Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Case of Hrant Dink sheds light on the Case of Turkey

Hrant Dink's very thoughtful and sensible arguments on Armenian identity (in Turkish.) Of course I'm not to decide what's thoughtful and sensible, Armenians are the ones who should decide that... but we have a saying, "Friend speaks bitterly," meaning frankly. I think Dink's thoughts are frank and bitter -and therefore truly friendly- to both sides.

The English version of his last three pieces:

The first sentence of the last piece was taken out of context and Dink received a 6-month sentence in violation of Article 301 in October 2005, despite an equally sensible "Friend of the court" report, which found Dink not guilty considering both the specific sentence in question and his general mention of the "Armenian Genocide."

The court of appeals (Yargitay) approved the sentence, despite the attorney general accepting that Dink was not guilty. Dink made the following press statement in response, saying he would never insult Turkish people, because insulting people because of their differences is racism, it's an atrocious crime, and racism is exactly what he is trying to fight.

Dink stayed in Turkey, and he was assasinated in Istanbul on 19.01.2007.

Now that his suspect, a 17-year-old boy is arrested, and the threats he received from an ex-general is surfaced, the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Hrant Dink sent an article to Turkish newspaper Radikal right before his death. (Turkish) (English)

In this beautiful article, he asks why he was convicted under Article 301, while the cases of writers like Orhan Pamuk and Elif Şafak were dropped. The media quoted that one sentence over and over again in a campaign to isolate him. He concludes that he was convicted, attacked in the media and received threats because he was Armenian, and "those great forces" saw an interest in silencing him. He likens his worries about his and his family's security to the uneasiness of a dove. But he says he is one of those whom comfort bores. He's not one who would leave a "boiling hell" and seek refuge in a "ready heaven."

"We were sort of people desiring to turn hell to heaven."

The case of Hrant Dink sheds light onto these "great forces." But it also sheds light onto people who won't accept that. Thousands walked on the streets of Istanbul to voice their agony and anger over his assassination, shouting "we are all Armenians." The coverage of the issue in the Radikal newspaper is courageous and respectable. The posts in the Ekşi Sözlük ( show that people are aware of what's happening. And hopefully they care.

There's meaning to a greater story, after all. There are still those people who believe in a greater story, the possibility of turning hell to heaven.

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