Hrant Dink, the courageous journalist who believed that he could promote democracy in Turkey by getting the people to face the dark history of that country, was assassinated on January 19, 2007 in front of the editorial offices of Agos, the bilingual weekly which he had founded with the hope of engaging Turks and Armenians in a cathartic dialogue.
He used to believe that Armenians in Istanbul lead a very isolated life and that if those in Turkey knew the Armenians better, all prejudices would vanish.
By the same token, by exposing facts about the Armenian Genocide, he believed that he was not only serving a historic truth, but that he was also promoting human rights to cleanse Turkey of its grisly past, and pave the way for democracy.
In view of his bold statements about Turkey’s human rights abuses and denial of the Armenian Genocide, people were always worried about his security. He, however, always comforted them, believing that Turkish society was changing and maturing. He also believed that he was living like a dove and people always protected doves. Unfortunately, he was wrong.
In the process of the investigation of Dink’s murder, a document dating back to 1997 has surfaced labeled “confidential.” In addition to Dink’s name, the name of the then-vicar of the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul, Mesrob Mutafyan, was also used. The document stated, “an individual named Firant Dink is among our targets due to his pro-Armenian activities. He is the editor-in-chief of Agos periodical, published in Istanbul by Armenians and is in close ties with the vicar of the Patriarchate, Mesrob Archbishop Mutafyan, famous for his Armenian nationalist inclinations.”