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 PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 4:57 pm    Post subject: English: Hrant Dink Assasinated - Press Revue Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
19th of January 2007, Assasination Hrant Dink
Press Revue





=> Overview
=> Press Revue
=> Pictures of the Commemoration
=> About Hrant Dink: Pen American Center, Armenipedia, Wikipedia
 
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 PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top



ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) -- A prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist who spoke out against the killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire early last century was shot to death Friday.


Hrant Dink, 53, editor of the Armenian-Turkish language weekly Agos newspaper, was shot dead in front of the Istanbul publication as he was leaving.



The killing prompted swift denunciation by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said the attack was a "shock" and an "insult" to the Turkish nation and a "dark day" -- not only for Dink's family but for all of Turkey as well.

"The dark hands that killed him will be found and punished," Erdogan said, in televised remarks.

Authorities are looking into a lead that he was shot four times by a young man who appeared to be 18 or 19 years old.

Described as a "well-known commentator on Armenian affairs," Dink has faced a number of cases in connection with "insulting" the Turkish state for his writings.

"Some of the trial hearings have been marred by violent scenes inside and outside the courtrooms, instigated by nationalist activists calling for Dink to be punished," said a profile on the Web site of Pen American Center -- the writers' group that promotes free expression.

Agos, an Armenian-Turkish language weekly, was established in 1996.

Andrew Finkel, a journalist in Turkey and a friend of Dink's, emphasized that the killing was "a tragedy" for a country attempting to "come to terms with its past."

Finkel said resentment toward Dink existed among ultranationalist Turks, and said the same people who staged "ugly scenes" at his trials are the same people who staged rallies directed at Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish writer who faced charges of insulting Turkishness as well.

He described Dink as a "bright" and brash" man who was a "well-known figure in Istanbul" and an advocate for Turkey's small Armenian community -- a once-populous group now numbering around 60,000 or 70,000.

"If anything, he was a great Turkish patriot," Finkel told CNN in an interview.

Pen's profile said that in 2005, Dink "had been charged for an article published in Agos in which he discussed the impact on present day Armenian diaspora of the killings of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by the Ottoman army in 1915-17."
Hot-button issue

This is a hot-button issue in the region, Pen notes.

Armenians and other countries regard the killings of Armenians in the early 20th century as a a genocide, a claim rejected by the Turkish government, which says Armenians and Turks were killed in civil warfare.

Dink was one of the most prominent voices of Turkey's shrinking Armenian community.

A Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, he had received threats from nationalists, who viewed him as a traitor.

In an earlier interview with The Associated Press, Dink had cried as he talked about some of his fellow countrymen's hatred for him, saying he could not stay in a country where he was unwanted.

Joel Campagna, Mideast program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said, "Like dozens of other Turkish journalists, Hrant Dink has faced political persecution because of his work. Now it appears he's paid the ultimate price for it."

Campagna said that Turkey "must ensure that this crime does not go unpunished like other cases in the past and that those responsible for his murder are brought to justice."

He said that over the last 15 years, 18 Turkish journalists have been killed -- making the country the eighth deadliest in the world for journalists in that period. He said that many of the deaths took place in the early 1990s "at the peak of the Kurdish separatist insurgency."


He said killings, other attacks against journalists that don't result in deaths, and the many cases of Turkish journalists facing criminal charges under "vague statutes" create a "chilling effect" among media workers.

Private NTV television said police were searching for the suspected murderer, believed to be a teenager wearing a white hat and a denim jacket, but the identity and motivation of the shooter were unknown, AP reported.

Dink's body could be seen covered with a white sheet in front of the newspaper's entrance. NTV said four empty shell casings were found on the ground and that he was killed by two bullets to the head.

Fehmi Koru, a columnist at the Yeni Safak newspaper, said the murder was aimed at destabilizing Turkey.

"His loss is the loss of Turkey," Koru said.

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.
 
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 PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Amnesty International Condemns Murder of Hrant Dink

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

Amnesty International deplores the murder today of the prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

The organization believes that he was targeted because of his
work as a journalist who championed freedom of expression.



"This horrifying assassination silences one of Turkey's bravest human
rights defenders," said Maureen Greenwood-Basken, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) advocacy director for Europe and Central Asia. "Writers put their lives on the line when they cover human rights violations, as the cases of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, and now Hrant Dink, brutally illustrate.


"But legitimate debate about ideas must be protected. The Turkish
government must redouble its efforts to protect human rights defenders and open its political climate to a range of views. Recent legal reforms have brought many areas of Turkish law in line with international human rights standards, but existing limitations on free speech such as Article 301 must be repealed.


"The U.S. government, as one of Turkey's closest allies, should push
for a full and transparent investigation into Dink's murder."

AIUSA is a longstanding advocate of freedom of speech in Turkey and
around the world. In an online action in October 2006, AIUSA activists sent
thousands of messages urging repeal of Article 301.

Dink, editor of the newspaper Agos and contributor to the influential
daily Zaman, was reportedly shot three times today in Istanbul outside the
Agos offices. He was 53. Dink was a passionate promoter of the universality of human rights who appeared on different platforms with human rights activists, journalists and intellectuals across the political spectrum.

Best known for his willingness to debate openly and critically issues of
Armenian identity and official versions of history in Turkey relating to
the massacres of Armenians in 1915, Dink also wrote widely on issues of
democratization and human rights.

"In Turkey there are still a number of harsh laws which endorse the
suppression of freedom of speech," said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and
Central Asia programme director at Amnesty International. "These laws,
coupled with the persisting official statements by senior government, state
and military officials condemning critical debate and dissenting opinion,
create an atmosphere in which violent attacks can take place."

Last year, Dink was prosecuted for the third time on charges of
"denigrating Turkishness" under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code.
Amnesty International called for the repeal of that law and condemned his
prosecution as part of a pattern of judicial harassment against him for
peacefully expressing his dissenting opinion. Dink had already been given a six-month suspended prison sentence in July 2006 following an October 2005 conviction on charges of "denigrating Turkishness."

Amnesty International calls on the Turkish authorities to condemn all
forms of intolerance, to uphold the rights of all citizens of the Turkish
Republic and to investigate Dink's murder thoroughly and impartially, to
make the findings of the investigation public and to bring suspected
perpetrators to justice in accordance with international fair trial
standards.

