In memory of Hrant Dink (1954-2007)

In memory of Hrant Dink (1954-2007)

Hrant Dink: Graphic by Vahe Ashodian

Hrant Dink, the brave Turkish Armenian journalist who was shot dead on 19 January 2007 in front of his newspaper?s premises in Istanbul, will be buried on Tuesday, 23 January 2007.


As an obituary and a token of remembrance we have compiled a series of comments during the last two day by Armenian and international personalities on the heroic stance of Dink throughout his life and the challenges he faced as an Armenian living in Turkey.  


We are deeply shocked by the news of the assassination of Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, a man who lived his life in the belief that there can be understanding, dialogue and peace amongst peoples.
Press service of the Armenian Foreign Ministry 
Turkey, being exhausted by the European Union and pretending to secure freedom of speech solved the issue in a typical way. Hrant Dink was killed by those, who did not want to hear the truth.
Political Scientist Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan (quoted by the Pan Armenian Network) 


The first that comes to mind is my conversations with Hrant Dink. He used to say he is in danger. One should have big courage to speak in the Turkish public of topics Dink dared to speak. The wide-scale Armenian Genocide denial campaign launched by the Turkish authorities has created an atmosphere of anti-Armenian psychosis. Hrant Dink fell the first victim to this policy.
Ruben Safrastyan, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the RA Academy of Sciences (quoted by the Pan Armenian Network)


He wrote about it openly and bravely. His murder is another challenge to the forces of modernization in a country locked in a bitter internal debate about how it should deal with its past. Dink was very clear about had happened to his ancestors in 1915, in the fading years of the Ottoman Empire. He called it genocide, and said the word did not need to be accepted by other Turks for it to remain true in his mind? Hrant Dink's view was that Turkey needs to come to terms with its history, and accept that enormous wrongs were committed in the past? Silence has brought a degree of protection to Turkey's remaining Armenian communities. But Hrant Dink refused to be silent? Dink ended his last column by predicting that 2007 would be difficult, but that he would survive it. “For me, 2007 is likely to be a hard year,” he wrote. “The trials will continue, new ones will be started. Who knows what other injustices I will be up against.”
Chris Morris, BBC News 


Hrant Dink is the latest victim of the Armenian Genocide. The atmosphere of hatred, intolerance and deplorable stance of the Turkish establishment regarding human rights and freedom of speech paved the way to such a tragic end. Dink, as a tormented and true citizen of the world, fought fervently primarily for democracy in Turkey. It's not the first time that a friend is brutally silenced by an assassin. I hear Hrant Dink's message along others who paid the ultimate price. It's the message of peace, democracy and respect of human rights.
Dikran Abrahamian, Azg daily


From the moment I met Mr. Dink, I could tell that he was an incredibly courageous man who cared deeply about history and freedom of the press. His death is a great loss for all those who cherish free speech, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time. The silencing of such a prominent and outspoken voice is not only a personal tragedy; it is also a tragedy for those who believe in a free and unfettered press, and for those who are committed to a thoughtful examination of the past. Hrant Dink had the courage to confront the facts of the Armenian Genocide, and that courage may have cost him his life.
Adam Schiff, US Representative  


Dink was charming, soft-spoken and eloquent, even debonair. He was respected and beloved by many Turks who disagreed with his views but admired his courage in stating them. He was hated by just as many. The last that many Turks saw of Dink was the shocking image of his body, face down and covered with a white sheet, his dress shoes awkwardly splayed, lying in a small pool of blood on the middle of an Istanbul sidewalk.
Benjamin Harvey, Associated Press Writer 


In memory of Hrant DinkHrant Dink was a man of faith and vision. He was a committed journalist who had the courage to question all attempts depicting the Armenian Genocide, the first Genocide of the 20th century as a “fiction” or “alleged”. He had the courage to challenge the present Turkey to reconcile with its past by recognizing the Armenian Genocide, planned and executed by the Turkish-Ottoman Empire. Accepting the truth and respecting the human rights were prerequisite conditions for Hrant Dink, leading people and nations to reconciliation. In fact, one cannot kill the truth by physically killing the messenger of it. One cannot silence the voice of justice by neutralizing its advocate.
Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia


We learned of Hrant Dink's assassination yesterday with deep sorrow.  His untimely and tragic death has shocked us all.  We and all our people grieve the loss of yet another intellectual who has become an innocent victim.  In the strongest of terms, we condemn this clandestine assassination which took from our people a graceful and courageous son, who faithfully brought his service with his pen for the love of a just, free and peaceful life and better world.  We also expect that the authorities of Turkey will uncover and punish the individuals responsible for this crime to the fullest extent of the law.
Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians


In a country where the system of education and the political culture moulds the minds of the people with hatred towards the Non-Turkish citizens of the country and where racism is rampant with extreme-right organizations occupying a place of honor, this is a sad reminder that things are far from changing in today's Turkey? This deliberate act aims at maintaining the Armenian community in a climate of terror in order to show them that freedom of expression can have no place in Turkey, especially concerning the Armenian Genocide, and that the community should not overstep its limits.
Hilda Tchoboian, Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation


This attack was meant to damage our stability as well as free thought and democratic principles, and its timing is very interesting. I want to express my condolences to his family, the press and the Turkish people. I condemn the bloody hands behind this murder. We will do whatever possible to shed light on the incident. All units of the state are on alert. I postponed the Cabinet meeting and ordered all ministries to simply concentrate on this issue. Beginning with our Armenian-origin citizens, Turkish people will pass through this test successfully.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan


I feel great sorrow at the killing of Hrant Dink in front of daily Agos. I condemn this heinous attack. Such inhumane attacks will never reach their ultimate aim. All Turks expect the perpetrators to be found soon. I offer my condolences to Dink's family, members of the media, and our people.
Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer


He got threats; he was painted as an enemy of Turks because of the case against him. He didn't feel safe. Now what we feared has happened. This serves nobody. He didn't ask for personal bodyguards, although he submitted the very last threatening letter to the public prosecutor's office.
Fethiye Cetin, Hrant Dink's lawyer


Today, I place myself in Hrant Dink's shoes. I think like him. I share his opinions. He was a person whose sole aim was to bring Turks and Armenians closer. He was as Turkish as he was Armenian. He loved his roots and he loved his country. He never went to extremes. Murdering Dink means being an enemy of Turkey. I am sure some statements will be released. They will talk about a murder committed by an insane individual. No gentlemen. That's not true. We all know who is responsible for this murder: Those who hate Armenians, those who flood the streets at every opportunity to hunt Armenians and those who raid exhibitions on Armenians. Those who try to spread anti-Armenian propaganda. These people are the real culprits. Hrant Dink symbolized tolerance. Those who shot at him have no idea that they also shot at Turkey. Just wait and see how this will resonate outside. United States, France and other European countries will send proposals on the Armenians genocide and will just rush them through. Turkey will be blamed for everything. Newspapers will write about how Turkish people could not tolerate a liberal journalist of Armenian origin. Can there be any greater harm to our country? Shame on them. Hrant Dink will continue to live in our hearts.
Mehmet Ali Birand, Turkish Daily News


This was not just an attack on Hrant, it was at the same time an attack on Turkey and the prospects of peace between Turkey and Armenia. Whatever the motive behind the attack was and whoever the killer is, Turkey and Armenia have both lost a very important son today, who was trying to contribute to building the bridges of peace and understanding between his homeland Turkey and Armenia, the country that he has an ethnic affiliation with.
Yusuf Kanli, Turkish Daily News


I had visited Armenia's capital Yerevan in 2004 together with Hrant Dink together with members of the “Eastern Conference” initiative. Dink was a brave and consistent fighter for democracy. Turkey has lost a brave son in this dark assassination. He was not only a dear son of the Armenian people but also of all Anatolian peoples. 
Aydyn Cubukcu, Editor in chief of monthly Evrensel Kultur magazine


I can't express strongly enough how I condemn this abominable act, which deprives Turkey of one of its most courageous and free voices. Hrant Dink was a fighter for freedom and defender of human rights.
Jacques Chirac, President of France


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.
Robert Fisk, The Independent


Dink was in the forefront of a growing number of Turks who want their government to admit that leaders of the crumbling Ottoman Empire directed a mass slaughter of Armenians in 1915. These are the same Turks who want their country to break away from its authoritarian past and complete its march toward full democracy.
Stephen Kinzer, The New York Times 


He had a great heart, Hrant. He never concealed his emotions, even in the most heated debates. I remember cautioning him on this. But at the same time, those who know Hrant will tell you how much he loved to tell the truth, how he loved to be bold and how much he loved his native Turkey and his brothers in Armenia. Because he sought reconciliation through truth, he was hated by hardliners both sides. He was a target. I may have lost a friend, but we all know the process of tolerance, peace and understanding has lost one of its staunchest defenders. His dream was a Turkey at peace with its past, and a Turkey with free speech. May his great soul rest in peace. 
Yavuz Baydar, Today's Zaman


Facts about Hrant Dink (compiled by Reuters)
Dink, born in Malatya, southeast Turkey in 1954, was a member of Turkey's small ethnic Armenian community, and a Turkish citizen.


He was editor-in-chief of the bilingual Turkish and Armenian weekly Agos (


Dink had been convicted of insulting Turkishness — under the controversial article 301 of Turkey's penal code — and handed a six-month suspended sentence in 2005. The case was prompted by an article he wrote in which he referred to an Armenian nationalist idea of ethnic purity. The European Union has repeatedly called on Ankara to change the law and the government has promised to revise it.


Of his conviction, Dink told Reuters: “I may be paying the price for this, but Turkish democracy will gain from it, I hope.”


Armenians have long campaigned for recognition of the genocide of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War One, but Dink opposed the French parliament's passing of a law banning denial of the Armenian genocide. He said he would even be ready to go to prison in France in defence of free speech.


Graphics: Vahe Ashodian, The 1.500.001st victim Hrant Dink


Photo: Demonstrators hold pictures of slain journalist Hrant Dink during a protest in Istanbul, Turkey.

  1. Shocked by the horrible event. Local authorities must do whatever in their means to clarify the fact find the responsibles and let the world opinion realise how in the 21st  century a country postulating for entrance in the E.U. treats his citizens.

    After these events it's up to us Armenians and citizens of all nations of Armenian origin to do our best to perpetuate the memory of our martyr and prove that his sacrifice was for a just cause.

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