Senate Panel to Consider Legislation Condemning Dink Murder

WASHINGTON–The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set to consider legislation, authored by the panel’s chairman Joe Biden (D-DE), condemning the murder of Hrant Dink, reported the Armenian National Committee of America. The resolution, S.Res.65, specifically mentions that Hrant Dink "was prosecuted under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for speaking about the Armenian Genocide," and urges the Turkish government to repeal this anti-free speech law. It will be "marked up" by the Committee on Tuesday, March 6th at 2:15 pm. The panel’s website will note on March 6 if its proceeding that day will be webcast live over the internet. ANCA activists in the 21 states with Senators on the Committee are encouraging support for S.Res.65 through phone calls, faxes, and meetings. They are also reminding the Senate offices that Hrant Dink’s brutal murder is a wake up call for the U.S. Senate to pass legislation formally recognizing and commemorating the Armenian Genocide. Those interested in taking action on this issue may visit: Hrant Dink, editor of the bilingual Armenian/Turkish "Agos" newspaper, was gunned down outside his office in Istanbul on January 19, sparking worldwide protests and renewed scrutiny of Turkey’s repression of free speech and international campaign of Armenian Genocide denial. Two similar measures have been introduced in the U.S. House by Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY), one that mentions the Armenian Genocide and one that does not. The ANCA supports the former, but not the latter. The text of the legislation is provided below, as is a full listing of Senate Foreign Relations Committee members. S. RES. 65 Condemning the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist and human rights advocate Hrant Dink and urging the people of Turkey to honor his legacy of tolerance. IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES February 1, 2007 Mr. BIDEN submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations RESOLUTION Condemning the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist and human rights advocate Hrant Dink and urging the people of Turkey to honor his legacy of tolerance. Whereas Hrant Dink was a respected, eloquent advocate for press freedom, human rights, and reconciliation; Whereas, in 1996, Mr. Dink founded the weekly bilingual newspaper Agos and, as the paper’s editor in chief, used the paper to provide a voice for Turkey’s Armenian community; Whereas Mr. Dink was a strong proponent of rapprochement between Turks and Armenia’s and worked diligently to improve relations between those communities; Whereas Mr. Dink’s commitment to democratic values, nonviolence, and freedom in the media earned him widespread recognition and numerous international awards; Whereas Mr. Dink was prosecuted under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for speaking about the Armenian Genocide; Whereas, notwithstanding hundreds of threats to Mr. Dink’s life and safety, he remained a steadfast proponent of pluralism and tolerance; Whereas Mr. Dink was assassinated outside the offices of Agos in Istanbul, Turkey, on January 19, 2007; Whereas tens of thousands of people in Turkey of many ethnicities protested Mr. Dink’s killing and took to the streets throughout the country to honor his memory; Whereas the Government of Turkey has pledged to undertake a full investigation into the murder of Mr. Dink; Whereas the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has stated that when Mr. Dink was shot, ‘a bullet was fired at freedom of thought and democratic life in Turkey'; Whereas the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Vartan Oskanian, stated that Mr. Dink ‘lived his life in the belief that there can be understanding, dialogue and peace amongst peoples'; and Whereas Mr. Dink’s tragic death affirmed the importance of promoting the values that he championed in life: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate– (1) condemns the murder of Hrant Dink as a shameful act of cowardice perpetrated with contempt for law, justice, and decency; (2) supports the pledge of the Government of Turkey to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the assassination of Mr. Dink and to prosecute those responsible; (3) urges the Government of Turkey to repeal Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and work diligently to foster a more open intellectual environment in the country that is conducive to the free exchange of ideas; (4) recognizes the decision of the Government of Turkey to invite senior Armenian religious and political figures to participate in memorial services for Mr. Dink; (5) calls on the Government of Turkey to act in the interest of regional security and prosperity and reestablish full diplomatic, political, and economic relations with the Government of Armenia; and (6) urges the people of Turkey to honor Mr. Dink’s legacy of tolerance.


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