For further information about Amnesty International's concerns
regarding Article 301 please see 'Turkey: Article 301: How the law on
"denigrating Turkishness" is an insult to free expression':
http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/turkey/document.do?id=ENGEUR440032006

Contact: Jason Opena Disterhoft of Amnesty International USA,
+1-202-544-0200, ext. 302


SOURCE Amnesty International USA


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 PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Hrant Dink: This Heart Will Never Get Silent!
by ender yilmaz - AKi -Turkey Saturday, Jan 20 2007, 7:17am
greece / turkey / cyprus / anti-fascism / news report
http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=4690




“Those who killed Hrant Dink are” shouted one speaker at Taksim square sit-in yesterday evening “those who don’t want people’s fraternity, …those who killed 1,5 million Armenians, … those who exiled hundreds of thousands of Kurds from their villages, …those who created Sivas, Çorum, Maraş massacres, …those who represent the rotten gang order of this country, …”



“Those who killed Hrant Dink are” shouted one speaker at Taksim square sit-in yesterday evening “those who don’t want people’s fraternity, …those who killed 1,5 million Armenians, … those who exiled hundreds of thousands of Kurds from their villages, …those who created Sivas, Çorum, Maraş massacres, …those who represent the rotten gang order of this country, …”

Hrandt Dink, an Armenian journalist and a leftist intellectual, was a firm supporter of a society without nationalisms. He was found guilty in October 2005 of insulting Turkish identity after he wrote an article which addressed the Armenian genocide. He said that he will go to Paris and say that there is no Armenian genocide, if the Armenian genocide law will pass in French parliament. He got lots of threats. He represented the line of true intellectuals which every country has.

The Istanbul sit-in to protest his murder began in the afternoon and ended at 8 p.m. with a one-hour-long march to his newspaper, Agos. Estimates of the participants range between 5 and 15 thousand. There were also other protests in Ankara, Izmir and Bursa. Some of the slogans in Istanbul protest were: “We all are Armenians, we all are Kurds”, "Obsinately we all are Armenians", “We all are Hrant’s, we all are Armenians”, “Long live people’s fraternity” (in Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian), “The ropes of the murderer is in the hands of the state”, “Murderer state will pay back”, “Side by side against fascism”, “Time will come, the order will change, fascist murderers will pay back to the people” etc.

Flags of the ex-“social-democratic” new-center Republican People’s Party (CHP) were burned (its building was near to the Agos newspaper and people cut the flags hanging between the street lamps) and people shouted: “CHP is not people’s, but fascists’ party”, “Fascist Baykal (leader of the CHP)”, “Baykal! We are Kurds, shoot us too”.

Coincidentally (!) fascist gangs continued their provocations at Istanbul and Mimar Sinan Universities yesterday. In the morning a gang of 30-40 people (mostly outside the university) managed to enter the university (security guards probably displayed an extreme benevolence to them which they don’t have for leftist students) and walked in the campus for leftists. In the evening a group of students at the sit-in should leave to save the students at the Mimar Sinan University campus in Beşiktaş from the fascist gang blocking the exit.

The protests will continue today, but nobody knows really what is aimed with this murder. Fascist sites are rejoicing. Some conservative people even argue that it is the job of the Armenian Diaspora. The big media is very sad (a sadness they didn’t have for the persecution of Hrant Dink before, neither for the massacred Armenians).

Hrant Dink represented the moderate Armenian who wanted to let the Turkish people understand the past violence and knew that interventions from first world states created nothing but xenophobia dressed under anti-imperialism. We have to keep this line, but this will be only possible by the participation of more and more people to the protests. Only this can overcome the lack of this valuable friend and stop inter-ethnic conflicts. Only then Hrant Dink can live as if he is still speaking and writing, as if he was not murdered. As the protesters were singing yesterday evening:

There is no death for us
This heath will never get silent
 
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 PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

In memorium: http://www.hrantdink.net.tc/
 
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 PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Robert Fisk: Award-winning writer shot by assassin in Istanbul street
Published: 20 January 2007

Hrant Dink became the 1,500,001st victim of the Armenian genocide yesterday. An educated and generous journalist and academic - editor of the weekly Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos - he tried to create a dialogue between the two nations to reach a common narrative of the 20th century's first holocaust. And he paid the price: two bullets shot into his head and two into his body by an assassin in the streets of Istanbul yesterday afternoon.


It was not only a frightful blow to Turkey's surviving Armenian community but a shattering reversal to Turkey's hope of joining the European Union, a visionary proposal already endangered by the country's broken relations with Cyprus and its refusal to acknowledge the genocide for what it was: the deliberate mass killing of an entire race of Christian people - 1,500,000 in all - by the country's Ottoman Turkish government in 1915. Winston Churchill was among the first to call it a holocaust but to this day, the Turkish authorities deny such a definition, ignoring documents which Turkey's own historians have unearthed to prove the government's genocidal intent.

The 53-year-old journalist, who had two children, was murdered at the door of his newspaper. Just over a year ago, he was convicted under Turkey's notorious law 301 of "anti-Turkishness", a charge he strenuously denied even after he received a six-month suspended sentence from an Istanbul court.

The EU has demanded that Turkey repeal the law under which the country also tried to imprison Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk. At the time of his trial, Dink appeared on Turkish television in tears. "I'm living together with Turks in this country," he said then. "And I'm in complete solidarity with them. I don't think I could live with an identity of having insulted them in this country."

It is a stunning irony that Dink had accused his fellow Armenians in an article of allowing their enmity towards the Turks for the genocide to have a "poisoning effect on your blood" - and that the court took the article out of context and claimed he was referring to Turkish blood as poisonous.

Dink told news agency reporters in 2005 that his case had arisen from a question on what he felt when, at primary school, he had to take a traditional Turkish oath: "I am a Turk, I am honest, I am hard-working." In his defence, Dink said: "I said that I was a Turkish citizen but an Armenian and that even though I was honest and hard-working, I was not a Turk, I was an Armenian." He did not like a line in the Turkish national anthem that refers to "my heroic race". He did not like singing that line, he said, "because I was against using the word 'race', which leads to discrimination".

Pamuk had earlier faced a court for talking about the 1915 genocide in a Swiss magazine. Leading Turkish publishers say that there is now an incendiary atmosphere in Turkey towards all writers who want to tell the truth about the genocide, when vast areas of Turkish Armenia were dispossessed of their Christian populations. Tens of thousands of men were massacred by Turkish gendarmerie - and by Kurds - while many Armenian women and children were raped and butchered in the northern Syrian deserts. The few survivors still alive have described the burning of living Armenian children on bonfires.

In fact, a book published in Turkey and in the United States by Turkish scholar Tamer Akcam gives documentary details of the orders passed down from the Ottoman government in what was then Constantinople for the deliberate and industrialised killing of the Armenians. Thousands were also suffocated in underground caves in what were the world's first gas chambers. Adolf Hitler asked his generals in 1939: "Who remembers the Armenians?" And he went on to begin the Holocaust of the Jews of Poland. Whether the police discover that Dink's murderer is a Turkish nationalist - or even, though it might seem inconceivable, an Armenian nationalist outraged by his earlier remarks - will be an important proof of the country's willingness to confront its past.

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article2169190.ece
 
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 PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Comment
We must never forget Turkey's 'first solution'


Jasper Gerard
Sunday January 21, 2007
The Observer

My wife is only alive because her great-grandmother hid in a laundry basket, peeking through slats as troops bayoneted the rest of her family to death. She is crying upstairs as I write because history stubbornly refuses to move on. A fellow Armenian, a newspaper editor, has been shot dead in Istanbul. His mistake? Reminding Turkey it still hasn't apologised for - or even admitted - the genocide of 1.2m Armenians under the cover of the First World War.

Article continues
Hrant Dink had already been convicted of this 'crime', for which Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's greatest novelist, was also prosecuted. Just imagine if a British editor was gunned down and men in size 12s bundled off Martin Amis for, say, daring to mention Bloody Sunday. There would be riots in London Fields. But because it's in Turkey, a moderate Muslim state needed in the War on Terror, Brits who normally speak for the marginalised are watching Big Brother. They shrug: 'Let's fight the new war, not the old.' The problem is, it is the same war, and as Dink's bloodied body suggests, there has never really been a ceasefire.

To qualify, this is not all about religion, about Muslims (Turks) versus Christians (Armenians): nationalism as much as religion prevents Turkey uttering the fearful 'sorry'. But if Armenians weren't Christian, would Turkey have refused for so long? And would the West have been quite so squeamish about pressuring Ankara?

In extreme cases, Islamicists trade on Western self-abasement. So in Britain last week it was claimed a terrorist suspect took refuge in a mosque. Police refused to enter for 'cultural reasons'. Would they have been so polite if an IRA suspect had holed up in a Catholic church? Another man allegedly involved in a plot to bomb targets in London was said to have fled in a burka, knowing no policeman would dare frisk him.

Turkey still doesn't acknowledge Armenia. Its Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, condemns the murder, but it was he who outlawed so-called attacks on the state. He has also stepped up nationalistic and Islamic tub-thumping, so while his condolences seem sincere, they are about as valuable as a discourse on multiculturalism from Jade Goody. And this is the guy with whom Tony Blair wants to chew over European integration.

Istanbul dazzles. On frequent trips, I see the clash of civilisations fought, not in mosques but in Moschino: the devil might wear Prada, but so now do many of Allah's followers. Materialism, not spiritualism, will win this war. Mama might be shrouded in black, but her daughter might be a short-skirted babe hopping into her boyfriend's open-top Mini.

Most Turks want progress, and we should help them. America, with a Democrat Congress, should shortly join France in recognising the genocide.

Winston Churchill once called it a holocaust. What a paradox that just as Europe starts to consider outlawing Holocaust denial, Turkey outlaws holocaust admittance. Hitler famously reckoned he would get away with his Final Solution after studying Turkey's first solution. 'Who,' he asked 'remembers the Armenians?' The torchlit procession of all nationalities weaving tearfully through Istanbul suggests that, finally, the entire world remembers.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1995358,00.html
 
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 PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

www.thenation.com

The Life, Thought and Killing of Hrant Dink, Journalist


The Nation - Ronald Grigor Suny - Hrant Dink, the courageous editor of the Armenian-Turkish newspaper Agos in Istanbul, was murdered in the middle of the day on Friday, January 19, on a city street, in front of his office, by a 17-year-old man whom he had never met.




Hrant Dink was primarily interested in Turkish democracy, believing that the truth about the history of Turkey's Armenians would be preserved -- and acknowledged -- by a democratic Turkey.

The Life and Thought of
Hrant Dink (1954-2007)

Ronald Grigor Suny

The Nation
January 22, 2007

Copyright © 2007 Ronald Grigor Suny - The Nation
[Republished at PEJ News with Agence Global permission]


Shot three times in the nape of the neck, he lay face down on the sidewalk, the blood pooling under him. His killer fled, brandishing his pistol and shouting, "I have killed an Armenian!" Dink was not killed for any deed or personal grudge but for who he was and for his words -- words that were thought by nationalist Turks and right-wing opponents to be a threat to the Turkish state and to "Turkishness."

He was 52 years old, a man of enormous energy and passion, someone who embraced those who met him, enveloping them both physically and with his charm and charisma. The circles of his admirers extended far beyond the small, beleaguered community of Turkish Armenians.

Thousands gathered in Istanbul's central square, Taksim, in the hours after his killing and chanted, "We are all Armenians! We are all Hrant Dink!" For those who loved him or were moved by his words, it is impossible to believe he is dead.

Whatever the immediate motives of the young assassin from Trebizond to stop Dink's pen, Dink knew that he was extraordinarily vulnerable in the corrosive political atmosphere gathering in Turkey, an atmosphere enflamed by state prosecutions of dissident voices and nationalist media. "My computer's memory," he wrote in his last editorial, "is loaded with sentences full of hatred and threats. I am just like a pigeon.... I look around to my left and right, in front and behind me." Like novelist Elif Shafak and Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, both of whom have raised the issue of the genocidal deportations and massacres of hundreds of thousands of Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire, so Dink had been brought before Turkish courts and accused under the infamous Article 301 of "insulting Turkishness." And like the others he had not been jailed but given a suspended sentence, a gesture signaling that the Turkish state was still wavering between adopting the legal norms of Europe and turning its back on the invitation to join the European Union.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials from the government condemned the murder, and the culprit -- Ogun Sanmaz -- was quickly apprehended. But in statements from the authorities some of the blame was placed on those outside Turkey who have brought forth parliamentary resolutions, as in France recently, to recognize the events of 1915 officially as a genocide. For eleven years Dink had edited Agos, a small-circulation newspaper, and though it had but 6,000 subscribers, its resonance was like a bell in a quiet night. In an interview with the Committee to Protect Journalists in February 2006, he remarked, "The prosecutions are not a surprise for me. They want to teach me a lesson because I am Armenian. They try to keep me quiet." When asked who "they" are, he answered as many in the Turkish opposition answer: "the deep state in Turkey," referring to the dark forces within the military and power ministries, as well as nationalist elements, to which even the mildly Islamist Erdogan government must defer.

