19 January 2020: 13th anniversary of Hrant Dink’s murder

Must read

On the 13th anniversary of Hrant Dink’s murder, thousands gathered again where he was shot. This year’s speech was delivered by Şebnem Korur Fincancı, human rights activist ,and Sertaç Ekinci, son of Yusuf Ekinci who was shot dead in 1994 , which is remain an unresolved crime.

Commemoration held at the spot where Hrant Dink, was shot in January 19, 2007. An Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink, founder of Agos weekly newspaper, was shot dead in 2007 as a racist murder. First Sertaç Ekinci gave a speech. Ekinci said the following: 

“On the 13th anniversary of the cursed day Hrant Dink was heinously taken away from us, we have gathered here, at this very spot, right by this pavement that leaves a lump in our throats every time we see it. Hrant Dink symbolized what this country needed the most: Fraternity.  I believe this is also the reason why he was taken away from us. For, those with dark hearts in this country are in dire need of dividing, rather than uniting. They do know very well that dividing is the only way for them to easily get a free hand. Their biggest fear is the peoples of Turkey, the oppressed coming together. 

Whereas, Hrant used to teach us how to love one another; he used to teach us all about Anatolia, right from scratch. By telling us the story of a Turkish villager living in a remote village of Sivas who took care of the funeral of an Armenian woman that visited Sivas after so many years and was ultimately buried there. By telling us that the Armenian question is not the question of others, but it is the question of this very country, by reminding us that we are the only doctors for ourselves…

This the reason why he was dangerous and he had to be eliminated.  Just like the killing of hundreds of intellections before him.  Musa Anter, Uğur Mumcu, İlhan Erdost, Tahir Elçi and many others were murdered not because they divided the oppressed people of this country, but because they brought them together. This was their deadly sin. And exactly because of this reason, none of their murderers and instigators have faced a real trial. Those who convicted the dignified intellectuals of this country through speedy trials and fabricated evidence, dragged the lawsuits against the murderers of these intellectuals for many years, they tampered with the evidence and breached all sorts of legal procedures.

The last one in the chain of these cases on the killing of a number of Kurdish intellectuals in the 90s, including my father Lawyer Yusuf Ekinci, was concluded in the past month. Even though it has been well-established that all these murders were committed by means of the arms and weapons that could only be possessed by the state, and that one of the perpetrators of the crime explicitly confessed the crime, all suspects standing trial were acquitted.  

This should not be surprising for us at all. 

For many years, the victims of these and similar crimes have continued their quest for justice, without any result. If they would have lived in a country that is truly democratic, where the rule of law prevails, perhaps their voices would have been heard and their calls would have been answered. Yet, it is time for them to know that they will never be able to find the justice they are seeking. They will never be able to find it, no matter how long they continue to chase it. 

Dear friends, it is also time for us to know that if we are seeking justice, we will not be able to find it; because they will not deliver it. Justice will not be served unless all the oppressed people of Turkey come together and struggle for a country where the rule of law prevails.  I do believe that this is the last will and testament Hrant Dink as well as hundreds of other intellectuals left for us.

I do pay my tributes to him and his precious legacy, and I salute you all with respect.”

Then Fincancı gave a speech. On behalf of Hrant’s Friends, Fincancı said following: 

“Dear friends, the big and beautiful family of Ahparig Hrant, dearest Rakel Dink who dared to wholeheartedly question “the darkness that turns a baby into a murderer”, his beautiful children who shouldered his struggle for rights and carried it into the future, his friends, our friends,

‘Even hatred of humiliation distorts the features. Even anger against injustice makes the voice hoarse.’, Brecht wrote in his poem. If we rage against the state power that has been hiding the well-known perpetrators for the past 13 years, if we cry out for injustices, would these count as getting coarse? After all, what makes the struggle for rights, if it is not the elegance of those who were oppressed due to their solidarity? Can we possibly find any coarse in the voices of hundreds of thousands who poured into the streets of Istanbul and chanted “We are all Hrant, we are all Armenian”? His friends, who have been fighting for Hrant, for justice in the last 13 years, have kept on reminding us all the value of the truth, despite the state power that banished the truth from these lands. The quest for justice is not coming to an end, it has never ended. Even if they drag along Saturday Mothers/People on the ground, even if they jail those that cry out the truth,  even if they crack down on us to supress us with crimes against humanity, we will not give up, as Hrant did never give up on speaking the truth. It is not our cause to nurture hatred towards the evil. Our cause is an infinite struggle. So that people do not get carried away with the banality of evil, and they continue their struggle for rights without bowing down to the power. 

13 years ago, on January 18th evening, Hrant came together at a dinner table with Yavuz Önen, my dear brother, who was the president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey at the time. We all had our dreams. During that dinner, while, in the pursuit of our dream of an Institute, we shared our training for trainers towards ensuring effective investigation and documentation of violation of rights, he shared in great enthusiasm his dream of an Institute for Trauma and Human Rights. But then, on January 19th, 2007, at 5 past 3, time has stopped for all of us. We were perplexed, the warmth of the dreams we dared to cherish together still fresh in our hearts…We have never given up on those dreams, and with every step we made, we have arrived where we are today.   

For the wounds of these lands have never been healed. Let alone the healing of the wounds, every single day, we have to endure a state power that bleeds our wounds again and again. Just a couple of days ago, a Chaldean couple disappeared; father Aho of Syriac Mor Yakup [Saint Jacob] Monastery was detained. As if it was not enough to put them to the sword and drive into deserts, the state power has spared no effort to make sure that Armenians of Turkey will feel the restlessness of a dove every single day. Their streets were named Bozkurt and Ergenekon, their schools were named after Talat Pasha. The Genocide was the act of the Ottoman Empire, yet it was the Republic of Turkey that restored the honour of this legacy. We failed to live together; we failed to be a society that is multi-lingual and multicultural. What is worse, we do not even feel the shame for the drought we created. When the time came for the Kurds, the servants of the state bombed their homes with mortar shells, riddled them with holes, and then made graffities on the walls. 

As we failed to face and heal our wounds, each passing day, by inventing new others, our wounds have grown, new wounds have appeared. ,  Tomorrow, when the time comes for us to face all that happened, there may appear these little Eichmanns who will try to normalize their evil acts by claiming that they only obeyed the instructions; even then it will not be too late to feel the shame. Still, we must get to know the evil and we must expose the evil-doers one by one. For Hrant, for justice!

The first essay, in the series of his earlier essays compiled in the book Garden, dear Yıldırım Türker wrote as follows: “Constantly pondering upon the evil for the sake of defending the life may dispirit one’s soul over time. Just like the dazzlement of one’s eyes and his/her ultimate blindness, after staying in the dark for too long.” Yet, discerning the evil in the darkness entails us to become the seeing eyes of Saramago in his land of the blind. So that we can see and uncover the truth…

We are here Ahparig, we shall not give up.”

More articles

Latest article