Lara Şarlak, MA Anthropology of Media
Yesterday, the death of Hrant Dink, an Armenian-Turkish journalist who was assassinated by a Turkish ultra-nationalist 9 years ago, was commemorated in front of the SOAS main building. SOAS students of Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish descent gathered in order to take a photograph in his memory, holding letters that read ‘we are here brother’ in a Turkish-Armenian hyrbid. The photograph made its way into the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, which was founded by Dink and a group of his friends.
Dink was a prominent journalist who successfully ran Agos as editor-in-chief until the end of his life. He was well-known for his columns which called for peaceful reconciliation between Armenians and Turks.
His words on the Armenian Genocide were found to be extremely controversial by Turkish ultra-nationalist fringe group and mainstream opinion alike, frequently provoking death threats and branding Dink an ‘infidel.’ Though these threats were reported, the government remained indifferent to Dink’s security.
The assassination of Hrant Dink remains under investigation. While the killer initially claimed it to be a personal act, many, including the perpetrator’s family, believe it to be an organizational crime. Investigative journalists and lawyers involved in the case indicated that the government intelligence unit, in fact, had a role in this assassination.
Each year, the death of Hrant Dink is commemorated with a lengthy march beginning at the Agos headquarters, in front of which Dink was murdered, in Istanbul in order to protest not only the xenophobia and discrimination towards religious minorities but also the Turkish government’s negligence and justice that caused this unfortunate death.