Feb 5, 2007
On January 19, the journalist Hrant Dink, an Armenian who raised the genocide of the Armenians during World War I and denounced far right nationalism and the Turkish authorities, was assassinated in the middle of Istanbul in broad daylight in front of his newspaper office.
In the hours following Dink’s assassination, radio and TV stations announced the news, and several thousand people spontaneously rallied in downtown Istanbul. The next day, an enormous demonstration took place in Istanbul, with 100,000 people covering three square miles. There were similar protests in other major cities. Many people were moved by the appeals of Dink’s wife for fraternity between people. The crowds cried, “We are all Armenians, Kurds and Turks” and “We are all Dinks.”
In fact, the assassination of Dink is added to an increasing number of death threats and assassinations, especially against Kurds, carried out by the far right and thugs with shadowy ties to police and government.
Faced with a public outcry, the government authorities were forced to arrest the assassin. In the past, the police had refused to even take the testimony of an eye witness to the attack.
The assassin, Ogun Samast, is a 17-year-old youth, the unemployed son of a poor family. He hung out with a far-right group tied to Veli Küçük. It’s clear he acted on behalf of someone. This penniless youth had just taken five round trips by plane.
Given these facts and pictures published in the press, the government arrested six more people tied to the far right. The government also fired a local official in a city known as a far-right stronghold, where there had recently been lynchings of far-left militants and the assassination of a priest by a youth, a crime that very much resembled the Dink assassination.
In fact, the majority of the population believes Dink’s assassination is the work of the “shadow forces,” that is, the secret services and death squads organized inside the police, who enjoy the complicity of the entire state apparatus.
Prime Minister Erdogan declared several days after the assassination that these “shadow forces” have existed since the Ottoman empire and that it was necessary to “reduce them to the minimum and if possible eliminate them.” This was an attempt to avoid his responsibility in the matter. As head of the government, Erdogan covers up for the actions of an entire section of the state apparatus that is infiltrated by the far right and paramilitary organizations.