By Appo K. Jabarian (via listserv)
Managing Editor / Executive Publisher
USA Armenian Life Magazine
As several world political, religious and other civic leaders condemn the January 19, 2007 Turkish premeditated murder of an innocent Armenian journalist Hrant Dink (1954-2007), many optimists expressed hope that as a result, a blanket positive change will take place in what is now Turkey. They believe that Dink’s assassination will automatically result into a positive change.
Other observers anticipate that the original perpetrators and their denialist descendants will continue their genocidal campaign in denialism with an unpunished deadly devotion to keeping the loot: the forcibly occupied Armenian lands of Western Armenia and Cilicia, and the Greek lands of Constantinople, Smyrna, Troy, Pontus and Northern Cyprus.
Setting my disagreements with the late fellow journalist Dink aside, I consider him as the newest Armenian martyr of the Armenian Genocide. Yes, we did have our disagreements, yet we were in complete harmony with the noble goal of seeing a transformed Turkish society that would ultimately atone itself by genuinely repenting its 1915-1923 genocidal crime against the Armenian nation; by making honest amends to the Armenian people.
When this writer had asked him during his October 2006 visit in Los Angeles about his position on the issue of the Turkish-occupied Armenian lands, Dink had swiftly replied: “I’m living on these lands.” In my opinion, that is one of the root reasons why the extremist Turks have encouraged a young Turk to annihilate Dink. The Turkish “Deep State” is more concerned with losing much more than their monopoly of power. They are fearful of “losing” their loot from the Armenians: the historic lands of Western Armenia and Cilicia, and personal and real properties confiscated from the Armenians.
In a January 22 article titled “A ‘Trabzon Legend’ Gave The Orders To Kill Hrant Dink,” the Turkish daily Hurriet wrote: “Yasin Hayal, the man now suspected of giving the orders to 17 year old Ogun Samast to murder journalist Hrant Dink. His ultra-nationalist rhetoric focused on what he perceived as ‘enemies of the state,’ and he told the disaffected youth who spent time with him that it was ‘their duty’ to see to the punishment of those who ‘insulted Turkey.’ … Hayal reportedly admitted ‘I gave the gun and the money to Ogun Samast. I am angry at the things which are happening in this country. The state is doing nothing to the people who are against Turkey. Which is why I gave Ogun this job. He carried out his duty successfully, and he helped rescue Turkey’s honor.'”
In a January 23 article titled “Armenia haunts the Turks again,” Hugh Pope of the Los Angeles Times wrote: “Dink, who was repeatedly threatened by such nationalists, was left unprotected, but not just by the Turkish police. Bad laws, malevolent prosecutions and a growing nationalist hysteria helped create a lynch mob atmosphere. What killed Dink, in short, is the Turkish republic’s inability to deal with the Armenian issue ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â the charge that its predecessor state, the Ottoman Empire, killed 1.2 million Armenian men, women and children in a genocide that began in 1915.”
Even the succeeding and currently ruling Turkish Republic under Mustafa Kemal continued its predecessor Ottoman Turkey’s genocidal campaign killing additional hundreds of thousands of innocent Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and Arabs, and others.
Pope continued: “Official Turkey is stuck in a rut of denial. Discussing the great omissions on the subject in Turkey’s public education remains taboo. Efforts to open archives and to ‘leave it to the historians’ lead to dead ends, partly because a scholarly debate won’t assuage diaspora Armenians who demand formal acknowledgment of the genocide, and partly because of Turkey’s anti-free-speech laws ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â most notoriously Penal Code Article 301, with its catchall penalties for ‘denigrating Turkishness. ‘ ”
There is righteous Turkishness embodied by individuals like Orhan Pamuk, Ahmed Ertegun and others that deserves to be honored. And there is brut Turkish denialism that needs to be condemned and discouraged.
There are genuine followers of Turkish Holy Islam that are worthy of our respect, because they are the conscience of humane Turk in the very footsteps of their forefathers who saved many Armenians from annihilation, and undoubtedly would have done everything to protect and save Dink’s life.
And there are those Turks who masquerade as ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…“nationalistsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â, yet they are usurpers of Armenians’ lands, and desecrators of the Armenian churches and mutilators of the truth, just like those denialist leaders in Ankara and elsewhere who have been doing everything to intimidate Dink and others into silence through acts of repression and deadly denialism – just like it happened on Friday January 19 in front of Dink’s Agos weekly offices; an act that cut short an “agos” (water furrow) for truth, democracy and justice.