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A Murder for Which No One Holds Accountability: Hrant Dink

Recently, on November 15, Ogün Samast, the perpetrator of the murder of journalist Hrant Dink, was released from Bolu F-Type Prison in the evening. The unexpected annunciation surprised the public and devastated Dink's loved ones. Speaking to BBC Turkish about the agenda, the lawyers' association stated that the release of Samast, whose sentence for membership in an organization was reduced due to statute of limitations and good behavior because of his age at the time of the murder, hurt the public conscience and the darkness behind it needed to be illuminated. This article will create an atmosphere of discussion on the potential causes and culprits of the disaster while also getting acquainted with Hrant Dink.

Dink’s loved ones and defenders under the Hrant Dink Foundation commemorated the Armenian journalist on the 16th anniversary of his murder with the slogans they chanted. One of the slogans was that those convicted in the public conscience cannot earn amnesty in courtrooms. The journalist was the editor-in-chief of the Agos newspaper, whose building was located in the Şişli district of Istanbul, his assassination took place on the main street near the same building. He was a writer who resided in Türkiye from birth until his intentional death and was well-versed in the country's atmosphere and politics. Dink, who did not stop furthering his academic education, deepened his knowledge with the philosophy education he received after university. During his career, he attended many conferences on continents with global influence such as America, Australia, and Europe. The title of Armenian identity and Turkish-Armenian relations has led to the beginning of questioning processes in various Western countries on the mentioned continents, both within the Armenian world and in terms of their role in history. This dominance and accumulation paved the way for him to put aside his dreams of a philosophy of biology chair and actively participate in the developing left politics in Türkiye in the 1970s, while also causing him to become a social target. Considering that his political activities could be associated with his Armenian identity and that the associations/communities he was involved in could be directly damaged by this approach, he changed his name to "Fırat" by court decision, a name of Turkish origin.

The series of events, in which his concerns were grounded and his foresight was proven, are shaped as follows: His writings promote an empathetic style that protects the honor of both peoples through the ideas of establishing neighborly relations between Türkiye and Armenia and opening the border. He also popularizes alternative publications other than the official thesis on the subject with them, which all have been distorted. The articles, misled by local and national media, were reflected to the public as abusing national feelings and values, threatening national integrity and social peace while insulting the Turkish identity. In 2004, the slogans "Love it or leave it!", "Down with the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia!", and "We may come suddenly one night!" were shouted at the door of the Agos Newspaper building, which was already attracting attention with its opponent identity. After all these, he would inevitably be detained and arrested three times, while the managing editor of the newspaper Arat Dink (his son), and the beneficiary Sarkis Seropyan would be detained and arrested once, with a lawsuit filed against them.

Open the border and name the gate 'Hrant Dink Gate' | Agos

This smear campaign was not limited to the period before his death. In addition, the reason why there are so many people who are skeptical about the court decision is the privileges used during the release of his assassin Ogün Samast, even though experts stated that he has shown no signs of remorse. According to the current execution law, even in the highest prison such as aggravated life imprisonment, convicts who spend a certain amount of time in prison can be released 'conditionally' if they behave well. The Board of Administration and Observation evaluates the good behavior of convicts. It examines issues such as "whether the convict complies with the prison rules, whether they’re ready to integrate with society, whether they have a low risk of committing a crime again or harming others.” Samast was able to benefit from that legal good standing assessment. The principal should have taken into account whether he was at low risk of re-offending or harming others when there were a series of facts that he injured three guards and deliberately injured one with a cutting tool during his detention. Moreover, Samast was also about to be sued for membership in an illegal organization because the defendant named the names of Yasin Hayal and Erol Tunceli who encouraged the assassination. There was no certainty about which organization was responsible for it, however, it was about to happen if the case had not been dropped due to the statute of time limitations.

However, it seems that his loved ones will not let go of the case, especially his wife Rakel Dink, who took care of many orphaned Armenian children like him in the past. To end with a quote from Rakel herself, no matter how old he is; 17 or 27, no matter who the killer is, we must remember they were once at tender ages. Nothing is done without questioning the darkness that creates a murderer from a baby.


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