STRASBOURG—On Jan. 21, the 8th anniversary of the assassination of Turkish Armenian journalist and editor-in-chief of the bilingual Agos newspaper, Hrant Dink, will be commemorated at the European Parliament.
Hrant Dink was assassinated on January 19, 2007, in broad daylight on a busy street in front of his newspaper’s office in Istanbul.
His assassination was the culmination of a decade-long campaign of harassment by the country’s authorities, by the military and by extremist groups. But it triggered an unprecedented surge of solidarity and pro-democracy activism in Turkey after more than 100,000 people attended his funeral.
Today, Dink has become an icon of the movement for civil liberties in Turkey and in Europe. His memory serves as a beacon for intellectuals, activists and the wider public to challenge prejudice and intolerant nationalism. Hrant Dink was an Armenian, in a country where Armenians have long lived in fear. He was a journalist, in a country that jails more journalists than any other country in the world. And as an advocate of peace, he was reviled by nationalists.
After his death, Dink’s family and friends established a foundation that has since continued and broadened his work in Turkey for civil liberties, for the rights of minorities and for peaceful relations with neighbors, particularly Armenia.
2015 will mark the 10th anniversary of the start of Turkey’s accession negotiations with the European Union and the centenary of the start of the Armenian Genocide. The commemoration on January 21 will provide an opportunity to invoke Hrant Dink’s intellectual and political legacy and to take stock of the situation of the movement for civil rights and tolerance in Turkey that his assassination spurred.