Open letter of protest regarding Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code

Open letter of protest regarding Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code

Articel 301 of the Turkish Penal Code

Read the emotional letter of Rakel Dink (wife of the assassinated Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink) to the Turkish Court in the ADDITIONAL READING section below.


We received the following message:  


Dear Friends,
Arat Dink, Serkis Seropyan, Karin Karakashli, Aydin Engin, all members of the staff of  “Agos” weekly in Istanbul, and Erdal Dogal, the Dink family lawyer, are charged with “denigrating Turkishness” under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. Some of them may face three years of jail time if convicted. The pretext is the publication of an old interview with the Reuters News Agency in which the late assassinated Hrant Dink had referred to the Genocide of the Armenians.
Renowned writers, scholars and journalists such as Orhan Pamuk, Elif Shafak, Taner Ak?am, Ragip Zarakolu and others were charged with similar criminal offences over the last while. Some of them have chosen self-exile and are now living in Europe, the United States and elsewhere for fear of their own lives and avoiding the destiny that the late Hrant Dink faced.
Please visit to voice your opinion by endorsing an open letter of protest. This letter will be delivered to International PEN at  Whether the letter will have any impact on the outcome of the trials is unknown, however, it will be yet another document in the annals of Human Rights abuses in Turkey. As such it could help bring attention to the plight of Turkish Scholars, Human Rights activist, writers, journalists and people at large to end a Draconian rule that prevents Turkey to explore its own past history without fear of persecution. Furthermore, it may highlight the timeliness of the application that Taner Ak?am filed before the European Court of Human Rights on the 20th of June 2007. 
Dikran Abrahamian BA MD


The text of the Open Letter of Protest (available also on the open letter link)


“We, the undersigned, strongly protest against the disdainful use of article 301 of the Penal Code. Its application has proven to be an abhorrent violation of the exercise of  freedom of expression and thought. Internationally it has brought nothing but scorn, and locally it has fomented an atmosphere of  hatred and xenophobia. It is a painful reminder of the disingenuous call of the Turkish authorities to have a mixed commission of historians to study the past.


In solidarity with scholars, artists, journalists, human rights activists who seek freedom of expression and thought, we call upon the Turkish authorities to scrap the Draconian article once and for all.”



If you would like to contact the author of this letter, please click here.


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Address of Rakel Dink (wife of the assassinated journalist Hrant Dink) to the Turkish Court


Your Honour the President of the Court and the Honorable Judges,


My story beging with the Armenian Varto tribe which is one of the 1915 left overs. I was born in 1959 into the Armenian Varto tribe which was in Mardin borders; in Sirnak district now. Today the town is called Yolagzi. The name Varto omes from my grand grandfather's name, Vartan. The remaining of the tribe migrated to ?stanbul in 1978. Until migration, their life in the village, and then in the city was spent by struggling at the courts against the fraud deeds that the landlords of the neighbouing villages manufactured. These neighbor villages were built on our lands. They were beaten, wounded and miraculously survived murder attempts. My father lived an honorable life without denying his roots and religion. He passed away in Brussels three years ago, with his mind and soul worried about his land, of which the trials stil continue. His children promised him that they would continue the struggle. He never acted cowardly, was never lazy, never laid an evil eye on other's work and never imposed us with animosity.


I met with my beloved husband, whom I used to call Cutag, Hrant Dink in a boarding school; we grew up together; we got married. They stripped up our boarding school from us. With the help of Jesus Christ we overcame all the obstacles, hardships. We were worried at the problems of our country together. And now, I cry with a deep sadness.


Until today we were treated humiliated, insulted for being Armenians; we heard people use Armenian as a curse. We heard it and we stil hear it from the newspapers, TVs, birth registration offices; from public servants to the highest authorities. Sometimes we were treated as if we were not citizens of this country, but migrants from somewhere else. We still witness all these and this structuring and this undestanding; this darkness continues to create murderer from babies.


Verse 21:3 says “God wishes rightfullness and justice rather than sacrifies. Today, we see the babies who became murderers here; where is the darkness that created them?


The darkness I point to is not anyone unknown. You can find pieces of this darkness in Governorship, in Gendarmarie, in Armed Forces, in National Intelligence Agency, in Police, in Government, in Opposition Part, in parties that do not have a seat in the parliament, an deven in the media and the non-governmental organizations. Their names, their positions are known.


They continuously create murderers from babies and they do it to serve Turkey. We have seen them in front of AGOS right after the Sabiha Gokcen article and in front of the court houses where my husband was being tried. But for some reason, justice and judiciary cannot reach to them, do not want to reach to them.


Because, they know that if they dig further they will see that this darkness exists in them also.


Therefore, if you are not from this darkness and do not approve it, do not agree with them be courageous enough to go deeper and pull down all the barriers that was put on this case. Be the instrument of the God's justice; so that Turkey can be happy and this becomes the starting point of bright days for Turkey.


Your Honor, my husband was tried for he wrote, for he thought and spoke. As an innocent man, due to this understanding of the state he was found guilty. I believe that the expressions of the state bears separatism, insult, degradation; it encourages and multiplies the baby murderers. In short, the source of this spring is the perception and discourse. I am compliant against this discourse and the to the ones who speak it out.


I, as a member of the people who live on these soil since Noah, want to feel and see my children and myself as Armenian Turkish citizens, as equal citizens.


Our proverb says “One who denies his origin is a sinner”. What would you expect from the one who denies or hides his origin? How can you establish a strong building, a good character over a faulty base? I ask you, can you trust him? Does it mean that we are enemies for not denying our origin?


My beloved husband worked hard, never lied, never acted unjustly, never said a word against his country either here or abroad. He was a defender of truth and he lived as a true son and a true citizen. In return, he received the traitors bullet. Whatever the justice you will see fit, it will not bring my husband back. None of the rulings will be as equal as my loss of my husband. If the justice is the foundation of the land, then I am in search of this justice. I want Turkey to build upon this base. I want to see it not in words, I want to see it in daily life, in discourse. Therefore, I demand that all the responsible ones and the authorities declare: “we could not, we did not want to protect your husband, our citizen. We knowingly committed a crime, we apologize”.


I demand from honorable court which is the representative of the state that all the criminals receive the pusihment they deserve. I feel no hatred to any of them; on the contrary I find all of them miserable and I feel pity for them. I pray mercy for them with the love and justice of Jesus Christ, one who knows all, sees all. I wish that with the help of the Holy Spirit, they can feel that they need this mercy. And I request that you act and decide in line with your responsibility.



With my due respect,
Rakel Dink