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Turkey is Typing…the Death of Hrant Dink

While normally this column focuses on what only Turkish bloggers are saying, sometimes events happen that warrant the voices of not only Turkish points-of-views but others as well. The Death of Hrant Dink is one of those moments.

As a bit of background- Hrant Dink was a Turkish-Armenian journalist and editor of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos. Convicted in 2005 of “insulting Turkishness”, Dink has been seen as the champion of the Armenian cause in Turkey. He was gunned down in Istanbul, in broad daylight on January 19th. According to news reports, a suspect in the shooting have been detained, but speculation on who is really to blame for this political assassination continues.

“We are all Armenians, We are all Hrant Dink.”

To much surprise (which I will show in a few more paragraphs) citizens of Turkey took to the streets chanting “We are all Armenians, We are all Hrant Dink”. Erkan's Field Diary reports of widespread Turkish condemnation of the murder and also points out that Dink is the 62nd Turkish journalist that has been assassinated since the founding of the Republic of Turkey. Metroblogging Istanbul has photos of the protests.

The Infidel writes:

Hrant Dink was murdered in a heinous and cowardly way, most likely, by some brainless and lost ultra-nationalist Turkish young man, who I hope will be brought to justice as soon as possible. I am deeply saddened by Hrant's death because I believe that he had good intentions for Turkey and the Turkish people. Although I don't agree with everything he said and wrote, it is clear that he was a peaceful activist voicing his norm-opposing views to raise awareness, which is the bread and butter of any democracy. No human being should be persecuted for his/her opinions in any country, but especially in Turkey.

James in Turkey expresses surprise and anger over the shooting:

I am angry. I am angry because there are people out there who seem to think it is perfectly justified to kill a man who speaks contrary views. I have a perfectly clear idea of who I think is responsible, but there is little use in churning out conspiracy theories now. Suffice to point out that it was in a crowded street, on a busy morning. This was no impulsive killing.

Spooky Sense by Garfucious writes a letter to Dink stating: “sorry, hrant dink. not only have they killed you, they've also choked your voice.”

Talk Turkey urges Turkey to use this assassination as a beginning point for real discussion to take place about the Armenian Genocide to better Turkey's chances of getting in the EU:

I am sick and tired of the ‘business as usual’ attitude shown by Turks and the Turkish government up to now and extending even beyond this latest assassination to silence the voices of reason. Wake up Turks in Turkey and abroad! And prepare to not only ‘debate’ this issue (but act on it as well,) of Turkey's greatest taboo, unilaterally if need be. But settle this once and for all.

Most Turkish blogs choose to show they shock and remorse by placing simple messages of solidarity and obituaries on their sites, such as Mavi Boncuk, the White Path, and Amerikan Turk.

Who Does This Belong To?

The death of Hrant Dink is not just a Turkish issue, but one of concern to many. Michael Levy writing for the Brittanica.com blog sprouts an excellent comment discussion between Turkish and Armenian bloggers with his post:

Though it’s probably asking too much, hopefully Dink’s death will cause a reexamination of the Turkish constitution’s Article 301, which makes it illegal to “denigrate Turkishness,” and the treatment of individuals who hold views that run counter to those of the majority of Turks, and lead to a real debate whereby people who hold such contrarian views–not only in Turkey but elsewhere–can make their claims without fear of prison time or death threats.

Robert Fisk from the Independent called Dink the 1,500,001st victim of the Armenian genocide. iArarat, an Armenian blog, described the situation thus:

The murder of Hrant Dink has shocked many. It did not come however as a surprise to many of us who have been closely following political and social developments in Turkey. To many of us the hand that pulled the trigger ending Hrant’s precious life is the same hand that signed the orders to put Armenians of the Ottoman Empire to death en masse. It is a metaphysical continuity, a logical outcome of an ideology that resists tolerance and bona fide towards the other, the outsider, the gavur, the Armenian. And never mind the that the murdered is an Armenian, the political opportunists in Turkey and their hired pens in the Turkish media were quick to capitalize on the tragedy of Hrant’s murder and proclaim that the murder was aimed at the identity of the Turks, their international image and prestige.

