Justice for 1.5 Million plus 1

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FRANKFURT — On January 19, Germans, Turks, Armenians, Kurds, Greeks and others gathered in several German cities to render homage to the memory of Hrant Dink, on the 12th anniversary of his death. In Frankfurt, a demonstration took place at a central location near the historic St. Catherine’s Church. Members of the Soykırım Karsıtları Dernegi (SKD), the Society against Genocide, organized the vigil which gathered a hundred people. Under the slogan, “Justice for 1.5 million victims of genocide, justice for Hrant Dink,“ the demonstrators carried photos of the murdered AGOS journalist as well as other activists currently jailed in Turkey. Candles and flowers lay on the ground among the photos and texts.

After greetings by SKD founder Ali Ertem, members of the group read out statements in German and in Turkish, explaining why they had gathered and what they were protesting. The group has held such demonstrations every year since his murder, alongside thousands of activists, in Istanbul, and worldwide. They were commemorating a very special person.

Demonstrators in Frankfurt

Why Hrant Dink Was Killed

The Armenian citizen of Turkey, father of three children, was an intellectual, the SKD representative said, who was “a voice for the voiceless” whose life was extinguished in accordance with the genocidal tradition of Turkey. His murder “is the continuation of the 1915 genocide,” and thus the slogan, “1.5 million + 1.” The reason he was assassinated, she continued, lies in the fact that he named the genocide by name, breaking a taboo in Turkey.

At the same time Hrant Dink fought for an honest dialogue and reconciliation, in the context of a democratic society he hoped would come into being, and guarantee equal rights for minorities, for people of different religions and nationalities. Although he received death threats repeatedly, he was denied protection by the Turkish state, which led the European Court of Human Rights to rule in 2010 that Turkey was thus co-responsible for his death.

The SKD has been following the legal proceedings these 12 years, in which proxies have been put on trial while those responsible for the order to kill have remained concealed. The conclusion drawn is that Turkish intelligence services, gendarmerie and police are among the complicit. The consequences of such actions, said the SKD representative, are that Kurds and other minorities today are being victimized, and anti-Semitism is also on the rise.

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What Is to Be Done

In closing, the speaker read out the concrete demands the SKD has been making and will continue to make. First, a full investigation must be conducted to shed light on the background leading to Hrant Dink’s murder and who was responsible. This is the demand for justice for Hrant Dink and the 1.5 million genocide victims. Secondly, the immediate recognition of the genocide against the Armenians, Assyrian-Aramaeans, Ponto-Greeks and Yezidis – as well as the Dersim genocide. Thirdly, Erdogan must halt all massacres and human rights violations against Kurds and other groups, and free their imprisoned representatives. Finally, while the SKD welcomes the June 2016 resolution of the German Bundestag (Parliament) which recognized the Armenian genocide, it demands that the German federal government implement the conclusions of that act, by including study of the genocide in school curricula and introducing a national holiday in commemoration.

The demonstration in Frankfurt may have been modest in size, but appearances are deceptive. It is ideas that matter, and the people committed to translating them into reality. The SKD was the group that initiated the political campaign that eventually led to the historic resolution passed in the German parliament. (See Armenian Mirror-Spectator, December 20, 2018, The Turks in Germany Who Defeated Denial, www.mirrorspectator.com/2018/12/20/the-turks-in-germany-who-defeated-denial/)

 

 

Topics: History, Turkey
People: Hrant Dink
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