'Not forgotten': Protesters seek justice for slain Turkish-Armenian journalist

Fulya OZERKAN
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'Not too late to be ashamed'

Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday outside the former offices of Agos newspaper in Istanbul where Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was murdered 13 years ago, a killing which sent shockwaves across the country.

Dink was shot dead with two bullets to the head in broad daylight in central Istanbul on January 19, 2007, by a then 17-year-old jobless high-school dropout.

The 52-year-old Dink was editor-in-chief of Turkish-Armenian bilingual weekly Agos and a fierce advocate of reconciliation between Turks and Armenians.

His death became a wider scandal after it was discovered that security forces were aware of the murder plot, but failed to act.

"For Hrant, for justice," the crowds chanted in Istanbul. "We have not forgotten and we will not let it be forgotten."

A giant picture of Dink was hanging outside the former building of Agos weekly, embellished with slogans reading: "It is not late to be ashamed" and "This case will not be over before we say it is over."

Hakan, one of the supporters who joined the mourning, lamented that the murder had remained unsolved for 13 years.

"Hrant was killed here 13 years ago. For 13 years they haven't shed light on his death," he told AFP.

"We won't stop following Hrant's murderers. Whether they shed light on this or not, as Hrant's brothers, we will continue to be here."

Another supporter, Seyit Dogan, said: "There are courthouses in this country but there is nothing in the name of justice."

Turkish police heightened security and blocked the street where the commemoration was being held to traffic.

After the ceremony, carnations were laid on the sidewalk where Dink was shot dead.

- Letters from prison -

"Your hope and dreams are our legacy" was the headline of Agos on the 13th anniversary of Dink's assasination. The newspaper also published letters from Turkish businessman Osman Kavala, well-known author Ahmet Altan and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas -- the three of them are in jail, in memory of the late journalist.

"Me and those who have been unfairly put behind bars have lost our freedom for a while; Hrant has lost his life because of what he wrote and what he said," Kavala said in his letter.

"On our own and together, we will keep demanding justice for Hrant, for the murdered honorable people of this country and for everyone," he said.

A respected intellectual and a philanthripist, Kavala charged with overthrowing the government is chairman of the Anatolian Culture Foundation, which seeks to bridge ethnic and regional divides through art, including with neighbouring Armenia, with which Turkey has no diplomatic ties.

Altan accused of ties to the 2016 attempted coup plotters, wrote: "Some people decided in secret rooms that he was 'guilty'. The first biggest crime of Hrant was that he told Turkey an Armenian was a human and an Armenian was as acceptable as a Turk."