The Blogian writes about how Turkey is solely to blame for the assassination while Blogrel (another pro-Armenian blog) only speculates:

It would be interesting to find out if this teen acted alone or had ties to a group. I doubt we will ever know the authentic truth.

It’s been a very difficult news event for me to follow and reflect upon. From what I can gather, this man was very much loved and respected by not only community ethnic Armenians but by the activist/progressive Turkish community.

Blogrel further speculates:

Whilst this is a tragedy, and a great, great loss. I wonder if there are some people who may seek to use this event as both publicity for the Armenian Genocide ( lets face it, it has been on major news screens today) , and also a chance to insult Turkey. I worry that statements like that of Tigran Torosyan do nothing but agitate an already tense situation. It is naieve to consider that the assassination of Hrant Dink should make Turkey not “even dream” of European Union entry. It is also a bad reflection on the Armenian official position – and I am waiting to hear a comment that suggests this is some kind of Armenian perpertration. It is really time for our Armenian politicians to think carefully about the way they react to this murder.

The best source for information on vigils and reactions to the death of Hrant Dink in Armenia is provided by OneWorld Multimedia. The most hopeful post about the shooting and what it's future implications could be comes from Neweurasia “Hrant Dink- Bringing Armenians and Turks together?” It is an excellent question, one which I hope will be answered sooner rather than later.

40 comments

  • We must not be afraid of our fears. Article 301 must be abolished.

    As for ‘nationalism,’ I’ve already alluded to this on my blog by claiming that, “the overt acknowledgment of the diversity of Turks should not mean an insult to the purity of the Turkish intent.”

    I’ve already commented on this above, “a rise in ‘nationalism’ should not result in a racial divide. Instead, if it involves the inclusion of ease of restrictions and the removal of ethnic borders when it comes to critical thinking, it may be a unifying factor.”

    Finally, lest we think the partitioning of Turkey is what must be achieved for all the minorities to live as the majority in their own respective regions, we must “expose the pretenders of justice for all, at the expense of a breakup of the whole, for whom they really are.”

  • murat, what’s with the wacky rant on america all of the sudden? out of left field if you ask me…

    but maybe you have a point, we americans have been dealing with very dark moments in our history for a long time, black slavery for example…maybe turkey can take some positive examples from america…for example, we have a national holiday for a very famous civil rights leader martin luther king, jr (who was black)…and who fought successfully for the rights of blacks in the usa, we also dedicate one month to raising awarenesss about black minorities and their contribution to american society (not always voluntary contribution it must be added if you consider slavery) — it’s in february and called black history month…

    as far as muslims and america goes, did you know that one of our most famous presidents (jefferson) back in the 18th century had a personal copy of the koran (translated into english)? this fact may have influenced the separation of church and state doctrine in usa — in the sense that since most early americans were christians, there already was an awareness, by more enlightened americans, that other religions might be oppressed if the majority religion (christianity) was too closely connected with the government so they made a serious point by adding it to the first amendment of the constiution..

    anyway, your rant seemed to be a distraction, but in the end, turkey might take some positive lessons…if you choose to, it all depends on your perspective and what you want…hey, maybe and armenian history month?

  • Bea

    I think this is just the dialogue that must be supported and elicited routinely and throughout the country for Turkey to emerge a global winner.

    Metin says it clearly “the overt acknowledgment of the diversity of Turks …” Turks have lived in harmony with diverse peoples for hundreds of years and still do. Yes, of course, we see malicious attacks and acts that make people doubt this statement, but which country is free of such acts in today’s scenario?

    Prosecution under Article 301 has been seen and publicized more in 2006 than any time I remember, but what has it done? It has resulted in Turkey being humiliated and gutted repeatedly. I, for one, want to see the positive that can result from these demonstrations for Dink and expressions of opinion on all matters. On my blog you can read more: http://remarkablesolutions.typepad.com/foreign/2007/01/turkeys_shame_a.html

  • I wonder why I still feel like you have Cilicia.com on a blacklist???

  • Jay Kactuz

    Turkishness is not the problem! Turkey is not the problem. Even nationalism is not the problem.

