Commemoration in Istanbul for Hrant Dink

Anniversary of Hrant Dink Assassination Commemorated in Istanbul

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ISTANBUL (Bianet) — Thousands of protesters marked the 13th anniversary of aTurkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink’s murder on Sunday, January 19, as outrage continues to grow over a trial which failed to shed light on alleged official negligence or even collusion.

Hrant Dink, the editor in chief of Agos newspaper and an advocate of reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, was shot dead outside his office by then-teenager Ogün Samast who defines himself as Turkish nationalist. More than 100,000 people marched in the funeral procession for Dink.

“Hrant Dink was the symbol of brotherhood that our country needed most. I think that was the biggest reason why he was taken from us. Because the country’s dark-hearted ones need separation rather than unity,” Social Memory Platform lawyer Sertaç Ekinci said.

Protesters and human rights activists placed red carnations on the spot where Dink was gunned down in daylight by a teenage gunman in Istanbul, outside of his minority Agos newspaper.

“As we could not manage to live together and respect other cultures, we have not been ashamed of the drought we have created. Ours is not hatred against evil. An endless struggle. We want people not to give rein to the normality of evil, bow to power. We want them to struggle for their rights,” human rights defender Sebnem Korur Financı said during her commemoration speech.

Many carried black banners that read “We are all Hrant, we are all Armenian” and “We want justice”, as they did in the previous twelve commemorations.

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Dink was outspoken about Armenian issues and he was prosecuted three times for violating Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, which makes it a crime to insult Turkishness, the Turkish nation, or Turkish institutions. He spent his career challenging the intolerance behind such statutes, becoming a champion of minority rights in a country where such causes are punishable.

His murder instantly became a symbol of the racism and ultranationalism grinding at the core of Turkish society, a war against freedom of expression, and the complacency of Turkey’s intellectuals.

Since Dink’s murder, the movement called “We Want Justice” which demands a fair trial for Dink’s murder case, has grown and become more complex, bringing together Turkish liberals, Armenians, journalists, Kurds and Alevis, and women and members of the LGBTI community—basically all marginalized minorities in Turkey.

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