FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2017
Contact: Sevag Belian (613) 235-2622
Ottawa – January 19, 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the assassination of prominent Turkish-Armenian Journalist and editor-in-chief of the bilingual Agos Newspaper, Hrant Dink.
Dink was assassinated on January 19, 2007, in front of his newspaper’s office in Istanbul, triggering an unprecedented surge of solidarity and pro-democracy activism in Turkey after more than 100,000 people attended his funeral. Hrant Dink’s assassination is now memorialized in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.
In 2005, After the Turkish governments introduction of Article 301 of the state penal code, Dink was convicted for insulting “Turkishness” and received numerous death threats and warnings from law enforcement authorities in Istanbul, ultimately leading to his assassination that to this day remains largely unpunished.
Throughout his lifelong activism as a career journalist and an outspoken human rights defender, Dink wrote and spoke vigorously against Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide and the sociopolitical injustice faced by minority groups in Turkey. He was especially well known for his tireless efforts to establish dialogue between the Turkish and Armenian people, paving the way for a true and just reconciliation.
Despite the emergence of a strong solidarity movement following Dink’s assassination, targeted discrimination and overt policies of suppressing the fundamental rights of Armenians and other minority groups continues to trump the virtues of respect, tolerance and intercultural dialogue in Turkey. The most recent and unsettling example of such state-sponsored policy took place on January 13, 2017, when Turkish-Armenian parliamentarian and member of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), Garo Paylan, was suspended from the next three sessions of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Paylan has been suspended for having spoken the truth about the Armenian Genocide, the very same cause that Hrant Dink sacrificed his life for.
Today, Dink has become an exemplary icon of freedom and human rights activism in Turkey and across Europe. While Turkey continues to relentlessly jail journalists and contain the fundamental freedoms of speech, association and mobility, Dink’s memory serves as constant a reminder for intellectuals, activists and the wider public to challenge prejudice and intolerant nationalism.
During the upcoming week, commemorative events paying tribute to Dink’s legacy will be held in Toronto, Montreal and other Canadian cities. All events will be featuring Mr. Cem Ozdemir as keynote speaker. Mr. Ozdemir is a German parliamentarian of Turkish descent and the current co-chair of the German Greens Alliance Party. Throughout his political career, Mr. Ozdemir has been a strong voice in Europe, advocating for truth and justice and vehemently opposing intolerance and prejudice. Mr. Ozdemir was also the leading force behind Germany’s 2016 Bundestag resolution, officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.
The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots human rights 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 Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues and works to eliminate abuses of human rights throughout Canada and the world.