Commemoration of Hrant Dink marked by anger against fascism

Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was commemorated in front of the Agos newspaper building on the anniversary of his murder in Istanbul. During the commemoration, messages against fascism were given and prisoners were saluted.

Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was commemorated in front of the Agos newspaper building where he was murdered on 19 January 2007 by Ogün Samast, a hitman of the Turkish state. During the commemoration on the 17th anniversary of the murder, a banner with Dink's photograph and the inscription "The murder is 17 years old" was hung on the old newspaper building. At the commemoration, pomegranates, carnations and Agos newspaper were left on the pavement where Dink was shot dead. Dink's family, friends and MPs, as well as representatives of political parties and non-governmental organisations, journalists and writers attended the commemoration.

Before the commemoration, the police closed the area to traffic and blockaded the scene of commemoration. Those seeking to attend the commemoration were taken into the area after being searched by the police.

The commemoration started with the chant of the slogans "We are all Hrant, we are all Armenians", "In spite of fascism, you are my brother Hrant", "He who protects the murderers is a party to the murder", Long live the brotherhood of peoples, "Let those who say 'kill' be tried".

Firstly, the letter about Hrant Dink sent by Çiğdem Mater, who is imprisoned in Bakırköy Women's Closed Prison due to her sentence from the Gezi Trial, was read by Besna Tosun, the daughter of Fehmi Tosun, who disappeared in detention.

The text of the commemoration was read by journalist-writer Oya Baydar, who said, "Brothers, sisters and friends, Hrant's dear friends and family, peaceful and conscientious people who cannot be here today but whose hearts beat with us.  17 years ago, here, in front of this door, in the unforgettable words of dear Rakel Dink, 'the darkness that created a murderer out of a baby, murdered the conscience of Turkey. Yes, Hrant was both the bearer of the troubles and pains of this country and the conscience of the oppressed peoples."

"I will not talk to you about this horrible murder committed against all of us and the judicial comedy we have been made to watch for 17 years," Oyda Baydar said: "I want to tell you about Hrant and commemorate him. There are special people. They gather the values of their lands and peoples in themselves. Hrant was such a person. When I commemorate him here, don't think that I'm making a Hrant eulogy. The first time I got to know him was in 2002, when we came together to establish the Peace Initiative. In the days when he was subjected to fire from both sides, here in the middle of Taksim, he was shouting in the language of peace against the racist, nationalist bigotry that turned peoples against each other when it went to Paris and stood on a stone in the square there and said 'there is no genocide'."

Oyda Baydar underlined that Dink never gave up the language of peace even though he was targeted, and stated the following:

"I remember your answer to those who attacked you saying 'we have eyes on this land'. 'We have eyes on this land because our roots are here. But don't worry, not to take these lands and leave, but to get to the bottom of these lands'. You were one of the most special and valuable faces of this land. Now you are lying in this land where your roots are deep. The places of all the people of the country are intertwined in the depths of our lands. That is why we meet here every year today, in spite of those who try to separate us and make enemies of each other, and we cry out 'in spite of fascism, you are my brother Hrant'. We are all Armenians. In order to keep the memory alive and not to let it be forgotten, but mainly because we accept your will, your desire to live together as equal and free people on this land.

You were our conscience, Ahparig. Everything and everyone can be killed, but conscience cannot be killed. That's why you are reborn every year on 19 January for all of us. 19 January is the day of conscience and brotherhood in this country. It should be celebrated as such. Hail those who share the same values as you. Greetings to those who pledge these values with courage, at the cost of their lives if necessary. Greetings to those who paid the price in dungeons for defending these values.  I salute all of them with your name in the symbolic figures of Selahattin Demirtaş, Osman Kavala, Gültan Kışanak. We are here, Ahparig."

The commemoration ended with the slogans "This case will not end until we say it is over" and "Long live the brotherhood of peoples".