Three years ago today an assassin’s bullet killed Hrant Dink. Three shots fired into the back of his head.
Hrant Dink, Turkish-Armenian, journalist, editor-in-chief and one of the founders of Agos, the first Armenian-Turkish newspaper published in Turkey, died in broad daylight on the streets of Istanbul. His crime? Denigrating Turkishness, Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for which he was charged and accused three times. The last charge stemmed from an interview with Reuters in July of 2006, where he made a reference to the 1915 massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
Article 301, applies to public denigration of Turkishness, the Republic, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the Government of the Republic of Turkey, the judicial institutions, the military or security structures. All punishable by imprisonment.
Sadly, Dink does not stand alone charged with such crimes. He is joined by prize winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk and other journalists.
Dink paid with his life for repeatedly speaking his mind about human rights, the Armenian Diaspora and the Armenian genocide.
A young man, a Turkish nationalist, aged 17, charged with pulling the trigger did not act alone. Seventeen other people were also charged in connection with this murder. The trials continue with some guilty verdicts, some suspects released. Many believe Ergenkon – an ultranationalist group bears responsibility. Many believe the true masterminds remain at large. Many believe government officials are also involved.
At the time of Dink’s funeral, on January 23, 2007, 100,000 people filled the streets around the church, turning their mourning into a protest of his killing. Many carrying signs that read, “We are all Armenian” and “We are all Hrant Dink” in Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian plus placards that read, “301 is the murderer.”
The protests continue. Today, on this third anniversary, thousands held ceremonies across the country. Calling for justice. How long will they have to wait?