    Lets look at the facts. The murderer did not say “I killed a damn Armenian!” or “I killed a traitor.” Instead, what did he say after shooting a man in the back three times? He yelled “I killed an infidel” (non-Muslim).

    Once again we see the face of Islam in an act of violence. Notice I did not say ‘radical’ Islam. As long as Muslims cannot respect others, as long as they continue to discriminate and oppress other religions, women, jews, gays, as long as they refuse to take a long hard look at the hate and violence in the Quran, as long as they cannot be honest about the many terrible events in the life of their prophet (read the ahadith!), they will not respect freedom of speech and human rights, and therefore they have no place in a liberal, free society.

    Muslims are offended by cartoons. I am offended by the hate, anger and violence in the Quran and hadiths. I am offended even more by the fact that Muslims either don’t read their own sacred writings, or if they do, cannot see how vile and intolerant so much of them are to non-Muslims. Or maybe words don’t mean anything? Or maybe the violence and hate we see today in Islamis societies has nothing to do with the hate and violence in the Quran and hadiths. Maybe the moon is made of green cheese.

    Hard words, those but true. Somebody needs to say the obvious. Notice how the press and even the comments here overlook the killer’s own words. This is pathelic but predictable. Denial is not just a river in Egypt, it is an ocean of blood in Islamic societies.

    Forget the Armenian genocide. It happened; Its over. Its history. Unless a Turk is at least 105 years old and served in the Sultan’s army, in the Eastern regions, and actually shot somebody, Turks living today are not responsible for this atrocity. Muslims living today, however, are responsible for what Muslims do today. They are responsible for the hate, violence, oppression and intolerance that are so typical of Islam. They demand respect for Islam and Mohammad when they respect nobody and nothing. Turks can overcome this problem as Turks, as above, for sure, but can they overcome this intolerance as Muslims? That is the question!

    Too bad about Turkey. If any Muslims could be liberal and civil, it could be the Turks, a rather crazy and fun people – mostly. But the dark face of Islam is advancing in Turkey, just like the rest of the Muslim world. Some people just can’t wait to go back to the 7th Century.

    Let the truth be known and maybe it would be nice if Muslims would think about these things, once in a while. Or just continue to blame others, anybody, everybody…

    Old Man Kactuz

  • […] Turquía escribe… La muerte de Hrant Dink […]

  • Bolsa Hye

    Murat, how many more people have to be murdered before you realize that Article 301 is a plague on Turkish society? Eliminating it is just the first step in a long list of things that Turkey must do to abolish its racist and putrid distrust and hate of its minorities, particularly the Armenians. At this point in history, imagine the massive amount of energy and false propoganda it must take to paint the Armenians of Turkey as traitors; these group of people, like Hrant, are the greatest patriots the Turkish nation has ever seen, and yet they are despised by their own. I can’t imagine the monumental effort it must take the Turkish government and media to make that happen, and Article 301 is merely the visible part of that effort.

  • How many people have been murdered so far as a direct result of Article 301? Please.. You embarrass us both. How many Turkish diplomats were murdered by Armenian thugs and terrorists?

