ISTANBUL – In a march in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul, about forty thousand people commemorated the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, who was assassinated exactly five years ago on Thursday. There was a lot of anger about the verdict of the judge last Tuesday, when he classified the murder as an act of individuals, rather than as an organized crime of people with ties with the state. People cried out for justice.
Rakel Dink, the widow of Hrant, walked at the front of the march from the central Taksim square to the office of Agos, the Turkish and Armenian language paper of which Dink was editor in chief. The main protest slogan hadn’t changed in five years: ‘We are all Hrant Dink, we are all Armenian’. But another slogan was added; ‘Murder state, you will have to take responsibility!’
The verdict of the judge is problematic for several reasons. In the five years since the murder it became clear that those who ordered the murder had ties with people within, for example, the police apparatus, and that several people in responsible positions were informed about the murder forehand but didn’t take action to prevent it. The legal process, however, was so effectively frustrated by them and by state institutions that these ties couldn’t be legally proved. This reduced the faith in the justice system of the Dink family and of many Turks to a minimum.
Several government representatives and even president Gül have asked for patience from the public, because the legal means to convict the perpetrators are not yet exhausted. An appeal is indeed possible, but there is a chance that it will lead to the freedom of Yasin Hayal, the one perpetrator who was sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday: for a non-organized crime the remand can not exceed five years.