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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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One year on from the murder of Hrant Dink: the ongoing search for justice

Tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of the murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink outside the offices of his newspaper Agos in Istanbul on 19 January 2007.

An outspoken advocate of multiculturalism and human rights in Turkey, Dink had been prosecuted on several occasions for ‘denigrating the Turkish character’ under both the old, and the current Penal Codes. It is widely believed that such prosecutions made him a target for his ultra-nationalist alleged assassins.

One year on, the State’s investigation and trial relating to the murder have proven grossly inadequate. In July 2007, Kurdish Human Rights Project sent a mission to Istanbul to observe the trial of the 19 persons accused of planning and carrying out the killing. The mission uncovered the widespread belief amongst human rights groups that State negligence, and even complicity, had a part in Dink’s murder. Not only does evidence suggest that the authorities had wind of the murder plot and took no action, but, upon reaching the police station after arrest, some police officers posed for photos with the murder suspect in front of the Turkish flag. Given these outstanding issues, there is a strong argument that the investigation should be widened to assess the potential role played by elements of the State, gendarmerie and police in the killing. Thus far, however, the authorities have been reluctant to implicate state officials in their investigations.

In marking the anniversary, KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yildiz stated today: ‘One year on from his untimely death, all of us who work for justice, equality and tolerance in Turkey continue to feel the loss of Hrant Dink. KHRP calls on the Turkish authorities to ensure that all avenues of investigation into the murder are explored, and to ensure that all those responsible for Hrant Dink’s murder, no matter their position, are brought to justice. KHRP further calls on Turkey to repeal laws such as Articles 216, 217,220 and 301 of the Penal Code, which violate Turkish citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and make them the targets of extremists.’