Armenians protest killing of outspoken journalist

Wednesday, January 24, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
JERUSALEM - To chants of “Shame on Turkey” and with mournful nationalist songs, about 100 Armenians from Jerusalem gathered outside the Turkish consulate in Jerusalem on Tuesday to protest the killing of an Armenian journalist in Turkey.

Israel’s Armenians joined thousands of others in the Armenian diaspora worldwide who protested the murder of Hrant Dink, buried Tuesday in Turkey days after being gunned down outside his office. The editor of a bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper, Dink made enemies among nationalist Turks by labeling as genocide the mass killings of Armenians in 1915.

Dink was “a man of peace,” said Serop Sahagian, an Armenian living in Jerusalem.

“He was one of the few Armenians who believed we can have peace with Turkey,” he said.

Christian Manougian said Turkey must protect Armenians living there as Turkish citizens. He said the protests would be a continual thing until Turkey admits and recognizes the Armenian genocide.

Protesters burned the Turkish flag and held signs in English, Arabic and Hebrew to make sure that any passerby got the message. In the Armenian capital, Yerevan, several thousand people gathered in a square, holding posters that read: “Turkey, this is your path to Europe?”

In 1915, 1.5 million Armenians living in Turkey were killed in a genocide led by the government. Adolf Hitler allegedly used the lack of attention the genocide drew as proof that his plans for the Holocaust would succeed. Armenians living in Israel—about 20,000—are upset that the government won’t recognize the genocide because it would jeopardize delicate relations with Turkey.

“We recognize the Jewish Holocaust, how come they don’t recognize ours?” Sahagian asked.

More than 100,000 mourners, both Turkish and Armenian, joined Dink’s funeral procession in Ankara. In 2005 Dink was tried in Istanbul for expressing his views in an article and was convicted of “insulting Turkishness.”

A Turkish reporter covering the Armenian protest in Jerusalem told Israel Today that he knew Dink and was saddened by his death. Mehmet Kamal Firik said he agrees that something tragic occurred with Armenians in 1915, however he believes a genocide was impossible.

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