    MEHMET BAYDAR
    27 January 1973
    Los Angeles/USA

    BAHADIR DEMI
    27 January 1973
    Los Angeles/USA

    DANIS TUNALIGIL
    Vienna/Austria
    22 October 1975

    ISMAIL EREZ
    Paris/France
    24 October 1975

    TALIP YENER
    Paris/France
    24 October 1975

    OKTAR CIRIT
    Beyrouth/Lebanon
    16 February 1976

    TAHA CAHIR
    Rome/Italy
    9 June 1977

    NECLA KUNERALP
    Madrid/Spain
    2 June 1978

    BESIR BALCIOGLU
    Madrid/Spain
    2 June 1978

    AHMET BENLER
    The Hague/Netherlands
    12 October 1979

    YILMAZ COLPAN
    Paris/France
    22 December 1979

    GALIP OZMEN
    Athens/Greece
    31 July 1980

    NESLIHAN OZMEN
    Athens/Greece
    31 July 1980

    SARIK ARIYAK
    Sydney/Australia
    17 December 1980

    ENGIN SEVER
    Sydney/Australia
    17 December 1980

    RESAT MORALI
    Paris/France
    4 March 1981

    TECELLI ARI
    Paris/France
    4 March 1981

    M. SAVAS YERGUZ
    Geneva/Switzerland
    9 June 1981

    CEMAL OZEN
    Paris/France
    24 September 1981

    KEMAL ARIKAN
    Los Angeles/USA
    28 January 1982

    ORHAN GUNDUZ
    Boston/USA
    5 May 1982

    ERKUT AKBAY
    Lisboa/Portuga
    7 June 1982

    NADIDE AKBAY
    Lisboa/Portuga
    7 June 1982

    ATILLA ALKIKAT
    Ottawa/Canada
    27 August 1982

    BORA SUELKAN
    Bourgos/Bulgaria
    9 September 1982

    GALIP BALKAR
    Beograd/Yugoslavia
    9 March 1983

    DURSUN AKSOY
    Bruxelles/Belgium
    14 July 1983

    CAHIDE MIHCIOGLU
    Lisboa/Portugal
    27 July 1983

    ISIK YONDER
    Teheran/Iran
    28 April 1984

    ERDOGAN OZEN
    Wien/Austria
    19 November 1984

    ENVER ERGUN
    Wien/Austria
    19 November 1984

  • Bolsa Hye

    I don’t need to embarrass you. You’re doing a great job embarrassing yourself, and further showing your hate. This is not just an Armenian/Turkish issue, and you keep trying to make it that, while not-so-subtly inciting hate against Armenians. Is there any need now to start posting about ASALA, unless your agenda is to divide our peoples just when we have a chance to come together on an issue that affects us both negatively?

    Furthermore, if you’ll notice from your own list, all that ASALA crap ended almost 25 years ago, because there was a huge Armenian backlash against it. If ASALA had been supported by the Armenian community for its heinous crimes, they would have continued. We did the right thing as a community. It’s now Turkey’s turn to do the right thing as well. This law is used to breed ethnic hatred against minorities in Turkey. There is not one shadow of doubt about that. Yet you continue to defend it; not only that, but at a time like this when the Armenian and Turkish people have a real chance to show solidarity and build bridges, you continue to pepper your responses with information designed to incite hatred between our peoples.

  • To Jordan and Maria.

    Czesc! At this point I am really not that concerned with EU’s opinion, which to be honest does not count for much at this end of the line and has been so for quite some time, but I have a feeling as to what they are thinking since they are all too predictable.

    On the other point that you make I disagree for a number of reasons,which is not to say and which should not in any way be perceived that I beg the question and worse still I don’t get the point you make. Far from it. The reasons on why I disagree are so many that I am at a loss for a starting place and it will take several pages perhaps to fully and understandably lay out my case. But the one reason and it is the most obvious reason which may at first seem lacking nuance is that the Turkish society for more than a century, and the question is not willingly or not, has uniformly embraced an ideology that does not lack the virulence of some of the most notable ones in the 20th century.

    It is in this vein that the murder of Hrant Dink is a continuation of the victimization of the Armenians particularly, but not exclusively. The same can be said of the Assyrians, of the Jews (although their case has been remarkably muted for geopolitical reasons), of the Arabs, of the Alevis, of the Greeks , who were violently victimized in the pogroms of the Greek community of Istanbul not in the too distant historical past but as recently as 1955 (you may consult Speros Vryonis’ “The mechanism of catastrophe” on this one). That is why I choose to agree with Fisk, and I had already voiced the same opinion before Fisk, albeit did not do so in print, since I was in too great a shock at Hrant’s calculated murder.

    The ideology of Turkism that was first articulated by Ziya Gokalp prior and during the WWI since then had successfully made its way into the Kemalist government and metamorphosed into the now unquestionable Kemalist dogmatism of corporate self worship of the Turk, (and I will spare you some of the silliest scientism employed to do so). True, as Turkey has moved closer to Europe other ideologies have emerged on the horizon with a wish to compete with the dominant one, but the sway of the dominant ideology has never been in danger and will not be so for the predictable future since it requires massive reforms in education for starters and a general will, which is sadly absent apart from the fringes.

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