Today, on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the Institute would like to remember Hrant Dink: a journalist, Human Rights defender, and a dear friend of the Zoryan Institute.
In 2013, the United Nations adopted a resolution that marks November 2nd as “the International Day to End Impunity against Journalists.” This resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers and encourages governments to do their part in preventing violence against journalists, ensuring accountability and bringing justice against the perpetrators of the crimes. The resolution also calls for countries to create safe environments for journalists to perform their work without harassment.
In 2016, 54 journalists around the world were killed. In Turkey alone, a journalist is murdered on average every 1.5 years. Just last week, the Turkish government detained 12 journalists and closed at least 15 news agencies, newspapers and magazines – all associated with the country’s Kurdish minority.
Hrant Dink, was the founder, editor-in-chief of Agos, one of the first newspapers published in Istanbul in both Turkish and Armenian. The paper was founded with the purpose of sharing Armenian culture and history with Turkish society and to create a sense of solidarity with the Turkish-Armenian community.
On January 19, 2007, Hrant Dink was shot and killed outside of the Agos office for the principles he stood for and the injustices he stood up against. Just a few weeks before he was murdered, Dink famously stated: “I feel frightened as a dove but I know that in this country people do not touch and disturb the doves. The doves continue their lives in the middle of the cities. Yes indeed a bit frightened but at the same time free.” Unfortunately, not only was he killed but the justice is not served and the Turkish judiciary and political establishment remains responsible for perpetuating the cycle of impunity.