January 20, 2007


We, the members of Yerevan Press Club, are shocked to the depth of our hearts by the assassination of a well-known journalist, the Chief Editor of “Agos” newspaper Hrant Dink. This abominable act is directed against freedom of expression, democracy, the normalization of Armenian -Turkish relations. It is yet another sign of numerous dark, regressive, cruel forces that do not wish our region to advance in its development.

Hrant devoted his journalistic and public activities to fighting for the human right to express ideas freely; to overcoming the traditional stereotypes that hinder people from communicating, understanding and loving each other. He found it equally unacceptable to hush down the crime of the Turkish government against its Armenian population in 1915 and to introduce criminal charges for denial of Armenian genocide, as in the draft approved by the French parliament. Being one of the few people in Turkey who dared to speak of genocide, Hrant Dink qualified the punishment of anyone holding contrary views as a human rights infringement. He was one of the people seen as the symbol of Turkey’s regeneration – a controversial process, encountering powerful resistance to change and numerous internal and external obstacles.

People like Hrant, who seek to overcome the fear and complexes in themselves and those around, people who are open for everything new and good, are the most defenseless. His murder, as well as his previous political and court persecution by Turkish authorities, come to confirm this sad truth. Seeing the unrivaled scale of outcry in the world and in Turkey itself to the killing of our colleague, one cannot help to think of the paradox: the society reacts most painfully and with a certain sense of guilt to the loss of those its members, who, in their service to truth and justice, were most vulnerable and did not receive the due empathy and support during their lifetime. Let this be another lesson for all the countries, where journalists are killed, abused and harassed.

Feeling tremendous sorrow, we cannot but express our regret over a number of statements. Their authors are trying to use the Istanbul tragedy to disseminate ideas, alien to Hrant Dink, thus being disrespectful to his memory. The assassination of a journalist and a public figure is certainly a consequence of political collisions in Turkish society, and we call to oppose to using it for deepening incomprehension and hostility.

We want to believe that the values Hrant Dink stood for, the aims he strove for will find more and more supporters in Turkey, Armenia, in whole of our region. Yerevan Press Club has always been and will always be among them.