The paradox of Dink's death is that he was killed in the name of a particularly narrow notion of patriotism while he was himself a fervent Turkish patriot. His vision of his native country was of a modern democratic, tolerant state on the eastern edge of Europe, in which his own people, the Armenians, could live with Turks, Kurds, Jews, Greeks and the other peoples who had coexisted, however uneasily, in the cosmopolitan empire out of which the Turkish Republic had emerged. What he could not tolerate was the denial of the shared history of those peoples, a history that involved mass killing of Armenians and more recent repression of Kurds. Dink was an active participant in the vital civil society in Turkey, key members of which have taken up the question of the Armenian genocide as an opening wedge to investigate the blank spots of Turkey's past. He participated in international meetings that included Armenian and Turkish scholars exploring the causes and consequences of the policies of the Young Turk government during World War I. Last year he spoke at a Turkish academic conference on this theme at Istanbul's Bilgi University, a breakthrough meeting that clearly frightened those nationalists who want to bury the inconvenient past.

While he was vitally interested in setting the record straight on 1915, Dink was more interested in the movement for Turkish democracy than in international recognition of the Armenian massacres as a genocide. Democracy in Turkey, he believed, would easily settle that historical matter. For some Armenians in the diaspora who know Turks far less well than their compatriots who live in Turkey, Dink's lack of fanaticism on this issue made him suspect, though his outspokenness in the face of official sanction gave him a heroic aura. Last year the Norwegians awarded him the Bjornson Academy Prize for protection of freedom of expression. In his speech at Bilgi University last year, he told the largely Turkish audience, "We want this land; not to take it away but to lie under it!"


Ronald Grigor Suny is the author of Looking Toward Ararat: Armenia in Modern History (Indiana, 1993) and the editor of The Cambridge History of Russia, Vol. III: The Twentieth Century (Cambridge, 2006).

Copyright © 2007 Ronald Grigor Suny - The Nation
 
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 PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

January 22, 2007 08:01 AM Eastern Time
Turkish Journalist’s Murder Denounced by ''Screamers'' Film Director

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hrant Dink, who was killed yesterday and has been generally known for speaking out about the need for Turkey to be open about its past, including the Armenian genocide, voiced similar concerns in the documentary "Screamers," which is opening in theatres in New York and Washington, DC on January 26th distributed by Maya Releasing.


"Hrant Dink has long been a voice for tolerance and understanding, and it is inconceivable that this message was not heard by the criminal who took his life away,” says “Screamers” director Carla Garapedian.

Dink was the editor of the Agos newspaper and was shot to death on the street in front of his office Friday in Istanbul. Garapedian interviewed Dink in Istanbul for “Screamers” to discuss the pressures being faced by people who want to speak freely about the Armenian genocide - notably himself, Orhan Pamuk and publisher Ragip Zaracolou. In the film, he explains that many people in Turkey cannot comprehend that their predecessors would be perpetrators of genocide. "Because they're against genocide and wouldn't commit it themselves, they can't believe their ancestors would have done such things either." It’s a battle, he said, for hearts and minds.

"Dink knew very well the danger of speaking freely for what he believed in,” says Garapedian. “Like his friend Orhan Pamuk, he was under prosecution, under Article 301, for 'insulting the Turkish state.'" “There has to be a process for a people to have the right to know the truth," Dink told Garapedian in Turkey. "The progressive elements of Turkey are working in this direction and those outside should help us in this direction."

On Friday, Dink lost his fight for peace and democracy in Turkey. “When I interviewed him for the film he told me his life had been threatened many times,” says Garapedian. "They are always making threats by phone or email,” Dink told her. “I cannot be as free as normal people, I have to be careful, always looking over my shoulder." Dink spoke about his friend, Nobel prize-winner Orhan Pamuk, who has also faced daily threats after saying a million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Turks.

After "Screamers" was released in Los Angeles last December, Garapedian asked the Turkish government for a response to the film. Weeks later, the government issued a statement saying that the Turkish government would redouble its efforts to combat the "lies" being disseminated by the Armenian diaspora. Yesterday, the government condemned the killing of Hrant Dink. "Whatever they have said, I can only think their call to deny the genocide sent a green light to those forces of extremism in Turkey that are only too ready to rely on the gun," said Garapedian.

This week "Screamers," which examines genocide denial in the last century, from the Armenian Genocide, to the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur, was shown at the Library of Congress, to a standing-room only crowd of over 200 people. Attendees included 7 members of Congress and numerous young staffers all among the over 100 million fans of the band, System of a Down, who are featured in the film. The event was sponsored by Congressman Adam Schiff, Save Darfur and the ANCA. Dink's words were heard by members of Congress and echoed in the halls of the Library of Congress. As Dink told Garapedian, "Those who live in a democracy may not be able to comprehend why someone can not accept their past. What they may not realize is that the person they are talking to is not as open-minded as they are."

"The last time I saw him was in November for our AFI premiere in Los Angeles, smiling as usual," said Garapedian. "He was a true democrat with a big heart and the courage to move forward, no matter the danger. Dink, in his own way, was a Screamer. I feel very honored to have known him."
 
