ISTANBUL (Combined Sources)–Thousands gathered Tuesday at the site in Istanbul where Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was murdered three years ago, a slaying that caused a national outcry for both Turks and Armenians.
The crowd, numbering around 2,000 to 3,000 according to police, braved snowfall to gather outside the offices of the Agos newspaper where Dink was editor-in-chief, chanting “The murderer state has to account for this!”, “We know the murderers, we want justice!”
“As long as light is not shed on this murder, we will be here, we will not give up,” said one of the many people who addressed the crowd from the window of the Agos office from which hung a picture of the slain journalist.
Several people left carnations and candles at the place where then 52-year-old Dink was killed on January 19, 2007.
This year’s slogan during the commemoration was “We know the killer, we want justice.”
“I am eminently enraged,” retired teacher Semra Tugcu said as she stood in the crowd.
She said she was not hopeful about Dink’s murder case. “I am a Turk, but this does not mean that I am not a minority in this country,” she said. “I feel like a minority, too.”
Hrant Dink’s wife, Rakel Dink, and their son and daughter were also at the Agos newspaper office.
Arat Dink, Hrant Dink’s son, spoke to the crowd. “Were those kids [those suspected of murdering Dink] alone while they were making fun of us in the court? … I do not trust justice in this country. But being here for the last three years with you makes me hopeful,” Arat Dink said.
Dink’s speech was frequently cut by slogans from the crowd such as, “Murderer state will give account,” “Despite fascism, you are my brother Hrant,” and “Either all together, or none of us, there is no salvation alone.”
The gunman, an unemployed nationalist who was 17 at the time, was captured shortly after the killing. He went on trial along with 19 suspected accomplices in 2007. The investigation, however, has yet to reveal the masterminds behind the killing.
Hours after the procession, a number of people climbed up a street pole at the corner of the Pangalti crossway in Istanbul’s central Sisli district where the commemoration had taken place and removed the “Ergenekon” street sign, replacing it with a street sign that read: “Hrant Dink Street.”
Ergenekon is also the name of an alleged gang that is accused of aiming to topple the government by creating turmoil in society and that is alleged to be connected to the “deep state.” Dink’s assassination is also linked to the “deep state,” according to investigators.
A group called Art for Peace organized the changing of the street signs. The group requested a meeting with Sisli Mayor Mustafa Sarigul to officially change the name of the street, but the meeting will be possible only after Jan. 19, the group said in a leaflet it distributed to the crowd in Sisli.
Members of the group changed the name of the street themselves without waiting for the meeting to take place.