By Araks Kasyan
During his entire life Hrant Dink, an Istanbul-Armenian intellectual, fought for one idea – to have a Turkey where everyone’s rights will be respected regardless of nationality and religious affiliation, a Turkey where Armenians will no longer be afraid to talk about who they are and where they come from, a Turkey that will understand itself the need to change, move on a democratic path, rather than under the pressure of the foreign parliaments and governments. Although 11 years has passed since Dink’s murder, his ideas and dreams remain more than relevant.
Dink, a son of a family that survived the Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire, was born on September 15, 1954 in the city of Malatya. In 1996 he founded the first Armenian bilingual (Armenian and Turkish) “Agos” newspaper of Istanbul aimed at presenting the issues relating to the Armenian community and national minorities in Turkey to the society under a new light. Dink believed that one of the reasons of tendentious attitude towards Armenians in the country was not knowing them well, and he said on this matter: “The Armenian society of Instanbul lives very closed. The prejudices will be broken in case of knowing us well”.
Dink was courageous. He was talking about issues over which everyone has long started to remain silent. During the last years of his life, Dink started to receive threats from extremist nationalists, as well as hidden threats from officials for his views and discoveries in Turkey. Many urged him to leave Turkey in order to save his life, however, he never listened to them and angered, stating: “This is my country”.
11 years ago on this day, January 19, the murder of Hrant Dink by Turkish conspirator outside “Agos” editorial office in Istanbul’s district of Sisli forced the crowd gathered outside the building to say: “We all are Hrant, we all are Armenians”.
Those who ordered his murder believed that they will get rid of the problems voiced by the Instanbul-Armenian intellectual. But the shots against Dink were unable to silence the voice of justice against which the Turkish authorities until today try to pretend as deceive.
Although the trial over Dink’s murder case has not yet given tangible results in terms of discovering and punishing the perpetrators of the murder, his friends confidently announce that they will be consistent on establishment of justice.