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 PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:


23 - 1 - 2007
Vicken Cheterian

The pigeon sacrificed: Hrant Dink, and a broken dialogue



The assassination of Hrant Dink has destroyed a bridge between Turks and Armenians, says Vicken Cheterian.
------------------------------------------



The assassination of Hrant Dink in Istanbul on 19 January 2007 has had the effect of a tsunami. Never before has the killing of a journalist caused so much uproar in Turkey. Never before has such an event mobilised so many people; several thousand of them gathering spontaneously on the same day in downtown Istanbul, near the offices of the newspaper Agos where Hrant worked. Several thousand others demonstrated in Ankara, Izmir, and Malatya, the eastern town where Hrant Dink was born in 1954. The journalist's funeral in Istanbul on 23 January was attended by even larger crowds, united in grief and solidarity.

Only thirty-two hours after the murder, Turkish police arrested a teenager, born in 1990, identified as Ogün Samast, a school dropout from the city of Samsun on the Black Sea coast. Samast is reported to have confessed his crime: he had planned the assassination months before because he considered Hrant Dink to have insulted "the Turkish race". "I shot him after saying the Friday prayers. I'm not sorry ... I read news on the internet. He said 'I'm from Turkey but Turkish blood is dirty' and that's why I decided to kill him" (AFP, 21 January 2007).


Freedom's price

Yet, this teenager was not alone in killing Hrant Dink. To the friends of Hrant, there is something bigger involved: the political context in Turkey that created the pressure leading to this tragic death. Orhan Pamuk, Nobel prize winner and a friend of Hrant Dink, had the following to say: "In a sense, we are all responsible for his death. However, at the very forefront of this responsibility are those who still defend Article 301 of the Turkish penal code. Those who campaigned against him, those who portrayed this sibling of ours as an enemy of Turkey, those who painted him as a target, they are the most responsible in this."

Who was Hrant Dink? And who murdered him?

He was a citizen of Turkey of Armenian heritage. He was from a new generation of Armenians who did not fear Turkey, who wanted to live on the land of their ancestors and exercise all their rights, and who wanted to see Turkey a land where human rights and freedoms flourished. He firmly believed in, or hoped for, Turkey's integration into Europe, its values and institutions.

Hrant did not merely talk about freedom of speech, he exercised it. In 1996, he and a group of enthusiasts were instrumental in the creation of Agos, a bilingual weekly in Armenian and Turkish. In only a few years the circulation of Agos increased to 6,000. But its influence carried further; it was the place where Turkish and Armenian intellectuals and journalists met and engaged in dialogue.


Soon, Hrant's exercise of freedom of speech forced him into a clash with Turkey's political system of "official truth". He was brought to trial twice under the infamous Article 301 of Turkish civil code for having "insulted Turkishness". By the time of his assassination a third court case against him for having qualified the repression of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915-18 by its name: genocide.

A great sympathy and solidarity was expressed in Turkey in the wake of Hrant's death. Many who demonstrated chanted: "We are all Hrant Dink!" or "We are all Armenians!" - slogans reprinted on placards and banners displayed at the writer's funeral. But others saw in this assassination "dark hands" that plot against Turkish national interests.
Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had this to say: "It is very meaningful that the murderers have chosen Dink as their victim this time. We find it very meaningful that this murder has been committed at a time when Armenian claims of genocide were brought to the spotlight especially in some countries." Others have gone further to make the fantastical suggestion that the criminal was ... of Armenian origin. In the mind of some Turkish officials, the victim and the perpetrator have exchanged places.

A distorting mirror


Turkey has a difficulty with its past. For the last nine decades officials in Turkey have faced questions on the fate of its former Armenian community by negating the historical facts. When confronted with the question of genocide, the official Turkish response is threefold:

* there was no intention to destroy the entire Armenian nation, only to transfer civilians from war-zones to more "secure" regions (the Syrian desert ...)

* the numbers of the victims are exaggerated - that it is not 1.5 million Armenians who died, but just a few hundred thousands (official Turkish sources often suggest as few as 300,000)

* the Armenians deserved it since they collaborated with the enemies of the Ottoman empire.

As Turkey came under increasing foreign pressure and internal questioning about its past, its negation has become increasingly deformed. In the city of Van (once a thriving centre of Armenian culture, and which had a large Armenian population until the genocide), the city museum has a section on genocide. But the bones displayed there - so the official captions explain - are of Turkish victims who were slaughtered by Armenians.


In 1997, the Turkish government erected a huge genocide monument in the town of Igdir, on the border with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran, to commemorate the Turkish victims who, according to the Turkish official narration, were killed by Armenians. The monument is depicted by a sword, directed towards Armenia, under the shadow of Ararat. Again, victim and perpetrator are mistaken, and have exchanged places. After such state-sponsored distortion, how would many young men feel if they are told the truth by a dissident journalist?

A blockade of the mind

This official policy concerns more than Turkey's Armenian minority, which is estimated to number between 60,000-70,000. Turkey has equally difficult relations with its eastern neighbour, Armenia itself. For the last fourteen years, Turkey has refused to open its borders with Armenia, until a solution is found to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

It has also refused to have diplomatic exchanges with Yerevan. The result is that Armenia, a poor and landlocked country, pays a heavy price: experts gathered in Yerevan to discuss Turkish-Armenian relations have estimated this blockade to cost Armenia the equivalent of 10-15% of its GDP. Even more important for Armenians, is that this policy is a constant reminder of a threat: that the past is not over, that relations with Turkey are not normalised.

The killing of Hrant Dink will not silence the questions he posed, nor put an end to the ongoing debate within Turkish society itself. Turkish officials have themselves chosen to seek to join the European Union, and as a consequence they have to face difficult questions, asked both by outsiders and by voices from within Turkish society:

* can freedom of speech coexist with the official negation and distortion of Turkey's past?

* what is the shortest way to reconciliation?

Hrant Dink was the bridge linking Turkey with Armenia, and the Turkish-Armenian community with Armenians and others abroad. This bridge is now broken. But the presence of Armenian dignitaries at Dink's funeral suggests that it can be rebuilt. The way forward remains clear.


Hrant Dink has worked since 1996 as a columnist and editor-in-chief of the Armenian-language weekly newspaper Agos in Istanbul. The paper aims to provide a voice for the Armenian community in Turkey and to further dialogue between Turkey and Armenia

On 19 January 2007, Hrant Dink was assassinated outside Agos's offices in Istanbul

openDemocracy published three articles by Hrant Dink:

"The water finds its crack: an Armenian in Turkey"
(13 December 2005)

"Orhan Pamuk's epic journey"
(16 October 2006)

"My life as a pigeon"
(22 January 2006)

-----------------------

Vicken Cheterian is a journalist and political analyst who works for the non-profit governance organisation CIMERA, based in Geneva

Also by Vicken Cheterian in openDemocracy:

"Arab media", in "Different truths: Iraq and the world's media" (16 April 2003)


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 PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Turkish Nationalists New Death threats in Turkey
 
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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
This article by Prof. Taner Akcam
is published in Hye Tert http://www.hyetert.com/anasayfa.asp in Turkish, and has been translated to English by a friend.

