turk-hating Armenians. The Armenians, according to Armenian-hating Turks. Xenophobic Turks, according to the separatist Kurds. Separatist Kurds, according to xenophobic Turks. Article 301 and the jurists who convicted Dink of insulting Turkishness, according to the liberals. The list of potential culprits, as newspapers read, can be widened endlessly. During the near-civil war of the 1970s various groups of ultra-nationalist and Islamist Turks literally slaughtered each other on the streets (when they did not slaughter the common enemy that was the communists); the ultra-nationalists killed Islamists because they highlighted their Muslimness before their Turkishness, and, likewise, Islamists killed the ultra-nationalists because they highlighted their Turkishness before their Muslimness.

About a year ago, in this column I wrote: “…This is where I see danger, ultra-nationalists becoming Islamists and Islamists becoming ultra-nationalists. … These usually split groups may in the future get mixed together and comprise a huge anti-Western bloc…” Ogün Samast who pulled the trigger is no different than his mentor who had bombed a McDonald's restaurant because the eatery was “a symbol of American imperialism;” or Alpaslan Arslan who less than a year ago shot up a chamber of supreme judges because they had banned the Islamic headscarf; or the teenager who killed a Catholic priest because the man was “an enemy of Islam;” or even anyone who belonged to the crowd of a few thousand people who wanted to lynch a handful of youths because they protested prison conditions. Samast is only an example of a dare-devil/loser among a bunch of nearly four million similar young Turkish men ages 15-19 whose cultural tradition is no richer than the book “Those Crazy Turks” and the film “Valley of the Wolves.” It's a matter of demographics. Turkey, in the last few decades, has “produced” too many young people (nearly eight million are in the 15-19 age group) than it could afford to healthily take care of i.e. educate, employ and provide social security. Inevitably, an alarmingly large part of these young men and women have “gone astray.” Some have joined the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK); some have joined one or another of the mushrooming sects of Islam to become soldiers of Islam; some have gone to fight the “infidels” in lands as far away as Pakistan and Afghanistan, some went to Iraq or Chechnya; some have become petty criminals and some, as in the case of Samast, have preferred to “defend the honor of Turkishness.”

In fact, they are the same thing although they ostensibly represent opposite or different political doctrines - it's only a matter of where and how they grow up. The PKK man who kills in the name of an “independent Kurdistan” is the same man who kills a priest or a judge in the name of “Islam” or the man who killed Dink in the name of “Turkishness” or the man who robs your house, steals your car, rapes tourists or snatches bags on posh streets. He is the same man who goes to the local Internet café for child porn, violent computer games or to read the daily brainwashing political material from his favorite radical Web site.

I wonder if the boring clichéd commentators on the Dink murder could answer any of the following questions: Can a whole nation be held responsible for one (or a few) heinous act(s) of a fanatic(s)? If yes, are the Dutch a “murderer nation” because Volkert van der Graaff, a non-Muslim Dutchman, for example, murdered Pim Fortuyn? Did any Turk hold Turkey's Armenians responsible for the murders by ASALA of scores of Turkish diplomats? Dink's conviction of “insulting Turkishness” was approved by the Court of Appeals. Does that mean Dink had really insulted “Turkishness?” Legally speaking, Dink was a man who did so. Where, then, is the thin line between what is legal and what is fair in this country? What other legal but unfair convictions/acquittals have come out of the Turkish legal system? A clear majority of Turks have behaved in a way that deserves praise since Dink was murdered - all of the government, the opposition and the public. But hadn't they behaved this way before? Should one be murdered so that he is judged fairly? Do Turks and Greeks always need a terribly punishing earthquake to understand that they have been, are and will be neighbors? Do Turks and Armenians need a shocking murder to remember that they lived together peacefully for four centuries? Fine, the government is to be blamed for Article 301. But did the European Union not give its consent to that piece of legislation it later criticized so much? Did Brussels not say Turkey, with its Article 301 in effect, was fit for opening membership talks with? Did the EU make a “strategic” assessment of Turkish candidacy over a “fair” one? No answer to these questions will bring back the pigeon who thought “in this country people don't harm pigeons.” Unfortunately, they do.

Turkish politicians avoid at funeral
January 24, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
As tens of thousands of people in the streets and millions in their homes were bidding farewell to murdered journalist Hrant Dink, nearly all of the country's leading politicians were conspicuous only for their absence.

