Today Would Have Been Hrant Dink’s 60th Birthday
ISTANBUL (Tert.am)—Hrant Dink, Chief Editor of the Agos monthly, the only Armenian-Turkish periodical published in Turkey, would have turned 60 on Monday.
In an interview with Tert.am, Chief Editor of Turkey’s Marmara daily Rober Hattechian said that Hrant Dink was able to get the Armenian Cause on the Turkish agenda. By speaking of the Armenian Cause bravely on numerous occasions, he made Turkish intellectuals think of the Armenian Cause, whereas they had not had their own stance on the issue before.
“I think that was Hrant Dink’s greatest service. And during that period he made both friends and enemies, who were concerned over his speeches. That was actually the cause of his tragic fate. Dink used to make quite interesting statements, and I can frankly say that I did not agree with all of his conceptions. But sometimes he would prepare such materials – no one else would ever think of – that I would have been happy to write further articles about that in my newspaper,” Hattechian said.
Hattechian recalls Hrank Dink’s statements that had the greatest impact on him.
“Once, he said: ‘Yes, we have our eyes set on the Turkish land – not to capture it, but to lie under it.’ That was a rather symbolic word, and I should say that our wish is not only to lie under, but also to live a happy life in this land. We want justice, but Dink’s word had a different meaning, and it evoked wide response. And now many newspapers writing about him have to quote his words because they had a great impact on public opinion in Turkey.”
As to whether any Turkish intellectuals are continuing Hrank Dink’s cause, Hattechyan said that some Armenian young people can continue Dink’s cause in Turkey with zeal.
On the other hand, Tiran Loqmagozian, who once worked for Agos, told Tert.am that he does not see any person in Turkey who could be a second Hrant Dink.
“The problem is that many people are making use of Hrant’s name, even people espousing fascist ideologies are making use of his thoughts. I am speaking of both Armenians and Turks. But I think they do not have even little in common with Hrant,” he said.
Regarding Hrant Dink’s impact on public opinion in Turkey, Loqmagozian said that he did not have any serious impact on Turkey’s 70-million-strong population. However, he did have serious impact on certain circles, making them change their opinion on the Armenian Cause.
“He changed something with his death. That is, things progressed more rapidly. But if he lived on, he would have been able to get something changed for a longer period. I would like to note that Hrant Dink did not speak of Armenians’ problems alone. As a humanist, he spoke of Turks’ problems as well. By means of his newspaper he would defend the rights of the afflicted. He was a straightforward person. He did not think of what he was saying and where and thus made enemies in certain circles. On the other hand, he made many friends.”
Loqmagozian noted that many other people spoke of the problems existing in Turkey as well. However, Hrant Dink was an Armenian, and his voice was better heard.
“No Armenian had been so outspoken since the Armenian Genocide. He thought that he could speak out because he was saying the truth. He thought Turkey was changing, but, unfortunately, we have seen nothing is changing. He was an Armenian and a citizen of Turkey and he wanted Turkey to become a democratic country, where both Turks and Armenians would live a good life. He was always focused on the Armenian Cause and used to speak of that.”
One of Hrant Dink’s most important thoughts was: “This is Genocide, even if, back in 1915, you had transported Armenians by gold airplanes. You cut the people from its roots.”