**************************


Rebel Against My Turkishness

I am a Turk. Hrant was an Armenian.
I am a writer at Agos.
Hrant was Agos.

Hrant had one ambition only which was to end the hatred, malice and grudge between the Armenians and the Turks and both nations to live
together in peace, respect and harmony.


Hrant and Agos were like the blossoming flower on the Turkish prairie.
They picked that flower and threw it out. Who was shot was not only Hrant,
it was at the same time Turkey's reputation. That is so true. But we have
to ask ourselves that the attack has an agenda geared towards our domestic politics. The goal is to install feelings of guilt in our collective unconscious.

The real victim was not Hrant Dink, it was us, as usual:
Our peace, our stability, our happiness, our unity, our integrity, our
conscience that has long forgotten disturbance and shame. So they trained
the 17 year old well not to miss the target but who killed this target were
the ones behind this intention.

Hrant was not killed with one bullet, but was targeted and killed slowly
day by day. On January 5, he said:

"Taner, I am very scared. Their intent is planned well to Agos and myself. They called me over to the Istanbul Governor's Office to threaten me. They told me that they will make me pay for what I have done. All threats to Agos and me started after this incident. 2007 will be a very bad year. They will come onto us. We have been pointed at. We have become easy targets. They left us in the middle to be hunted down as if the hunting season has started. With their politics, press and lawmakers they created this atmosphere and condemned us with it."

Hrant was not killed only by the 17 year old, but was killed by the ones
who condemned him as the enemy to the Turks. He was killed by those who made him suffer because of Article 301 in front of the courthouse doors, who did not have the courage to change Article 301, he was killed by the ones who called him to the Governor's Office to threaten him instead of protecting him.

Let's not cry but lower our heads. Look at our own hands. How are we to
clean the blood off of those hands. You, the publishers, writers, who are
in shock after Hrant's death, open your old newspaper articles, check out
what you had written about Hrant, what you had said about Hrant, there you
will see the killer, you will see the killer in the court orders relating
to Article 301. Decide what you will do to the Governor's deputy who
called Hrant and threatened him.

Hrant was targeted as the Armenian who insulted Turkishness and was slain. Hrant was shot because he said Turkey had to face its history. The hands who shot him were the same hands who shot Hrants in 1915, who cut the Armenians' throats in the desert, their message is "Yes, we did it in 1915 we'll do it again in 2007." The ones who shot Hrant think they shot him in the name of the Turks. The same way the ones who shot Hrants in 1915.

They think killing is being Turkish. Being Turkish is to see others as
enemies and kill them. Instead, those are the ones who are their own
enemies. They are the ones who are ruining Turkey's reputation.

This is why we are acting now. We want to recover the Turkish name and
take it away from the killers by the slogans of "we are all Hrants" "we are
all Armenian" We are the voice of the Turks, the Kurdish, the Alevi, the
pure, and the Muslim. We are the voice of Turkey screaming for justice.

Being Turkish or Armenian should be a respected and not dirtied by the
hands of killers. We will be proud of being Turkish when we call those
killers, killers. Today we are trying to do this. We know that we are
good when we say we are all Armenians. We know we will be proud when we call the killers, murderer. We are sending an important message to the world today by saying we are all Hrants, we are all Armenians. The killer and killers have no involvement with being Turkish and Turkey. The real Turks are the ones who are calling the killers, murderers and shouting the slogan "We are all Armenian." Who are united as one and distant from the killers of Hrant. This is the message to 1915.

We will not accept Hrant's killers as real Turks and we feel the same for
the killers of 1915. The ones who worship his killers are the same ones
who worship the killers of 1915, namely, Talat, Bahaettin Sakir or Dr.
Nazim.

We the Turks, by shouting "We are all Hrants and we are all Armenians,"
telling the whole world that we will not abandon Turkey and the Turkish
people in the hands of killers, and will not let the Turkish reputation be
insulted by murder and hatred towards the Armenians.

We should be able to say the catastrophe of 1915 remains to be a crime
committed in our name, it remains to be a crime against humanity and human pllurality committed in the name of Turkishness.?

As we accept Hrant's murder a shame, we should accept the murders of 1915 the same, as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. We are condemning this Murder as many others have, and there were Turks, Kurds, Alevis and Muslims condemning the Murders of 1915. As well as condemning the murders of 1915 of Bogazliyan Mayor Kemal, or the religious leader Abdullahzade Mehmet Efendi, or Talat Pasha, Enver to Bahaettin Sakir, Dr. Nazim, Diyarbakir Mayor Resit, and will not accept them as Turks.

Keep in mind, in 1915, there were Ankara Governor Mazhar, Halep Governor Celal, Kastamonu Governor Resit, Yozgat Governor Deputy Cemal, Kutahya Mayor Ali Faik, Der-Zor Mayor Ali Fuat as well as the soldiers, commanders, 3rd Infantry Commander Vehip Pasha, Trabzon Garnizon Commander Avni Pasha, Miralay Vasfi, Yozgat Commander Salim. Today, Trabzon has one murderer Ogun Samast. But in 1915 Trabzon had murderers such as Governor Cemal Azmi, Ittihatci Nail from Yenibahce as well as Turks against those such as Chief of Police Nuri, businessman Ahmet Ali Bey, Customs Officer Nesim Bey and Trabzon senator Hafiz Mehmet Emin Bey who said he saw Armenians being loaded into boats and slaughtered and drowned but he couldn't do anything
about it.

Today, Turkey and the Turks have to make a decision and a distinction
between the two kinds of Turks that exist and existed in the past.

Today, the world is watching us with respect and the wall of distinction
between the real Turks and the barbaric generation of the past and future.