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer says he does not attend funerals on principle. He was busy welcoming his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczynski and Turkish Cypriot Parliament Speaker Fatma Ekenoğlu.

Meeting with Ekenoğlu and Kaczynski was also on the itinerary of Turkey's Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç, who needed to prepare for the closed parliamentary session on Iraq. Arınç had paid a condolence visit to Dink's family on Monday.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was with his Italian counterpart Romano Prodi opening the highway tunnel through Bolu Mountain in the morning. Erdoğan arrived in Istanbul at 1 p.m. but was absent throughout the daylong funeral proceedings, preferring to attend a forum on Turkish-Italian cooperation.

The Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül was preparing for the parliamentary session on Iraq, scheduled to start at 7 p.m., and noted that Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu and Deputy prime Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin were representing the government.

Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal chose to address his deputies at a group meeting in Parliament instead of attending the funeral. There were also some who suggested that the absence of the CHP leader was due to his fear of attracting criticism at the funeral due to his opposition to annulling Article 301 of the penal code, under which Dink had been convicted.

True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Ağar's absence was due to a pre-arranged party training meeting in Ankara.

Among the leaders of main parties in Turkey, only Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erkan Mumcu and Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Zeki Sezer paid their last respects to Dink at his funeral.

Return of Dink's childhood camp legally conflicted
January 24, 2007
Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Şahin said that the restoration of Tuzla Children's Camp grounds to the Gedikpaşa Armenian Church Foundation looked troublesome.

Saying that the property has changed hands a number of times by third parties, Şahin said: "One of the basic principles of the law is the protection of third parties. The article pertaining to the community foundations in the Foundations Act, rejected by the president, regulates the restoration of real estate in possession of the treasury and the General Management of Foundations. I do not think that the case over this property will fall into that law's jurisdiction as it is now in the possession of a third party. However, I will have the issue looked into.”

Stating that the temporary seventh article was not among those rejected by the president, Şahin said: “Seven out of the nine articles rejected by the president, however, were related to community foundations and finds our handling of the issue against the Lausanne Agreement. But we do not agree with that decision.”

Şahin also stated that the decision as to whether the Foundations Act would be discussed or whether revisions would be made to the act will be finalized in one of the next cabinet meetings.

Çiçek: 301 debate on hold as Dink laid to rest
January 24, 2007
Responding to calls from prominent Turks and foreign leaders to annul a controversial law immediately, Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek said on Tuesday that the last thing Turkey needed was to begin another debate on Article 301 of the penal code, arguing that the matter should be discussed after slain journalist Hrant Dink, convicted under the article last year, was laid to rest.

Speaking to journalists in Parliament, Çiçek said the matter could be discussed in a more conducive environment after Dink's funeral and burial services.

Dink, convicted of “insulting Turkishness” under the controversial article, was murdered last Friday. Many famous names, including Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, have been tried under the Article 301, which criminalizes “insulting Turkishness, state bodies, the judiciary and Turkey's founder Atatürk.” It is seen as a major impediment to the progress of freedom of expression in Turkey and the government is under serious pressure, both domestically and from overseas, to annul the article.

After Dink's murder, calls for the annulment or amendment of the article have grown louder.

Çiçek also said that prosecutors specializing in organized crime were investigating the assassination. “We will all see the result of the investigation,” he said.

Meanwhile, German deputy Claudia Roth, speaking at the funeral of Dink, said they expected the government to take a stance against nationalism and called for the annulment of Article 301.

No, let's talk 301 today...
January 24, 2007
Çiçek is wrong. It's high time to talk about amending Article 301

It was at the height of a debate on the persecution of intellectuals in our society, under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), when the TDN asked Justice Minister Cemil Ciçek during a Sept. 20 reception in Ankara hosted by Sabancı Holding Chairwoman Güler Sabancı, whether the government would consider making amendments to the article or totally scrap it.

The minister was very irritated and tried to avoid giving an answer when I asked why he was so opposed to an amendment – which would include a detailed clarification as to exactly what constitutes a crime – to Article 301. However, with a large smile on his face, he replied, “How willing are you to let people curse at Turkey, insult Turkishness and get away with it?”

