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Turkey

Murder Of Turkish-Armenian Editor Hrant Dink Is Still An Open Case

On the fourth anniversary of the death of the journalist and peace activist, thousands gather in Istanbul to demand justice.

Hrant Dink (open democracy)


Dink was shot outside the Istanbul offices of the Armenian newspaper Agos, where he was chief editor, after weeks of anonymous death threats and intimidation by state officials. A teenager confessed to the shooting, but an ongoing trial drags on without a verdict. Dink's family and lawyers are demanding that questioning be extended to high-ranking security officials who they suspect may have colluded in planning the murder.

ISTANBUL - At exactly 3 pm January 19, 2011, the day and hour of his death, Hrant Dink was commemorated at the site where he was gunned down. Thousands of people gathered for the ceremony, and many wept as it opened with a recording of his voice.

At 2:55, Dink's wife Rakel, his childrenDelal, Arat and Sera, and other family members gathered on the street where the slain journalist was killed. A minute of silence was held on the hour, and a voice recording of an interview with Dink was broadcast.

"It is true, Armenians have an eye on this country and this land," said Dink in the recording. "President Demirel once said something like ‘We won't even give the Armenians three pebbles'. So, in reply, I wrote: ‘Yes, we Armenians have an eye on this land because this is where our roots are. But don't worry. Our intention is not to take this land away. It is to come to this land and be a part of it.""

Speaking on behalf of the Collective Memory Platform, Nükhet İpekçi, daughter of Abdi İpekçi, a Turkish journalist gunned down in 1979, said: ‘We are a giant family gathered here for the fourth year running. As our sister Rakel has said: ‘They united us in our pain". Hrant Dink was robbed of his life as the result of an orchestrated plan by official institutions and people - can we defend Hrant Dink's right to live from where we stand? We might think we can, but it would be just words. We now need more than words."

Police officials could be brought before court

Charges of neglect in the investigation of Dink's murder against Resat Altay, the former police chief in the Black Sea city of Trabzon where Dink's teenage gunman hailed from, and lead investigator Levent Yarımel could be revived. Trabzon's prosecutors had previously refused permission for the two to be questioned, but Dink's lawyers appealed and the court in the neighboring Black Sea city of Rize has sent a request to the prosecutors asking that Altay and Yarimel be heard.

The commemorative ceremony, attended by some 10,000 people, included many writers, artists and fellow journalists. Protestors carried black and white placards which read: ‘For four years, there has been no justice", ‘Parliament has been absent for four years' , ‘The killer state will one day have to pay" and ‘We are all Hrant, we are all Armenian".

Dink's wife Rakel did not speak at the ceremony. She waved from the balcony of the Agos newspaper offices, and later left a bouquet of carnations at the exact location on the street below where he was shot.

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