The 'Friends of Hrant' group, formed to bring light into the murder case of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, demanded the government to withdraw its defence recently submitted to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The group criticized the defence regarding the case opened by the Dink family at the Strasbourg court in a written statement.
"We feel ashamed" is the title of the groups statement that requests an apology to the Dink family and an investigation into the preparation and approval of the defence. The group demanded an explanation from the government and all state institutions that were involved in the defence.
The Dink family had applied to the ECHR because of Dink's conviction based on the controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code which bans "insults" to the Turkish state. The Turkish government recently submitted its defence to the international court, accusing Dink of having written "hate speeches" and comparing him with a Nazi leader.
Read the statement of the "Friends of Hrant" group as follows:
We feel ashamed!
We, as the friends of Hrant Dink who was taken from us on 19 January 2007 by a dark murder and who told the truth, were hit once more!
On Saturday, 14 August 2010, Turkey's defence submitted to the ECHR regarding the case opened by the Dink family was published in the newspapers. The defence once more proved that we have no reason to expect justice. The shame we are feeling for three years together with the grief about the loss of our friend has increased once more.
We feel a great discomfort related to the course of events since January 2007. However, of course we are aware of the fact that the court procedures are being lead towards a deadlock, yet we are following it up since we have no other addressee. Of course we are aware that this murder is wanted to be closed by dismissing it as "the reaction of a few nationalist people".
Of course we are aware of the message given by awarding and appointing names like the former Governor of Istanbul Muammer Güler or the former Istanbul Chief of Police Istanbul Celalettin Cerrah to higher positions, instead of interrogating them. They are known to have neglected their duties and have remained silent.
The defendants and the defence lawyers carry on with their threats and racist demeanour inside and outside of the courtroom. [...] We are certainly aware of what the detained defendants who do not know what they are saying are trying to do.
But the point we have reached now has even confused us.
The Government of the Turkish Republic said in its defence submitted to the ECHR regarding the case opened by the Dink family, "Dink insulted "Turkishness" and constituted hate speeches. This kind of writing incites the public to hatred and constitutes a public offence", ""Dink would have applied to the local authorities and would have asked for protection if he had really been under an immediate threat". These are the sentences that paved the way to murder of Hrant Dink!
Dink was sentenced for "insulting Turkishness and provoking the public and the government referred to the case of Nazi leader Kuhnen against the German government as a precedent!
We feel ashamed of the state and the government that submitted the defence since they accuse Hrant Dink instead of prosecuting the public officials who neglected the murder. We feel ashamed of the impudent defence that gives the precedent of a Nazi leader in comparison with Hrant Dink.
The defence of the Turkish Republic submitted to the ECHR is unacceptable. We, as the friends of Hrant Dink, the victims of the Dink murder case, witnesses, observers and citizens of this country demand to immediately withdraw the defence submitted to the ECHR at once and to launch an immediate investigation into the preparation and approval of the defence. We demand an explanation from the government and all state institutions involved in the defence. We request an immediate apology from the state and the government of the Turkish Republic to the Dink family and the people following up this case.