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Hrant Dink Fondation

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Hrant Dink Fondation

Postby joe » Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:32 pm

Armenian community mounts global effort to create the " Hrant Dink Fondation"
Publié le : 27-01-2007

As Armenians throughout the world mourn the senseless murder of journalist Hrant Dink, community leaders have vowed to keep his name and ideals alive with the establishment of the "Hrant Dink Foundation." The primary purpose of the foundation will be to disseminate the message and vision of Mr. Dink and support the continued efforts of Agos newspaper, of which Dink was the founder and editor-in-chief.

A coalition of Armenian community organizations spearheaded by the Organizations of Istanbul Armenians gathered at the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church to launch the Foundation. They are in the process of collecting donations to fund it. Those interested in contributing to the Hrant Dink Foundation can call 818-641-1059 or visit the Foundation's web site at: .

"We feel it is our duty to continue the struggle of Hrant Dink, who died fighting for the right of free speech," said Hovsep Tokat, Chair of the Committee establishing the Foundation. "His only crime was that he was an Armenian living in Turkey . The response of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world is a testament to the support of his ideals," he said.

Dink was a champion of the right of free speech. He was a fearless leader and proponent of free expression and democracy. This stand was particularly difficult for the native of Turkey , due to Turkey 's policy of suppressing and punishing those who engage in free speech with ideas contrary to government opinion. Dink's dream was to achieve better understanding between Armenians and Turks. He believed he could succeed if he could reach the average Turkish citizen. This is why he chose to stay in Turkey even when he knew that his life was in danger.

In 2005, Dink was prosecuted in Turkey for violating article 301 of Turkey 's penal code, which states that open reference to the Armenian Genocide equals "insulting Turkishness" and is punishable as a crime. While Dink was convicted under this article, he was given a 6-month suspended sentence. In September, 2006, a prosecutor in Istanbul opened a new case against Dink for the same crime, due to his statement to a foreign news agency that the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey was Genocide. His trial was still pending when he was assassinated in front of his newspaper office on January 19, 2007 . Despite numerous death threats, Turkish authorities did not provide any protection or investigate the threats.

"Of course I say it was Genocide. With these events, you see the disappearance of people who lived on these lands for 4,000 years," Dink said. Despite the new charges, Dink remained determined, and vowed to continue to speak the truth regardless of the consequences.

Other Turkish journalists have come under fire by the Turkish government and have been prosecuted under Article 301, including Orhan Pamuk. Despite heavy criticism none were convicted. Pamuk went on to receive the Nobel prize in literature, becoming the first Turk in history to be so honored.

Turkey denies that the Ottoman regime committed Genocide during World War I despite voluminous evidence to the contrary.

"In addition to his principled stand on free speech, Dink was an advocate of educating the Turkish population of its own history," said Tokat. "He did not blame the general population for denial of the Genocide, rather he criticized the government for not educating its citizens about the truth of its past. His progressive thoughts and opinions are what the foundation hopes to keep alive," he said.
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