Americans spent yesterday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, Turks commemorated a similar hero, Hrant Dink, whose calls for peace were silenced by the bigotry and intolerance of Turkey’s ultra-nationalist forces. Dink, who was editor-in-chief of the Armenian-Turkish daily, Agos, was assassinated on January 19, 2007. Although today marks the third anniversary of his murder, the investigation has made little progress. Dink’s family, lawyers, and domestic and international human rights organizations spent the day voicing their frustrations with the stalled court case. While the suspected killer and his immediate accomplices have been put on trial, they appear to have been taking orders from the sprawling Ergenekon network. Dink’s lawyers claim that the murder could have been prevented because security personnel were informed beforehand about the plans, suggesting that the operation had ties to the security forces. Indeed, the Dink murder seems to be connected with the extensive Cage Operation Action Plan, which sought to intimidate Turkey’s non-Muslims and assassinate prominent figures in the hopes of undermining the ruling Justice and Development party. Thus, those ultimately responsible for this assassination plot have yet to be indicted.
Today, as people all over the world mourn the loss of Hrant Dink, one can only hope that this shifting balance of power will undermine those who obstruct Turkey’s democratic progression.