That night, within a few minutes and without giving the minister enough time to fully answer one question before moving on to the next, I threw a set of questions at him: But don't you think this article seriously infringes on the concept of free thought? Don't you see that this article is being used by some people to disseminate hatred? Can't we have a new law that complies with the modern understanding of freedom of expression and opinion, negative or otherwise? Don't you think it will be in the best interest of Turkey to draw a line between criticism and insult? Can there be progress in any area if criticism is barred? Why are you against the amendment of this article?

He was very irritated. “Parliament is in session to legislate the reform package, I must go,” he responded at first, but seeing that I had no intention of giving up, he said: “Where were you when the TCK amendment was being debated? Did you not read the draft at that time? Were you not aware of this article? Why did you, and others, not raise your voices at that time? The TCK was legislated only a short time ago. We need time to see problems that may arise in practice. This is a serious issue. We cannot make a law and start talking of amending it the next day, we need to see the application, let the courts develop an interpretation. There have been different court verdicts under the same article. Let's wait and see how it is implemented and if there is a need, at a later stage we may make amendments and correct all the problems arising from that and perhaps other articles. Why are you acting in such haste?”

I don't want to repeat here how successfully the government had distracted our attention from the adultery debate and how big a mistake the intellectuals and progressive personalities of this nation committed by not focusing well enough on each and every article of the TCK…

“We were unfortunately debating adultery at that time,” I said and noticed a large smile on the face of Çiçek. “You should have been more attentive. … You should not have let yourself get carried away with a discussion about one article only to forget about the rest, including an important package like the TCK,” he said.

He was damn right! But we were right as well in demanding immediate action on Article 301, which we believed was not only devastating Turkey's international reputation, but at the same time had become a tool for a witch-hunt by hard-core nationalists, a major contributor to the widening polarization in the country and escalation of nationalism with racist tones.

I should have asked the minister that night as well why the hell the prosecutors were not taking punitive action against those hordes attacking not only outside court rooms, but in the courts as well, against people being prosecuted under the contentious article on grounds that they insulted “Turkishness.”

But, as we were laying to rest our friend and colleague Hrant Dink, it must be clear to everyone concerned for the future of democracy, freedom of thought, freedom of press and of minority rights in this country why we were demanding from the government in such “haste” to either totally scrap or make radical amendments to Article 301.

Still, it was sad to see the justice minister declaring even on such a sorrowful day that the last thing Turkey needed was to begin another debate on Article 301, arguing that the matter should be discussed in a more suitable atmosphere.

Sorry Çiçek. … We are sorry to say but you are totally out of tune with our people – some of whom turned out in thousands at the funeral of Dink yesterday while others were glued to their TV sets watching live coverage of the procession on all news channels – who are shouting out loud their demand for wider freedom of thought.

Can't you, Çiçek, understand the message in the statement of Rachel Dink yesterday when she underlined: “He parted from his loved ones; from his children; from his grandchildren. … even from his life, but did not part from his homeland.” She was speaking after her husband was made a target by Article 301. Do we have the luxury to wait longer so that the contentious article produces other targets for the death squads?

Leaders fail the test
January 24, 2007
Mehmet Ali Birand It was a great opportunity. Remember those slogans they keep repeating about our unity and brotherhood? Those about being against armed groups and the importance of democracy and freedom of expression. Do you remember those politicians who constantly criticized the groups that raid exhibitions, courtrooms and attack people in the name of ?patriotism?? These people are the ones who failed the test. Our leaders just failed. They couldn't utilize this opportunity. If they had only attended the funeral of Hrant Dink, they could have proven that they really meant what they said. The entire bureaucracy and all of society would have started to think differently when they saw our leaders bidding farewell to Dink. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül and the entire Justice and Development Party (AKP) received the worst mark. I thought rule of law was the most important thing for this president. I used to think freedom of expression was a priority for him. Sezer disappointed us all.

The ruling party and especially Erdoğan and Gül are on the top of the list of people who disappointed us. The prime minister should have been in Istanbul yesterday. He should have brought Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi with him after opening the tunnel in Bolu and showed up for a few hours. If this was impossible, he could have sent Gül. The closed parliamentary session on Iraq was in the evening. So they should not give us the excuse of having a busy schedule. What could have been more important than this funeral? Where are the European Union criteria they have been working on for so long? Where is democracy and freedom of expression? Erdoğan and Gül fell victim to nationalist votes. For just a few hundred thousand votes, they betrayed themselves. It appears they never truly believed in these criteria and were just talking.

