News / Europe

Thousands in Turkey Mark Killing of Armenian Journalist Amid Criticism of Court Ruling

Placards and a poster left by friends outside his office as tens of thousands of protesters march to mark the fifth anniversary of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink's murder in Istanbul, Turkey,  as outrage continues to grow over a trial that failed
Placards and a poster left by friends outside his office as tens of thousands of protesters march to mark the fifth anniversary of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink's murder in Istanbul, Turkey, as outrage continues to grow over a trial that failed
Dorian Jones

In Istanbul, tens of thousands of supporters of slain ethnic-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, marked the fifth anniversary of his murder, with many claiming the Turkish state was involved. But a court on Tuesday ruled there was no conspiracy, provoking national and international criticism. 

"We want justice for Hrant," shout supporters of the slain ethnic-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Tens of thousands of people marched through the center of Istanbul to the offices of the Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, which Dink once edited, to mark the fifth anniversary of his murder. Along with grief, the protesters are expressing anger.

On Tuesday, a court convicted a man for instigating the murder, but acquitted 19 people on state conspiracy charges. For this, Dink supporters say justice was not served.

"The real subjects of this case have not been imprisoned," For me, it represents the state's attitude towards this kind of political murders. Like they mostly protect the killers rather than punish them."

Dink was shot dead just outside his office by 17-year-old nationalist Ogun Samast.  Samast was sentenced last year to 22 years in jail.

But Dink's family and supporters claim senior members of the Turkish state were the architects of his murder. Dink had been a target for nationalists and the state for describing the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey during World War I as genocide.  Shortly before his murder he was convicted of insulting Turkey with his views.

The Turkish representative of U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, Emma Sinclair Webb, says with so much evidence implicating the state in Dink's murder, the court's decision gives a disturbing message.

"If you are an Armenian journalist in Turkey, you can be murdered, and your killers who are deeply connected with the state will somehow not be investigated for their links with the state," said Webb. "And the state authorities will not be held to account. That is the message this case gives. And more broadly, the case comes in [a] climate of clamp-down on the government oppositionists and imprisonment of particularly Kurdish journalists."

Turkey's ruling AK party is facing growing criticism in connection with the case. The party had been seen as being in the forefront of purging the state of anti-democratic forces.  

Hundreds of senior state officials, including army officers, are currently on trial as part of Ergenekon, a network prosecutors allege was seeking to overthrow the government and implicated in numerous political assassinations. A prosecutor in the Dink trial also claimed Ergenekon was behind the Dink killing - a charge rejected by the court.

Political scientist Cengiz Aktar of Istanbul Bahcesehir University says the Dink verdict is a worrying sign for Turkey. He argues now that the state is purged of anti-government forces, the ruling AK party has become the status quo.

"We have always had a difference between the government and state," said Aktar. "The state was actually working against the AK government in the early years of its power.  But now it is one and the same. It is clear the Turkish democratic transformation is coming to an end. It means the old forces, the old elite, and the old habits will come back."

Addressing the media after the verdict, Fethiye Cetin, a lawyer representing the Dink family, gave a warning to the government.

Cetin says those in power today appear to have formed an alliance with the traditional forces of the state, but she says their alliance is temporary unless the state transforms itself," said Cetin. "She says this traditional force will eventually end its alliance by exterminating those in power.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc acknowledged the criticism about the verdict and says it can be appealed. 

But among Dink supporters protesting the verdict, there are mixed feelings about whether justice can ever be secured.

"No, not now," said a supporter. "But we believe we will get justice with this activity.  We believe we will take our justice for Hrant. We must take justice. It is a state murdering."

"I just believe in the justice, in the people, because I am not believing in justice in this country anymore," aded another supporter.

Dink's supporters are now preparing for a long battle for justice. The outcome of that struggle is being seen as a crucial test for the government in its commitment to democratic reform.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid