Hrant Dink, Armenian Dissident Journalist, Assasinated
This just came over the lines. Hrant Dink had been receiving death threats for some time, for having the gall to so much as mention the fact that Turks murdered countless Armenians in a genocide that the world ignored. He awaiting trial, in fact, for using the word "genocide," and had already been convicted of "insulting Turkishness," whatever that means.
January 19, 2007:
PEN Alarmed by Murder of Armenian-Turkish Journalist
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact: Larry Siems, (212) 334-1660, ext. 105,
firstname.lastname@example.org_ (mailto: email@example.com)
New York, NY, January 19, 2007—PEN, the international association of
writers, is appalled by the news of the murder today of Armenian-Turkish journalist
_Hrant Dink_ ( http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/963/prmID/174) , who
was shot dead outside his office in Istanbul.
Dink, one of the most prominent ethnic Armenians in Turkey, was
editor-in-chief of the Armenian-Turkish weekly newspaper Agos, a paper that seeks to
provide a voice to the Armenian community and create a dialogue between Turks
and Armenians. He was also a well-known commentator on Armenian affairs. In
July 2006, Dink was handed a six-month suspended sentence for insulting
Turkishness after writing an article which called for Armenians to "now turn their
attention to the new life offered by an independent Armenia." A week later,
the Istanbul Public Prosecutor opened a new case against Dink for referring to
the 1915 massacre of Armenians as a "genocide" during a July 14 interview
with Reuters. Dink was awaiting his next trial for these charges at the time of
"We are horrified," said Larry Siems, Director of Freedom to Write and
International Programs at PEN American Center. "Hrant Dink was one of the heroes
of the nonviolent movement for freedom of expression in Turkey—a movement in
which writers, editors, and publishers have practiced civil disobedience by
defying laws that censored or suppressed important truths in that country.
Theirs is one of the most significant human rights movements of our time.
Hrant Dink's countrymen can help cement some of the gains he helped win for them
by sending a strong, unified message that those responsible must be brought
to justice for his murder."
Just before his assassination, Dink had complained of death threats he was
receiving from nationalists. Early reports note that Dink was shot four times
by a young man who appeared to be 18 or 19 years old. Police in riot gear
surrounded Dink's office in downtown Istanbul. Forensic teams were combing the
pavement outside for clues to the murder.
During the past 24 months, PEN has followed over 60 cases of writers,
journalists, and publishers who were brought before courts or faced prosecution for
their writings. Around 15 of these are currently facing charges similar to
those levied against Hrant Dink. Some recent notable cases include that of
_Orhan Pamuk_ ( http://www.pen.org/page.php/prmID/1132) , the Nobel laureate
charged with insulting Turkishness for a comment published in a Swiss newspaper
in 2005 in which he was quoted as saying that "thirty thousand Kurds and a
million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk
about it," Turkish prosecutors later decided not to proceed with a court case
against him; five journalists who were accused of "interfering" with the
judiciary for their comments on attempts to ban a conference; and publisher
Abdullah Yilmaz, who faces trial for issuing a Turkish edition of Greek writer
Mara Meimaridi's novel The Witches of Smyrna. Scenes in that book describing
parts of the Turkish quarter of Izmir as dirty have triggered charges of "
denigrating Turkish national identity."
Jiri Grusa, International President of _International PEN_
( http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/) , the world association of writers, called the murder "a
symptom of old hatreds that threaten the relationship of all Turkish people
to the democratic values shared in Europe and the world." PEN calls upon the
Turkish government to do all in its power to apprehend Dink's killer.
© 2007, PEN American Center. All Rights Reserved.
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