The most positive message from the AKP came from deputy Ömer Çelik. His proposal to drape Dink's casket in a Turkish flag showed that he did not succumb to the nationalists. My congratulations go out to Çelik. Shame on the prime minister and the foreign minister. What about Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal? Wasn't he supposed to be our savior? Wasn't it the CHP that was to protect freedom of expression? Baykal failed the test. Going to Dink's house and extending his condolences was not enough. He should have led the march. I also expected far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli there too. Bahçeli, who constantly says he wants to make far-right youngsters productive members of society, should have utilized this great opportunity. We should have seen him at the march. It would have been a truly great gesture for all. What happened to Mehmet Ağar? Or did he, too, get sacred? Was he, too, afraid to lose the votes of the nationalists? Whatever the reason, this attitude is not befitting of the Leader of True Path Party (DYP), Ağar. I wished in my heart to see Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt there.

Could there have been a more beautiful, more symbolic gesture than that? Could the Turkish Military's condemnation of such events be better exhibited? That would have been a wonderful picture… With President Sezer at the head of the procession, all political party leaders, and the chief of general staff… This would have been the most wonderful picture of Turkey. Could a better message be given both to ourselves and to the whole world? We have missed a very big opportunity…

There are also those who do not hide: There are also politicians who do not want to hide behind the nationalist votes. They are Erkan Mumcu, Zeki Sezer and Murat Karayalçın. They courageously went out on the squares. They did not hide. They showed they had the heart. My sincere congratulations… They stood behind their views even though they need to be careful and fight for each vote. They did not act like the others. But most important was the behavior of those tens of thousand of people that formed the procession starting from the early morning hours. They demonstrated what kind of a Turkey they wanted to live in. They showed that they long for a Turkey where people are not killed because of their thoughts. In Turkey, politics will not be the same ever again. The current habits will be left behind. It will be the time of leaders who keep their words.

Curse Terrorism
24 January 2007
The journalist Hrant Dink has been buried. Ten thousands marched for 8 kilometers with banners saying "we are all Hrant, we are all Armenian" in four different languages.

Dink's wife Rakel gave a speech in front of Agos newspaper building at Şişli and she addressed to her husband as "my love": "you have left the beloved ones, your children and your grandchildren, you have my arms but you have not left your."

Accompanied by doves, Dink sets out on his last journey

Dink was sent to his last journey accompanied with the clapping of the wings of pigeons he resembled himself in his last article. Turkey clasped together for Dink and ten thousands marched after him for 8 kilometers.

Hrant Dink victim of the assassination in front of Agos newspaper building on Friday was off with a funeral ceremony attended by ten thousands of people. The first ceremony for Dink's funeral was held in front of the Agos Newspaper building where he worked as the editor-in-chief. Some 50,000 Turks lined the streets of Turkey's largest city on Tuesday in an outpouring of grief for slain Turkish Armenian editor Hrant Dink whose death has stirred debate about nationalist militancy in the country. From early morning, tearful mourners, some holding signs reading "We are all Hrant Dink" and "We are all Armenians", gathered outside the Agos newspaper office where Dink was gunned down in broad daylight last Friday.
He will be buried at an Armenian cemetery in the city. White doves were released into the air as somber music played. Much of downtown Istanbul was closed to traffic.

Hrant Dink's wife, Rakel Dink, made a farewell speech in front of thousands of people and said: "I am here with great honor and with great sorrow. Hrant has left the ones he loved, he has left my arms but he has not left the country which le loved more than anything."

Thousands marched after Dink's funeral car, without shouting slogans or protesting his timeless death. The crowd was surrounded by great silence. Rakel Dink's farewell speech filled everyone's eyes in tears. Rakel Dink quoted the Bible and said: "There is no greater virtue than sacrificing your life for others. I am sending off my love today. We will walk without shouting slogans, without disturbing the people around us. There is no other solution but to find the dark hands which create villains out of babies."

