January 19 Marks 14th Anniversary of Dink Assassination

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ISTANBUL — Commemorations for marking the 14th anniversary of the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink will take place virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dink served as editor-in-chief of Istanbul’s Armenian-language newspaper Agos before being gunned down outside its offices on January 19, 2007.

More than 100,000 people joined the funeral for the journalist and Human Rights advocate, who sought to mend relations between Turkey and the Armenian community.

Traditionally, friends and supporters gather outside the Agos offices to mark the anniversary of the killing. This year, however, the memorial will take place online, with speeches and features on Dink’s life broadcast throughout the day.

Ogün Samast, a Turkish ultra-nationalist, was convicted of Dink’s murder in 2011, but questions remain over the alleged involvement of state security forces.

Rakel Dink

For the occasion, his widow, Rakel, released a statement, as did Basak Demirtas, the wife of jailed co-leader of the People’s Democratic Party, Selahattin Demirtas.

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In her statement, Rakel Dink spoke out against the denial of the Genocide.

“As a granddaughter of a ‘leftover of the sword’, over the last century, I have seen how our plight has been denied and refuted. As if this was not enough, they added more insult to injury by naming it “the so-called genocide.” Has it ever occurred to you that you may be hurting or offending someone? Your endless hostility towards Armenians, your insults, humiliation, grudge, and rage have literally consumed us. Don’t you ever get tired of it? What a pity. Your silence and brazenness are so shameful. May God help us all.”

She urged all to embrace a peaceful existence.

Then, she spoke about the ongoing trials for the murder of her husband.

“My husband’s murder trial has been going on for 14 years. They could not resolve the murder in the past 14 years! They failed to do so, because it’s not their intention to solve it. The only thing they strive for is to close this case. They spare no efforts to find a way. But it is like a metastasis. It has spread all over the place; they are not able to wrap it up. How else one can explain the failure to carry out an effective investigation for all these years? How else one can explain the failure to question – not even once – those who issued threats and finger pointed my husband as a target?”

Basak Demirtas

She added, “Let me put it bluntly. Claiming that Hrant was killed by FETÖ [supporters of exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen] is synonymous to saying, ‘it was not me, it was my hand.’ Alleging that Hrant was murdered by Ergenekon [Turkish deep state] is tantamount to saying, “it was not me, it was my feet.” All these years, you have come all the way up to here, blatantly, walking on your feet. And then you held the gun with your two hands, pulling the trigger.”

In her statement, Demirtas said, “We are together once again for our deepest wound that we could never come to terms with, we could never get used to over the years, and we will not do so. We are here for our dearest friend, our true brother, our Hrant.”

“You, the people who gather in front of Agos each and every year as well as those across the globe who cannot be physically present here but whose hearts keep beating with us. We do not merely commemorate a precious one we lost, but we are also in search for [his] values. We seek justice, we quest for peace that slips through our fingers. We lost our laughter. Our joy, our zest for life,” she noted.

She urged not forgetting Dink’s contributions and to build on those in order to bring democracy to the country.

“Perhaps we have been seeking justice for so long, perhaps our spring came rather late. The promises we made to Hrant are still not fulfilled. However, the blame for this delay belongs neither to the society at large, nor to the oppressed or the others.

“The biggest failure lies with the leaders of the society. Although all the probabilities lay bare, right before our eyes, these leaders do not dare to reach out for them. This is what it is all about. It is all about reaching out and grabbing it. It is all about daring to do it, to show the courage to do it. Yet, we shall not despair. Just as our dear Hrant did, without giving into vengeance, we will embrace hope with wisdom, patience, love, and particularly with resistance. We have to find a way out of all these polarization, vilification, and tension through common sense. In fact, it is quite easy to get out of this seemingly chaotic and complicated situation. There is only one thing to do. To come together. To stand together for democracy. We, the women, have the power, faith and courage to do so by taking the lead. Let us first come together and join our forces as women. Let us build an all-women pro-democracy alliance against injustice, all forms of violence, and poverty. Let us clear the path for a society that gasp for air. For how long do we have to wait for this? What else do we expect to happen till then?”

She urged others to look forward to a better future.

“What will unite us is not a leader, not a party, not a savior, but it is our own hands. Come, let us lend each other a hand and join forces. Let us save the future of our children.

To watch the program, visit http://www.hranticinadaleticin.org/.

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