5th Anniversary of the Assassination of Hrant Dink: A Victim of Turkish Deep State and the Policy of Denial of the Armenian Genocide

Ottawa – Armenian communities in Turkey and the rest of the world held memorial services for the 5th anniversary of the assassination of Hrant Dink, who was shot outside his newspaper’s office on January 19, 2007. Dink was a journalist and editor-in-chief of Agos, a bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper published in Istanbul, Turkey. On Thursday, January 19, 2012, thousands of people were out on the streets across Turkey to commemorate the 5th Anniversary of Dink’s assassination and protest the court’s verdict. On Tuesday January 17, 2012, a Turkish court issued life sentence to Yasin Hayal, a major suspect in the assassination of Hrant Dink, while numerous other suspects were cleared of charges for membership to an underground terrorist network, and were acquitted.

Dink was a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, an advocate of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey. He was prosecuted under article 301 of the Turkish penal code, and his life was constantly under threat by Turkish ultra-nationalists who openly condemn any discussion of the Armenian Genocide and carry on the mission of the Turkish Deep State. The Deep State is the term given to the alleged group of influential anti-democratic coalitions within the Turkish political system, composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services (domestic and foreign), Turkish military, security, judiciary, and mafia. The Deep State is behind numerous coup d’états that took place throughout the history of the Turkish Republic to maintain the “so-called” secular Turkish identity and the racial purity of the country through social engineering.

The Article 301, a controversial article of the Turkish penal code making it illegal to insult Turkey, the Turkish ethnicity, or Turkish government institutions came into effect in 2005. This was by far one of the most extreme measures supported by the Turkish  Deep State  to oppose freedom of speech especially in the issue of the Armenian Genocide. Hrant Dink was among the ones convicted under the article, and the  Deep State remained silent about this incident that caused widespread reactions throughout Turkey and the international community. A few days after the assassination of Dink, on January 29, 2007, during a Press conference, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the murder and accused the Deep State: “The deep state has become a tradition, it is a term that has been used since the Ottoman period…we can describe it as gangs inside a state organization, and this kind of structure does exist. Our state and our nation have paid a high price because we have not been able to handle crack down on such networks.” (Today’s Zaman Newspaper article – Erdoğan: Failure to root out ‘deep state’ costs Turkey dearly by Mustafa Ünalt published on January 30, 2007) 

Many prominent politicians, journalists and ordinary people in Turkey are highly convinced that strong evidence exists that links the Deep State to the assassination of Dink, but the court decision is not a fair portrayal of this reality. Turkish journalist Orhan Kemal Cengiz in an article written in Today’s Zaman newspaper on January 20 2012, argues that:  “The deep state killed Dink…the message the Dink judgment delivers to the deep state says they can commit additional crimes and murders without being held responsible for their actions; but this is extremely dangerous. Unless the Dink decision is overturned by an appellate court and the trial continues, the 100-year-old murder network will continue with what it has been doing…”

The President of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, Dr. Girair Basmadjian considers Dink’s murder as another incident of the racial politics that still exists in Turkey. He said, “I agree with what Amnesty International stated last week, Turkey failed to deliver justice for Hrant Dink. It seems that even today the government is not able to control the Deep State and the policy of Turkification that has been going on for more than 85 years, ever since the Modern Republic of Turkey came into existence. We expect that justice be delivered in another corner of the civilized world, in France, where on Monday January 23 2012 the French Senate, will debate a bill that seeks to criminalize anyone who denies the Armenian Genocide.”



The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices,  chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the CanadianArmenian community on a broad range of issues..