Oya Baydar speaks, as Hrant Dink’s widow, Rakel, stands to her right (Photos: Murat Kök)

Rally Held to Commemorate 17th Anniversary of Hrant Dink Assassination

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ISTANBUL — On Friday, January 19, Hrant Dink was commemorated where he was assassinated 17 years ago, in front of the Sebat Building which used to house the offices of Agos Newspaper. In addition to the large crowd gathered in front of the Sebat Building, viewers from outside Istanbul were able to participate in the commemoration through the live broadcast in English and Turkish.

Besna Tosun who is one of the Saturday Mothers/People read Çigdem Mater’s letter who has been imprisoned at the Bakırköy Prison under the Gezi Trials since April 2022. In her message, Çigdem Mater said “The murder committed on 19 January 2007 right in front of the Sebat Building was not a ‘momentary’ act. We know this very well. On top of the unlawfulness of the past 17 years, what lies beneath is a century-old unlawfulness.”

At the commemoration where unreciprocated demands for justice are voiced, this year sociologist and writer Oya Baydar addressed the crowd. In her speech, Baydar addressed Hrant Dink and his struggle, and said that the bullets fired at him were also fired at the peoples of this country, at its peace. She reminded that each year those who meet in front of the Sebat Building desire to live together as equal and free people on this land, as opposed to those who attempt to tear us apart and turn us into enemies.

Some in the crowd on January 19 (Photos: Murat Kök)

In her comments, Baydar said “Hrant was both the bearer of the troubles and pains of this country as well as the remedy and conscience of its oppressed, suffering peoples.”

She added, “Some people are special. They embody the values of their times, lands, and peoples. Hrant was such a person. As I remember him dearly today, I do not mean to offer a mere praise for Hrant Dink. This thought had occurred to me already back then when I met him for the first time in 2002 as we came together to establish the Peace Initiative.”

She continued, “He was in fact screaming the language of peace against the racist-nationalist bigotry that turned peoples into enemies. He was a trailblazer breaking taboos, defying the lies, and obscuring of the official history. And we do know that the forces nested in darkness are most afraid of taboos being broken, of their lies being exposed, of their dark faces being seen. This is why they shot Hrant.”

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She conclude, “I salute those who cherish the same values with you, I salute those who vowed to defend those values courageously at the expense of their lives. I salute those who pay the price of advocating these values in prison cells and exile; I cannot possibly name them all, yet let me mention the symbolic figures Selahattin Demirtaş, Osman Kavala, Gültan Kışanak, and let me salute them all on your behalf too.”

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