1398) Turkey since the Hrant Dink murder by Gunduz Aktan

There is no racism or ‘deep state’ involved. Maybe the answer is that the problems are rooted in the attempt to 'save' the country made by a group of unemployed and uneducated youngsters who are unable to save themselves

The murder of Hrant Dink is both a very tragic event for his relatives and a very grave one for Turkey. We need to closely examine this case to understand the current situation of Turkish society.

Hrant Dink, as he almost stated openly in an unofficial meeting of Parliament, believed that the 1915 incidents were genocide. But he also blatantly said that Western countries have exploited the Armenians' cause for their own benefit and that the outcomes of this misuse are being repeated during Turkey's European Union membership application phase.

Even though they knew of his thoughts on genocide, tens of thousands of people attended Hrant Dink's funeral. The differences in opinion were not important. A human being had been murdered – this was what could not be accepted. Turkish society demonstrated the level of maturity it has reached, although it was on this sad occasion.

Obviously, those who carried “We are all Armenians” and “We are all Hrant Dink” banners were not Armenian. It would not have been necessary for them to express it if they were. On the other hand we should not overlook the difference between saying “We are Armenians” and saying, for example, “We are Palestinians.” It is said that Turkey has committed genocide against Armenians, not against another group of people such as Palestinians.

Orhan Pamuk's mistake:
In each assassination, answers as to who killed and what end their murder accomplished can also demonstrate the state of mind of various groups of people.

Maybe the most unrelated response was Orhan Pamuk's holding the supporters of article 301 responsible for the assassination. It is true that the problems arising from defining the concept of “insulting Turkishness” in this article remain unresolved. However, would the threats caused by people who feel their Turkish identity is being maligned be eliminated if this article 301 did not exist?

Orhan Pamuk could have easily apologized to the Turkish public using his Nobel Prize as protection for his ignorant or malicious words uttered during an interview with a Swiss newspaper. On the other hand, he did exactly the opposite while preparing the front page of the daily Radikal. He insisted that, in a direct line from the prominent Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet, he too was the victim of the public and the state's intolerance. This is an example of morbid persistence that is unrelated to high ideals such as making Turkey face history or bringing freedom of speech to the country.

Turks are not racist:
The claim that Turks are racist toward Armenians is another invalid answer given to the question “Who killed Hrant Dink and why?” Racism arises from feelings of hate toward a group of people for no other reason than their race. If there is a conflict over land with a group, just as the case with the separatist Kurds, or if there is a severe dispute over Turks committing genocide, just as the case with Armenians, then the parties can still hate one another. However the reason for this hate is the existing controversy, not racially motivated hatred.

The arguments that the “deep state” murdered Hrant Dink also lack validity. This approach, followed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after the attack on the Council of State judges last year, was soon proven wrong. It was discovered that the crime, for which Erdoğan had blamed retired army officers, had been committed by a fanatically religious person, affected by the “turban syndrome” to which Erdoğan made a decisive contribution

During an ideological struggle in a bipolar world there were once organizations against the revolutionary left both within and outside the state in all NATO countries. The intelligence organizations in Turkey also had to struggle with separatist terrorist and religious fanatics. Among these activities, Erdoğan probably defines the state institutions which led the fight against religious bigotry as “deep state.” He is concerned that some autonomous entities outside governmental control may injure him behind the excuse of their struggle with ultra-religious groups. This is very grave. It shows that a leader, one who has not stopped clashing with the Republic's fundamental principles, cannot overcome a lack of confidence even if he comes to power as a result of democratic elections.

Maybe the only valid answer is that the problems are rooted in the attempt to “save” the country made by a group of unemployed and uneducated youngsters who are unable to save themselves. This is a huge problem as there are tens of thousands of youngsters in similar situations and tens of people who, according to these youngsters, have warranted being killed.

Then the real question is this: What is happening to us?
February 3, 2007 / TDN


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