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South Caucasus
Hrant Dink was murdered

If Hrant Dink has ever asked the government to be protected.

This morning when I read the news that the condemned murderer of Hrant Dink was captured (A seventeen year old boy, Ogun Samast), my sorrow and pain was not healed. Because I surely believe that this is not a simple incident, neither an individual attempt. It happened purely because the negligence of the Turkish Government.

Yes, for the tragic death of Hrant Dink, I openly accuse our government officials. The Article 301 is their production and they seemed to be very much proud of it. So that, Hrant Dink was judged and convicted to be insulting Turkishness by the Turkish courts depending on this damned article. It's a pity that the verdict was also confirmed by the Court of Appeals, so Hrant was planning to go to the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR.)

When you check his recent columns and recent interviews you can clearly see how Article 301 caused his death. What did he say?

Then the judge gave me six months imprisonment. When I first heard the verdict I found myself under the bitter pressure of my hope that I kept during all the months of trial. I was stupefied... I was hurt and the feeling of rebellion reached its climax.

“Let’s wait the verdict, let them prove me not-guilty, then you will regret all that you talked and written about” I had told myself for months just to hold on.

During each hearing of the court there were statements published in the news and columns of the newspapers and broadcast in the TV-programs claiming that I said, “Turkish blood is poisonous.”

Each time I got more popular as an "enemy of the Turk." At the corridors of the Law Courts fascists were attacking me with racist curses. They were humiliating me with banners. Hundreds of threats via e-mail, phone calls an letters were pouring down and they were increasing day by day in number. I was bearing all this and remaining patient with the expectation of verdict of not guilty. When the verdict was declared, the reality would be understood and all these people would be ashamed.

My only weapon is my sincerity.

But now the verdict was there and all my hopes were lost. From that time on, I was in the most embarrassing situation a man can experience.(*)

After all what he has written, can you believe that Turkish Security Officials didn't provide or even suggest him any security? So all the burden is lying heavily on the conscience of the Turkish Security Officials, even on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, even though he seemed quite sure about himself answering simply 'no' to a question like, “If Hrant Dink has ever asked the government to be protected.”

Hrant didn't deserve such a destiny. He was a very good journalist, a perfect intellectual, a wonderful father but maybe more than all these he was a great humanist. He was recently twice rewarded by international organizations because of his brave and humanistic stand. In fact he was that brave to express his fears too:

I hope that we are never obliged to experience such an abandonment. We have enough hope and reasons not to live such a thing. Now I am applying to European Court of Human Rights. I don’t know how many years this case will take.

What I know and what relieves me to some extent is the fact that at least I will continue to live in Turkey until this case comes to an end. When a positive verdict is declared I will surely be happier and then this will mean that I will never have to leave my country. Probably the year 2007 will be a more difficult year for me. Trials will continue, new cases will came up in court. Who knows which kind of injustice I will encounter. But while this all will happen, I will regard the following fact as my guarantee. Yes, I can feel myself as restless as a dove but I know that in this country people do not touch and disturb the doves. The doves continue their lives in the middle of the cities. Yes indeed a bit frightened but at the same time free.(**)

I cannot find the right words to express my sorrow, but I have to add one more thing. I was deeply devastated to see his last shots on which he was seen with a hole under his shoe. One columnist was comparing them with the death shots of Talat Pasha, saying that the day he was killed, he also wore such a worn out shoe with a hole beneath. (***) This is the greatest absurdity I believe. It's not an ingenuity to find the similarities between death people's photographs. It would be the best if you could keep them alive and let them wear brand new shoes.

Nursun Erel
21 - 01 - 2007

(*) Hrant Dink, January 19, 2007 - Daily Agos-Istanbul.
(**) Hrant Dink, January 19, 2007 - Daily Agos-Istanbul.
(***) Murat Bardakci, January 21, 2007 - Daily Sabah.