ISTANBUL—Thousands gathered in Istanbul to mark the seventh anniversary of the killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on Jan. 19, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
The Friends of Hrant Dink organization, established in memory of the late journalist, called for a march starting at 1:30 pm from Taksim Square, which ended with a homage to Dink in front of the Agos newspaper’s office building in the Pangaltı neighborhood.
Police took tight security measures around Istanbul’s Taksim Square and closed Gezi Park, which staged anti-government protests last summer, ahead of the commemoration.
The crowd marched to the front of Armenian weekly Agos, where Hrant Dink was murdered in broad daylight by a 17-year-old nationalist in 2007.
At 2:56 p.m., a one minute silence in memory of Dink was observed, after which Gülten Kaya, the widow of late singer Ahmet Kaya, took the microphone. Kaya commemorated not only Dink, but also those who were killed during the Gezi Park protests.
“What is your truth? This is 2014: You are carrying guns in your trucks instead of peace, democracy and human rights,” Kaya added, addressing Turkey’s security forces.
Dink, the highly esteemed former editor-in-chief of weekly Agos, was murdered in broad daylight in front of his newspaper’s building on Jan. 19, 2007 by a 17-year-old Turkish nationalist. The triggerman, Ogün Samast, was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to 22 years and 10 months of prison after a two year-trial.
The marchers chanted the slogan “We are here, brother” in Armenian, “For Hrant, for justice,” and “We are all Armenians,” in front of the Agos office. A popular chant from the Gezi Park protests, “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance,” was also heard.
After the meeting ended, the crowd marched to Taksim.
In a controversial apparent gesture, a number of the traffic police officers assigned to the area were photographed wearing white caps. On the day of the murder, Samast was wearing a white cap, which later became an infamous symbol of the incident.
Ertuğrul Günay, a former member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), asked Istanbul Governor Vali Mutlu on Twitter who had ordered the police to wear white caps.
The Dink murder case remains unsolved, with the court ruling that it was not a result of an organized crime to the dismay of Dink’s family and supporters. This despite serious claims that a number of civil servants linked to the “deep state” were “indirectly” involved.
The acquittal of top suspects was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeals and many key suspects charged as instigators of the murder, such as Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel, are currently being retried.
The organizers of the commemorative march also denounced the trial process, accusing the state of protecting those responsible for the murder.
OSCE calls for justice
The masterminds behind the murder of Hrant Dink must be brought to justice, said the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in a statement on Jan. 19.
“Seven years after the murder of Hrant Dink the masterminds behind this terrible act of violence have still not been called to account,” Dunja Mijatovic said. “The Turkish authorities must double their efforts and no longer delay bringing justice to the family of Hrant Dink.”
The Representative noted that a retrial is ongoing, following the ruling by Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals in May 2013, which acknowledged that there was a criminal conspiracy to silence the journalist.
“It is not enough to imprison the person who pulled the trigger. Masterminds of such crimes are no less dangerous than murderers. The Turkish justice system must show to Turkish citizens that such crimes do not go unpunished,” Mijatovic said.
“Hrant Dink was a courageous journalist who advocated for peace and minority rights through his writings,” the Representative said. “Every society should be proud of such outstanding individuals and do their best to protect them and their right to free expression.”