His last day had been today
KORAY ÇALIŞKANSix years ago today was the last day Hrant Dink, the slain Armenian-Turkish journalist, lived. He had his last dinner, wrote for the last time and slept, for the last time. He had been targeted since 2002 at an accelerating pace. This was because he was an Armenian, because he went beyond the ordinary and more importantly because he was liked and respected. Before him, there were 61 journalists murdered. We waited for the 62nd like silent lambs.
Then three bullets were fired: One to our wisdom, the other to our conscience, the other to our will to live together. As if putting salt on our horrible wounds, the weapon was slipped into a child’s hand.
This child arrived in Istanbul. His own father turned him in. He was arrested. Those who caught him unfurled their flags, hugged him and posed with him.
Governors, prosecutors and security chiefs sang the same tune in their off-key voices, they were in such organized denial as one.
Security Chief Celalettin Cerrah had issued the first statement while Hrant’s body was still on the ground: “There is no organization behind it. The suspect has committed the crime with nationalistic sentiment.” In other words, he had committed a crime by trying to conceal the crime.
Governor Muammer Güler protected Cerrah, doing everything he could for Cerrah to become a governor, and he was successful. Güler himself was also promoted to the undersecretary in charge of the security and order of the entire country. Now, he is the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) Mardin deputy, dreaming of becoming the Interior Minister one day.
Nihat Ömeroğlu was a member of the Supreme Court of Appeals, General Assembly of Criminal Matters, when the assembly decided to endorse the verdict given to Hrant for insulting the Turkish identity. He later said, “I did not know it was Dink.” If he had signed it without knowing then he is an irresponsible judiciary, if he has signed it knowingly – and this was what happened – then he is part of the process that prepared the murder.
This individual has declared that he does not drink alcohol, does not smoke, believes in advanced democracy and has participated in the “Abant Platform.” He has transformed his biography to look cute in the eyes of the AK Party and the community. He has become our first ombudsman.
Hrant Dink was not one of those who had lost hope in the country, not one of those who said, “You cannot make anything out of this country.” Power first attacks hope. That was the reason they chose Hrant. Whoever listened to Hrant even once would renew his beliefs in this country, in the people of this country, despite all derailments.
Thousands of people have gathered to make Hrant’s voice heard in hope of justice. “Hrant Dink Week” activities can be found on buradayizahparig.net, established by Hrant’s “friends.” Efforts made by Hrant’s Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP), and the newspapers Agos and BirGün should also be noted, as well as the prestigious Hrant Dink Human Rights and Freedom of Expression Conference at Bosphorus University, in which world-renown authors such as Arundhati Roy and Naomi Klein participated. Today at 3 p.m. Noam Chomsky will speak at the 5th Hrant Dink Conference. Those who want to watch can attend or visit www.dha.com.tr/canli-yayin-2/ for a live broadcast. In order not to forget Hrant, don’t let him be forgotten.
Koray Çalışkan is a columnist for daily Radikal in which this piece appeared on Jan. 18. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.