I had never heard of Hrant Dink until four days ago, when news of his brutal slaying in front of his office in Istanbul made world headlines. And then the information began to filter–Dink was the founder and editor of the newspaper Agos; he was Armenian and had written about the genocide of one million of his people in 1915 by the Ottoman rulers; and he had been the first journalist to be convicted under Article 301, that vile law that has already gotten Orhan Pamuk, Elif Shafak, and many other known and unknown writers and journalists into trouble. It was Dink’s conviction that brought him into the spotlight. Here’s what Orhan Pamuk said:
“We have killed a man whose ideas we could not accept,” Orhan Pamuk said, when he visited Hrant Dink’s home and office on Sunday.
“We are all responsible for his death, but above all those who still defend Article 301 and insist it should stay are guilty – those who launched a campaign against Hrant Dink as an enemy of the Turks and marked him out as a target.”
This is a depressing picture of Turkey, a country that wants to join the E.U., but cannot seem to let its writers and journalists speak their minds. But the spontaneous outcry and grief over Dink’s death makes me wonder if the people of Turkey will finally get serious about stopping the madness. For instance, the silent march today at his funeral, behind a banner that reads “We are all Hrant Dink. We are all Armenians.” is one step. But the road is long.