The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the killing of Hrant Dink, an outspoken Turkish-Armenian journalist, who they say has fallen victim to a “culture of intolerance” in Turkey which made him the target of nationalist extremists.
Dink, the editor of the newspaper Agos, was shot outside his offices in Istanbul. Just over a year ago he was given a six-month suspended sentence in October 2005 after writing about the Armenian "genocide" of 1915.
The Turkish Journalists’ Union also condemned the murder saying, “This attack has targeted directly the freedom of press and expression. It is a profoundly provocative political murder. It will not be enough to find only the killers. It is an obligation of Turkey to bring also those who planned and agitate this attack to justice.”
The IFJ is supporting its affiliate’s call for action.
“This man has been the target of abuse and threats ever since he dared to express an opinion that challenges an established orthodoxy,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “It is scandalous that he appears to have become the victim of a culture of intolerance that remains deeply rooted in parts of society.”
Dink, 53, was a prominent Armenian voice and had received threats from nationalists who viewed him as a traitor, according to local news reports. He had expressed concern over what he described as the hatred some Turks had for him.
His wrote about what Armenians say was the massacre by Ottoman Turks of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in 1915. However, Turkey strongly denies any genocide, and says the deaths were a consequence of World War One.
“This is a great tragedy for journalism. The loss of a committed journalist touches us all,” said White. “But the impact of this killing goes beyond deep personal loss and strikes at the heart of free expression rights and the quality of democratic exchange in Turkey.”
The IFJ’s Turkish affiliate, Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS), issued its statement on behalf of the Turkish media community. The statement from the Turkish Journalist Union is available here:
For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide