Hrant Dink (1954 - 2007)

journalist who promoted dialogue and reconciliation between Turks and Armenians

Born on 15 September 1954 in Malatya, in the heart of Anatolia, at the age of seven Hrant moved to Istanbul with his family. After attending Armenian schools, he graduated first with a degree in zoology and later in philosophy.
In 1996 he founded "Agos" (The Furrow), a bilingual newspaper for Istanbul’s Armenian community. From the columns of this paper he tirelessly advocated reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and between Turkey and Armenia.
Despite his efforts, Dink fell foul of the infamous clause 301 of the Turkish penal code and ended up in court in October 2004 for “denigrating Turkishness” a charge that earned him a six-month suspended jail sentence.
On 19 January 2007 he was shot dead by an assassin as he was leaving his "Agos" office.
Dink had been aware of the danger he was in, but had always refused to leave Istanbul. “I will not leave this country”, he had declared in a Reuters interview just a few months before his death, “if I left I would feel that I had abandoned all those who are struggling for democracy. It would be a betrayal and I just won’t go”.
Over two thousand people took to the streets in Istanbul to protest against his assassination. “We are all Armenians, we are all Hrant Dink", they chanted as they gathered in Taksim Square in the heart of the city and then proceeded to the offices of Dink’s newspaper in the Sisli quarter.
Some raised signs with the words "My dear brother " in Turkish, Armenian and English. In Ankara 700 people, including numerous trade unionists and human rights activists, held a sit-in to condemn the assassination.
An estimated one hundred thousand mourners attended Dink’s funeral, most of them Turks.

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