AYF Holds Vigil Condemning Dink’s Murder

LOS ANGELES–The Armenian Youth Federation–Western Region mourned and condemned the brutal murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. In his memory, the AYF-WR held a candlelight vigil on Tuesday in front of the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles with hundreds of youth activists in attendance. Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of the Armenian-Turkish language weekly Agos newspaper, was shot to death in broad daylight last Friday after leaving his office in Istanbul. Dink was not only an outspoken critic of the treatment of Armenia’s living in Turkey, but also an adherent of free speech and an advocate for proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide. "This is an act of true terrorism. The use of violence to silence the voice of freedom in Turkey is a disturbing insight into the ultra nationalistic environment looming within Turkey,"stated AYF-WR Central Executive member Berj Parseghian. Dink, although respected and well known by the international community, was resented by some in Turkey and referred to as a "traitor". He was convicted last year of insulting the Turkish state and identity because of commen’s he made regarding the Armenian Genocide. Dink’s murder is the latest assertion of Turkey’s continued refusal to come to terms with its past and its inability to conform to one of the most important elemen’s of democracy — freedom of expression. "Mr. Dink was a human rights activist who was killed for speaking the truth. He fought for the Armenian cause and is a hero who will never be forgotten,"said AYF member Sose Thomassian. The shocking murder comes less than two weeks after the conclusion of the Fast for Remembrance. Earlier this month, young activists of the AYF-WR and the United Human Rights Council, organized a five-day water only fast in front of the Turkish Consulate to raise awareness of the denial of the Armenian Genocide.

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