Hrant Dink Foundation receives death threat

The Hrant Dink Foundation said in a written statement that on 27-28 May 2020 they had received a written death threat via email which included the phrase ‘We may turn up one night, when you least expect it’, a slogan used boastfully in certain circles, and the very same slogan people were well used to hearing before Hrant Dink was so publicly assassinated, and with the knowledge of official bodies, on 19 January 2007.

According to the statement, the threat accuses the Hrant Dink Foundation of telling ‘tales of fraternity’, demands the Foundation to leave the country and threatens Hrant’s wife Rakel Dink and the foundation’s lawyer with death. The Foundation said that have duly notified the Şişli Police Headquarters and the Istanbul Governorship in writing.

The statement by the Hrant Dink Foundation continued: “The recent rise in unconstrained hate speech and racist, discriminatory discourse only serves to trigger, encourage and instigate such horrendous attitudes. It is the duty and responsibility of all actors engaged in politics in Turkey to work towards ensuring equality, freedom and justice for all citizens. We therefore believe that it is our duty to share this statement with the public to remind the authorities of their responsibilities and to emphasize the serious nature of the climate that has been created.”

The statement recalled that: “The Hrant Dink Foundation was established in 2007 to contribute to a just, free and equal Turkey; since then we have been doing all we can to work towards achieving these goals. We at the Hrant Dink Foundation would like to publicly announce that we will continue to combat discrimination in pursuit of our dream of a country that embraces difference, where all can live together peacefully, and where freedom of expression prevails.”

BACKGROUND

Hrant Dink was murdered 13 years ago, in front of the former publishing building of the Armenian weekly newspaper Agos. The editor, who had been persecuted by nationalist forces in society and the judiciary for years, was shot dead in the street on 19 January 2007.

Dink had written and spoken at length about the 1915 Armenian Genocide. He was well known for his efforts for reconciliation between Turks and Armenians.

At the time of his death, he was on trial for violating Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and “denigrating Turkishness”.

The murderer of Hrant Dink was caught shortly after the assassination and later convicted. The masterminds of the state apparatus have still not been brought to justice.

Şeref Ateş, one of those accused in the case, was killed in the city of Düzce two months ago.

A former intelligence officer of the gendarmerie (military police), Ateş was released from prison in December 2017 after getting arrested in the case of the slain journalist.

According to media reports, Ateş was targeted by an armed attack while driving his car in the Çavuşlar neighborhood late last night.