ISTANBUL (A.W.)–In the morning of Jan. 19, five years after the murder of Hrant Dink, the editor of the Turkish and Armenian weekly Agos, a new plaque was seen on one of the cobblestones of the Agos building in Istanbul. It read, “Hrant Dink was murdered here, January 19, 2007, at 15:05.”
Meanwhile, an estimated 20,000 people flooded the streets of Istanbul on Jan. 19, marching in remembrance of the murdered journalist, to protest a recent court ruling that set free many of the murder suspects, and denounced the state of affairs in Turkey. They carried signs that read, “We are all Hrant Dink, we are all Armenian.”
Trial a disappointment
The anniversary of Dink’s death came two days after 19 suspects were acquitted of charges of being members of a terrorist organization that plotted the murder. Another suspect, Yasin Hayal, received a life sentence on charges of instigating the premeditated murder.
The Dink family and human rights organizations condemned the ruling. The Dink family lawyers say the murder was a planned act.
Last year, an Istanbul court sentenced Ogun Samast, a 17-year-old Turkish ultra-nationalist, to 22 years and 10 months in prison for killing Dink in front of the Agos newspaper building. Samast was prosecuted as a minor, and received a lenient sentence for his crime.
In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Turkish government to pay compensation to the Dink family, after a ruling that found the state guilty of failing to protect the murdered journalist.