We are building the wall between the Turks and the killers and we are able to name the murderers. We have to show this acceptance and courage for 1915 too not only for today's incidents. Hrant wanted this from us. He used to say "I love the Turks and Turkey, I feel lucky to live with the Turks." We need to build the wall between the killers and the Turks. This is how we should face our history.

We are calling Hrant's killer, the murderer, not the Turk and as such we are facing our history. We will only face the world with pride if we build the same wall between the Turks and the killers of 1915 and condemn those murderers.

My scream is the scream of Turkey itself. It is the scream of a Turk wholost Hrant, his soul brother, his Armenian friend, his brother. Let us take our nation back from the murderers and shout all together "We are all Hrants, we are all Armenians."

This scream is the only answer to the ones who want to create the hatred between Turks and Armenians.

Written by: Taner Akcam, History Professor at University of Minnesota,
Radikal Newspaper January 24, 2007

Translated by SF


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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
- Gazetem.net





Ahmet Altan: Nothing much has changed it seems.

They were murdered in 1915 as well...
They are being murdered in 2007 too...
What was being said about that massacre at the beginning of last
century.

"They killed us, and we killed them back."
What are we going to say about the murder of Hrant then?
That "Hrant killed us, and we killed Hrant back?"
Now that is not what we say, is it?
We say "traitors killed Hrant."
We do not see the murderers of Hrant as one of "us."

Why is it that "we" are the ones who ninety years ago killed hundreds of thousands of people, without forsaking children, women, elderly and babies, who decimated the Armenians, but we are not the ones who killed Hrant?

What is the difference between the two?

The difference is that this time we saw the murder, that we have an idea about the intentions of the murderer.

This time they did not "tell us" how the murder was committed, we personally witnessed it ourselves.

If those who in this country "write" the history of 1915 had also written the murder of Hrant, the children in this country would have said fifty years later that "Hrant had killed us, and we killed Hrant back."

The truth would have changed shape in the hands of the liars.

We did not kill Hrant.

Most probably some people who have ferreted their way into the state had Hrant killed.

Their intention was for the world to react negatively to Turkey, which would have escalated nationalism within the country in
response, leading to a break off from Europe.

In 1915 as well, "we" did not kill the Armenians.

Those poor people were not killed by "the ones ferreted inside the
state," but directly by the state itself.

A great massacre that was organized by the Unionists in government was actualized.

The Armenians who were killed were Ottoman subjects.

They were a part of the Ottoman nation.

A part of the nation was utterly destroyed by the state.

"We" are the nation.

The ones who were killed were a part of "us."

Since each Turk who lives in this country see themselves not as a
"part of the nation" but rather a "part of the state," however, they also own this massacre executed by the state.

"They killed us, we killed them," they say.

Now that is a lie.

The Ottoman state, under the government of the Unionists killed, in an organized manner, with the planning of the intelligence unit
entitled Special Organization (TeÅ~_kilat-ı Mahsusa), a "part
of us."

The murdered Armenians are a part of "us."

It is actually our duty to ask them to account for that murdered part of us.

"We" ought to face this state and ask them "are you a
continuation of the Ottoman state," ask them "why do you own
up to the murder committed by a state you destroyed," ask them
"why don't you yourself seek accountability for this destruction by the state of a part of its nation and instead leave this task to others."

Because "we" did not ask this, one of "us," Hrant Dink, has now been murdered.

On top of it all, he, while still mourning for his ancestors, wanted
Turkey not to be trapped solely within the term "genocide,"
not to have the entire debate forced into a single word; he wanted Turkey to be permiited to become democratized through uniting with the world .

He was declared "an enemy of the Turks."

Hrant was no one's enemy, he was not someone who could have been a foe.

He was a friend.

And he was a friend to everyone.

Why is it that in this country those who are "for murders and
massacres" are accepted as a Turk while "those for friendship, peace, justice and humanity" are regarded as foe.

Why is it that those who strive to equate the word "Turk" with "death" are regarded as a "Turk"?

Are those who try to have an entire tribe declared as "murderers" truly the friends of the Turks?

The Turkish populace owns up to the crimes of the old and new "state" because it cannot grasp that it is the "nation."

As it cannot grasp that it itself is the nation, it identifies itself with the murderers instead and says "us."

My heart could never bear to have the sorrowful deaths of those
hundreds of thousands of people, the bloody tragedy that was
experienced to be lost within the vortex created by the term
"genocide."

Yet because we have not been able to move beyond that word, people like Hrant are still being killed.

I think that now, in order to prevent new murders, iin order to stop this country from being dragged to a dead end, it is up to us to move beyond that word.

The Ottoman state killed hundreds of thousands of people solely
because they were "Armenians."

And today a hidden force kills Hrant for "being an Armenian."

What are we going to call it if a person is being killed solely because of their race or their religion?

It is up to "us," to this nation to ask for an accounting of those who were killed.

Hrant's death hurt you all deeply.

If you had witnessed what had happened in 1915, you would have been likewise deeply hurt.

And you would not have said "they killed us, we kiled them."

You would have been ashamed.

Just as you wanted Hrant's murderers to be found, you would have wanted the murderers of those Armenians found as well.

With his death, Hrant made us remember that we are a nation, that we should not identify ourselves with the murderers.

Then let us do what befits being a nation.

Who killed Hrant?

Who killed the Armenians in 1915?

They do not have to account for their actions to "others," they have to account to "us."

For we are the ones who have died.

The ones who died are a part of us.
 
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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
Office of Joost Lagendijk
Member of the European Parliament



Open letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan and opposition leader Deniz Baykal


Brussels, February 1 2007

Dear Mr Erdoðan and Mr Baykal,

Tomorrow it will be two weeks since Hrant Dink was killed. Last week at his funeral more than 100,000 people made it clear they want to live in a country where writers and journalists do not have to fear for their lives if they express controversial opinions or touch on sensitive issues. Now the time has come for you to act.

After being present at the funeral I stayed for a couple of days in Istanbul: talking to people, trying to understand what the mood in the country was. Some were pessimistic, believing that there was little reason to hope for change, as similar tragedies have occurred in the past. Others were optimistic and hoped that the developments in Turkey over the last couple of years would make it possible this time to make a break with the past.

All of them made a link, in one way or another, between the murder of Hrant Dink and the climate of rising intolerance and aggressive nationalism that has been growing in Turkey over the past two years. Article 301 of the new Penal Code is a symbol, which represents this climate.

