Call for Dialogue – Hrant Dink Tradition

Press Release

Call for dialogue and support for the vision of Turkish-Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink

Ottawa – January 18, 2010

On the occasion of the 3rd annual commemoration of the assassination of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, Canadians of Armenian, Turkish and Kurdish origin of the Ottawa-based transnational group Voices in Dialogue call for honouring Dink and supporting his vision. 

Press Release

Call for dialogue and support for the vision of Turkish-Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink

Ottawa – January 18, 2010

On the occasion of the 3rd annual commemoration of the assassination of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, Canadians of Armenian, Turkish and Kurdish origin of the Ottawa-based transnational group Voices in Dialogue call for honouring Dink and supporting his vision. 

Hrant Dink was persecuted for several years for his political views and he was murdered in a hate crime in front of his Istanbul office on January 19, 2007. He was the founder and editor of bilingual weekly Agos which championed the democratization of Turkish society and the revitalization of the Turkish-Armenian community. Dink was an outspoken defender of a new understanding of Turkey — a democratic and multicultural country at peace with its history in which Armenians and all of Turkey’s ethnic and religious minorities could assert their cultural identities. He wanted a public airing of the story of 1915 and was certain that when people of Turkey were fully acquainted with it, they would draw upon their compassion to seek truth and reconciliation.

We, Canadians of Anatolian roots, are encouraged by the increasing momentum of steps taken toward dialogue between Turkey and Armenia, and among peoples who trace their cultural roots to Anatolia in Canada and elsewhere in the diaspora. A burgeoning movement of civil society initiatives in Turkey and have gained momentum in the last three years, including an apology campaign by a group of renowned Turkish intellectuals last year through which citizens of Turkey all around the world had a chance to express their empathy with the pain of their Armenian brothers and sisters for the destruction of millennia-old collective Armenian existence in Anatolia in 1915. Most importantly, there is now an increasing frequency of contacts between Turkish and Armenian civil society, artistic groups, and academics such as the much celebrated concerts of Istanbul-based groups Kardeş Türküler and Sayad Nova Chorus in Yerevan last year, the conferences and workshops organized through the collaboration of the International Hrant Dink Foundation and various Turkish universities, as well as the exchange projects involving Armenian and Turkish journalists and filmmakers.

World renowned Canadian award-winning journalist Naomi Klein will continue this tradition when she presents the 2010 Hrant Dink Memorial Lecture on Freedom of Expression and Human Rights at Bogazici University in Istanbul on January 23rd.

While cognizant of the very real obstacles to reconciliation that lie ahead, we believe that the way forward lies in raising awareness of our shared heritage through cultural events and the creation of communication venues for Armenian, Turkish and Kurdish communities both here in Canada and globally. These venues enable the sharing of personal and family stories as well as wider knowledge about historical events, in particular the attempts to eradicate the Armenian people and culture in Anatolia after 1915. In this context, we recognize that the door-opening potential of civil society initiatives that have the courage to cross mental and emotional boundaries, whether through artistic or academic endeavors, have to be not only vigilant, but also act as a collective conscience. Strokes of pen movements may open or close borders, but unless there is real work on the ground, work that is carried forth with dedication and a genuine motivation to unravel truths, to find ways to educate, to create pockets of dialogue and a healing path, border crossings cannot become a reality.

Voices in Dialogue
Ottawa
friendsofHrant[at]gmail.com

 

1 comment
  1. Ergenekon Street Changed to Hrant Dink Street

    Thousands in Istanbul Mark Third Anniversary of Dink’s Murder

    By Asbarez Staff  Jan 19th, 2010


     
    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.

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