Hrant Dink: The Legend Continues


By Edmond Y. Azadian

Every novel idea — and every revolution — claim their prophets and their martyrs. Hrant Dink was a maverick in every sense of the word. He triggered a movement, which startled many Turks, as well as many Armenians. He was a visionary, yet his vision had not caught the imagination of the masses. He was a new breed of messenger and ideologue: he launched a new brand of patriotism, which Turkey was not ready to embrace. He believed that Turkish society could be emancipated from its bloody burden of history to be able to join the march of European civilization. He also believed that the Armenian Cause could be vindicated through that emancipation.

Like Martin Luther King, Hrant dared to dream. While his dream turned into a personal nightmare, his blood fertilized the seeds of freedom in Turkey.

January 19 marked the fourth anniversary of his assassination and his message continues to evolve and catch the imagination of the masses.

Contrary to its instincts, Turkey has been thrown into a process, which eventually may reform the country and bring it to the European norm of civilization. The process has cracked the wall of silence on the issue of Genocide, which has become a topic of national discourse, after being taboo for so long. In fact, Hrant Dink has achieved much more through his martyrdom, through his death, than he was able to achieve in his life. That is the ironic destiny of Dink.

Yet despite all these changes, the monstrous apparatus of the Turkish state has yet to find and punish the real perpetrators of Dink’s murder. The “Deep State” is still buried in deep mystery to continue subverting justice. Not only do Dink’s real murderers still walk free, but they also continue to torment the rest of the martyr’s family.

Fethiye Cetin, the female lawyer who has espoused Dink’s crusade, has issued a 21-page report on Dink’s assassination and the legal battle that has continued for four years. There are revealing analyses and facts about the legal process, which thus far has been about to avoid getting to the gist of the matter and leaving the “untouchables” free.

The report defines the legal process put in place to make the investigations and the trail a travesty of justice.

It specifically states that “there is a striking harmony between the organizations and mechanisms pointed out here in terms of preparation and perpetration of Dink’s murder, concealing and tampering with evidence after the murder, burying the truth, drawing boundaries and limits how far the trial proceedings could go, and making sure that these boundaries are not crossed.”

Page after page, facts are brought up how the prosecution has diverted the case from its main course. The sensational stories divulged by the Turkish press brings convincing evidences that the Turkish legal system has worked and continues to work hand-in-hand with the security forces and criminal world. Just recently, one of the Ergenekon operatives, Tounjay Gunay, has made sensational revelations in an interview published in the Turkish paper Takvim, where he points his finger to the “Deep State” in organizing the assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II and even to the ASALA operations which killed some 70 Turkish diplomats. Although the latter story takes the wind of out the legend of the ASALA, Gunay’s tale focuses on Abdulla Cetin, who was mysteriously killed in the Sour-Sourluk accident, while in the service of Kenan Evran’s government for organizing terrorist acts, for and against Turkey’s interest to create scapegoats. The web of the mystery is too tangled to learn the entire truth about the workings of the “Deep State” but every day bits and pieces are brought to light helping to form the entire story one day. If anything, all these stories point to one thing that Turkey is not yet out of the woods and mysteries may continues to fuel speculations.

One thing which is above speculation is that the Turkish state had made Hrant Dink a target, that the assassins in Trabizon had alerted the Turkish police in advance, who in fact colluded with the criminals to commit the murder.

Hrant was marked for murder, the moment he began to question the taboos in Turkey and the straw that broke the camel’s back was his revelation that Kemal Ataturk’s adopted heroic daughter was indeed an Armenian orphan.

Cetin’s report states: “Upon the coverage of news articles in Agos on February 6, 2004 and later in Hurriyet daily which noted that ‘Ataturk’s adopted daughter Sabiha Gökçen was an Armenian girl from an orphanage,’ the general staff issued an extremely harsh statement against these articles while making very clear where the boundaries of the freedom of the press end and where the duties of Turkish citizens and organizations begin. The individuals and organizations who received this message started acting from the next day onwards.

“Right after this statement Hrant Dink was summoned to Istanbul governorate.”

After the meeting at the governorate Hrant Dink wrote “I am now a target.” He had been sanctioned as the “certified enemy of Turks” and the assassination plot began rolling until his tragic murder on January 19. Even the spontaneous public reaction to the murder sounds staged at the hind side, when thousands of Turks marched in the streets with identical placard claiming: “we are all Hrant Dink,” and “we are all Armenians.”

Certainly Hrant’s tortured body cannot rest until justice is done. Yet four years into his assassination Turkey has yet to render justice to Dink’s memory, while he has already rendered a tremendous service in civilizing Turkey.