Paying Tribute To Hrant Dink (Serpil Karacan Sellars)
24 January 2007
The funeral of Hrant Dink drew thousands to his side, as it rightfully should. This has been the case many other times in history when Turks turned up to pay a posthumous tribute to activists instead of during their lifetime.
Just like the masses who congregated at the funerals of Ugur Mumcu, Bülent Ecevit and Ahmet Taner Kışlalı, none of these men ever got the chance to see such crowds behind them in their time.
It might be due to the tragic incidents that fill the pages of Turkish history, but it makes one think that it is only when sorrow strikes the Turks, such as in death or an earthquake, that we find the glue that bind us.
And this sad past, the tragic incidents of 1915, had been a common topic between us during interviews and chats with Hrant Dink.

“I am lucky, I am very lucky because I still live in this land,” Dink said in our last interview together.
He strongly stressed the positive aspects of being able to live in his country, in that of his ancestors. However sad the interview became as we spoke of the incidents of 1915, with Dink even shedding tears, his optimism astonished me again and again.

Obviously, though, Dink was not as “lucky” as he thought. Early on Friday afternoon he was gunned down in front of his newspaper building in one of busiest districts of Istanbul. The chief editor and founder of the Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, Dink had criticised both Turkish and Armenian authorities as well the Diaspora
Showered with charges against him, he was brought to the foreground and became a sitting duck for the nationalists in Turkey. Found guilty of insulting Turkishness, he was sentenced to a later suspended six-month prison term.
“How could I look at the faces of my Turkish neighbours, if I really had insulted them?” Dink said in reaction to the verdict.

Though the case made Dink more popular, this did not work to his credit but to his disadvantage, as he cited in his Agos editorial dated Jan. 10.

Deeply hurt by being convicted of insulting the Turkish identity under article 301 of the Penal Code, Dink even said he had thought of leaving the country. But so in love with this land, his past, he continued to voice the trauma of those who had to leave, so his departure always seemed unlikely to me.

However, in his last editorial, Dink referred to the many threats he had been receiving. He wrote, “I seriously think about leaving… especially when the threats reach loved ones.”

The feeling of “isolation” prevailing in the article might have reached the level of those who left for new lands in 1915. Despite many statements by officials referring to how much Dink was loved, I think his last editorial spoke for itself. Without being forced to leave, it showed how alone one can be in his own land.
We failed to spread our protective wings over an outspoken journalist who in his commentary referred to his spiritual state as “an anxious pigeon, able to survive in the big city despite all.”

His friend Can Dündar, also a leading Turkish journalist, said he wished Dink had left the country, as he once promised he would. However, I don’t think the eternal optimist could have done so.

“Those who left are living with the Turks of 1915, I live with the Turks of today. With the Turks that are changing and are continuing to change,” Dink once told me.

Now, I cannot help ask you Hrant, have Turks really changed?
“Love it or leave it” is a striking slogan that some wrap in the Turkish flag.
And Hrant Dink, who said he was lucky to live in this land, will now rest in it forever.

Yerevan Optimistic On Ties
24 January 2007
Assassinated journalist Hrant Dink’s funeral gave hopes for reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia, a senior Armenian official said. Samson Ozararat, an advisor to Armenian President Robert Kocharian, told Today’s Zaman that the funeral for Dink gave him hopes for the future of Turkish-Armenian relations. He said Armenia would consider initiating a process of dialogue with Turkey after a period of mourning for Dink. Both Turks and Armenians mourn their loved ones for 40 days, he said.
“There is no problem between the peoples, there are problems between those who rule our countries,” Ozararat said. At the time he spoke to Today’s Zaman, he had had no contact with any Turkish official.
Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia Arman Kirakosian attended the funeral yesterday. US-based Bishop Khazkah Parsamian came from the Armenian Orthodox Church and church leaders from Romania and Bulgaria also attended.
Armenian guests arrived in İstanbul late on Monday and were greeted by ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Turhan Çömez at the airport. Çömez visited Armenia last year in a good-will gesture.
The Armenian group visited historic Dolmabahçe Palace, which was built by two Ottoman Armenian architects in the 19th century. In a goodwill gesture, a Turkish Armenian accompanied them as their guide at the palace. As they toured the palace, the group also visited the room where Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, passed away.
Çömez said the Armenian guests were touched emotionally when they saw the crowds attending the funeral. He said they had not expected such a big turnout.


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