In your reaction to the many calls from the Turkish media to abolish or fundamentally change article 301 you have both used similar arguments. It is true that the Penal Codes of various EU member states contain articles penalising the denigration or insult of the state organs and the administration. The German and Austrian texts are among the most explicit. Insult of or contempt for the State is punishable by imprisonment of up to three years. In my own country, the Netherlands, insulting the authorities or a public body or institution can lead to imprisonment. So why is article 301 different?

There are two points. First there is the word 'Turkishness' (Türklüðü) in the first paragraph of article 301. This is an expression which you will not find in any European Penal Code: denigrating 'Germanness' or 'Austrianness' is not forbidden. In these countries, the issue at stake is insult of the state. It is the word Turkishness that led to the proliferation of prosecutions against journalists and writers in Turkey. It was for insulting Turkishness that Hrant Dink was convicted. The word is vague, open to various interpretations and lacks legal certainty for the Turkish citizens: what can they say, what not?

The second point concerns the reasoning behind the article. In the Netherlands and in other European states, the reason is pragmatic: it serves the orderly functioning of the public service. Due respect for the administration is important in a democratic society. It serves the general interest. Convictions on the basis of these articles in member states of the European Union concern insults of police officers on duty, threats against civil servants or against members of the government. The added value of these articles for society seems obvious, and they are consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights article on freedom of expression.

None of the high profile cases against writers and journalists brought before Turkish courts under article 301 correspond to this type of reasoning. The articles written and opinions expressed did not constitute a threat to the general interest. Prosecution of the authors was therefore not necessary in a democratic society.

You have always said: let us wait and see how the article is interpreted, let us see what the judges make of it. We cannot wait any longer. Hrant Dink was convicted for insulting Turkishness and his appeal was rejected. This conviction made him a target for his murderer. How much more proof do you need? Article 301 in its present form and with the present interpretation by the judiciary, leads to life threatening situations.

Assuming that is was not the intention of the Turkish government or the Turkish parliament to create such situations, there is only one solution. Apparently the legislators have not been clear enough. Therefore, the article needs to be withdrawn. If it is deemed that protection of the state against insult is necessary for the functioning of the Turkish democracy, an article should be adopted that no one can misinterpret or exploit for criminal purposes.

I sincerely hope both of you have the courage to confront those people in Turkey that want to break with the reforms that have brought your country closer to Europe. With so many more challenges ahead, Turkey needs political leaders that take the country forward not backward; leaders that realise that Turkey’s long term interests are not served by giving in to extreme and violent nationalism; leaders that are willing to lead the country in the direction of more democracy, tolerance and respect for divergent views.

Yours sincerely,
Joost Lagendijk MEP


 
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 PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:

turkishdailynews.com
Friday, February 2, 2007
Ariana Ferentinou
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

Chief of Greek newspaper in Istanbul: Turkey's mentality must change


Mihail Vasiliadis is the editor in chief of Apoyevmatini, one of two Greek newspapers in Turkey. It has been published since 1925 and is one of the oldest newspapers in Istanbul. It used to be published in a six or eight page format, but these days it features four pages. Vasiliadis is the editor in chief of the paper and serves as tha majority of its staff. The daily's circulation is 550 and can be found in almost every Greek household in Istanbul.


The Turkish Daily News spoke with Vasiliadis about the murder of Hrant Dink and its consequences for minorities in Turkey. As long as Turkey does not change its mentality, its attitude toward minorities will not change, Vasiliadis said. He said Turkey's efforts to join the European Union are giving everyone hope, but there are serious obstacles in the way. He says the “dove” mentality stated by Dink in his last article is shared by almost all minorities in Turkey. Still, he is optimistic for the future.

A: Do you think the huge reaction shown by the public at Dink's funeral will push the state to be more moderate toward minorities or is the problem a deeper part of the Turkish mentality?


V: I don't think that magnificent farewell for Dink will force the government to do things it has no intention of doing. However, if there are things the government wants to change, it may provide them with an excuse. Unfortunately, the government's attitude towards minorities is dominated by political fears and public attitudes. In other words, the first thing to do should be for the state to initiate a broad public awareness campaign on the way minorities are perceived. The way the public can be maneuvered into a new attitude is obvious for all those who have initiated “psychological maneuvers” for years. The present state of affairs is their doing anyway. I believe the whole Turkish school curriculum should be reassessed and the job needs to start with primary schools and educators.

A: Do you think the European Union factor can change the way Turkey views minorities or do outside forces have nothing to do with it?

V: If Turkey is truly sincere in its desire to become a member of the EU, it should not only change its attitude towards minorities, but its mentality as a whole. As this unavoidable fact comes to light, the number of EU supporters decreases. Some thought the EU would accept Turkey as it was. Nowadays, the pressure for change emanating from the EU is seen as arrogance and some no longer support membership. There are also the economic factors that need to be considered.

Turkey is defenseless towards the economic backlash that will result from severing links with the EU. These are issues that should be assessed in detail. In conclusion, we can either think and behave like Europeans and become a part of EU or live with the phobia of “Turks have no friend but Turks.”

A: Why do you think Dink was murdered?


V: Dink was murdered as a result of twisted conditioning. The murder was the result of a twisted conditioning of the public. Hrant's blood is on the hands of those who were involved in this conditioning.

A: You are also a journalist at the helm of a minority paper. Did you face problems similar to Dink's during your career? Did you receive threats? Did you ever feel like a target? Or did you feel like an equal citizen of this country?

V: The “dove” mentality Dink talked about is shared by all of us. Journalists who are determined to defend minority rights, or more appropriately human rights, feel this everywhere. Personally, I was charged with worse penal code articles than 301 in 1975. The charge was “harming the national unity with Greek propaganda.” The trial lasted 10 years. I was found not guilty three times; two of those verdicts were later annulled. Those who know what I'm talking about know how exhausting this is. I was also threatened and felt like a target. It is only now that I get to meet people who accept me as an equal citizen and even work and endanger their lives to prove that. I am very happy for this.

A: Are you optimistic for the future of this country and the protection of the rights of its citizens?

V: I am. Eventually, everyone will see how beneficial the EU membership process is. Some may not accept this, but even they will eventually recognize it as the lesser of two evils.
 
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