Washington, D.C. - Today marks the 15th anniversary of journalist, intellectual, and human rights advocate Hrant Dink's assassination. The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) commemorates his meaningful life and impactful advocacy work, and remembers him as a champion of human rights, freedom of speech, equality, and democracy. As Editor-in-Chief of the bilingual Armenian-Turkish weekly newspaper Agos, which is published in Istanbul, Dink was tried for "denigrating Turkish identity" and convicted of "insulting Turkishness" under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, stemming from a series of columns that he wrote in 2004 about the Armenian Genocide. Despite death threats, numerous physical assault attempts, and racist protests in front of the Agos office, Dink continued to speak out and refused to leave his native Turkey, a country which "failed to protect him, violating his right to life," according to the European Court of Human Rights' ruling in 2010. In the days before his death, Dink penned his final column and recounted increasing threats surrounding him: "The accusations will continue, and new ones will come forth. Who knows how many injustices I will have to endure. But as these things happen, I will find reassurance in the fact that, while I may view my current state of mind, my current state of soul, as being marked by the disquiet characteristic of doves, I know that in this country, nobody ever hurts doves." Nine days later, on January 19, 2007, the 52-year-old Dink was assassinated in broad daylight, on the sidewalk in front of the Agos office. A gunman and associates were arrested and tried, though drawn out court procedures pointed to a broader conspiracy that remains unsolved. Alarmingly, Turkey has only escalated its suppression of independent media and journalists over the past decade. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Turkey ranks second after China in jailing journalists, and accounts for one-third of all journalists imprisoned around the world.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.