Turkey: Thousands mark slain journalist's anniversary

Prominent journalist Hrant Dink was one of the founders of bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, who was assassinated in 2007

Prominent journalist Hrant Dink was one of the founders of bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, who was assassinated in 2007

ISTANBUL - Thousands of people gathered Monday in Istanbul to commemorate the eighth death anniversary of prominent journalist Hrant Dink.

Dink was one of the founders of bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos. He was assassinated in broad daylight in front of his office in Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007.

The crowd of people, including Dink’s widow Rakel Dink, co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, Selahattin Demirtas, main opposition Republican People's Party’s Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrikulu, lawmaker Safak Pavey, marched from Istanbul’s Taksim Square to Agos newspaper in Sisli district, where Dink was shot dead.

Dink, 52, was a human rights and democracy and he was considered as one of the most prominent Armenian voices in the country.

The crowd chanted "we are all Armenians, we are all Hrant" and "for justice, for Hrant." They also carried banners in Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian and English.

A petition was also initiated to rename the street where Dink was murdered to "Hrant Dink Street."

Police took extra security measures and closed some roads en route to Taksim Square and Sisli district where the Agos newspaper is located.

Turkey’s prominent writer and poet, Murathan Mungan, said the Hrant Dink murder case would not be abandoned. "When justice remains undone, it multiplies its murderers and its victims," Mungan said.

Recalling Dink’s dream to open the border between Armenia and Turkey, he said "if that border were to be opened today, it would mean opening the door to so many other things. The opening of that border will scatter the heavy fog lurking over the Ararat Mountain for the last century."

Armenian government and the diaspora still describe the events of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire as “genocide,” while Turkey officially refutes this description.

Although Dink's murderer, Ogun Samast, who was 17-years-old at the time, was tried and convicted in 2011, Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled in July 2014 that the murder case had been an "ineffective investigation.”

Samast had said he killed Dink for "insulting Turkishness.”

A new case was launched regarding possible negligence by certain officers in Dink’s killing. Some former senior police officers have been questioned and others arrested in an ongoing court case. 

An Istanbul court ordered Monday the arrest of a Turkish police chief, Ercan Demir, who was charged with causing the death of Hrant Dink by "deliberate negligence." 

A Jan. 23 hearing may see Dink’s murderer, Samast, and others involved in the murder being called to the court.

One of Dink’s family lawyers, Hakan Bakircioglu, had told The Anadolu Agency that they were at the bottom of the "structure" that carried out the murder.

"Some officials were aware of the murder… They deliberately did not take protective measures," Bakircioglu said.

Two other gatherings were expected to commemorate Dink's anniversary in Istanbul's Taksim and Kadikoy at 7 p.m. Monday night.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency