Journalists Killed


Hrant Dink

World Press Freedom Hero (Honoured in 2007)

Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, was murdered on 19 January 2007 in Istanbul. He had received numerous death threats from Turkish nationalists who viewed his journalism, particularly on the mass killings of Armenians in the early 20th century, as treacherous.

A well-known Turkish-Armenian editor and columnist, Dink was shot twice in the head and once in the neck by a 17-year-old Turkish nationalist, Ogün Samast, outside the offices of the newspaper he founded in 1996.

Dink had faced legal problems for denigrating "Turkishness" under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code in his articles about the massacre of Armenians during the First World War. In July 2006, he lost an appeal over a suspended six-month prison sentence handed down for violating Article 301. His prosecution stemmed from an article in 2004 about the 1915-17 massacres of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire. Aside from this criminal case, Dink was also facing prosecution for a second article condemning his conviction.

Born on 15 September 1954, Dink was best-known for reporting on human and minority rights in Turkey and for advocating Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. In a February 2006 interview, he said he hoped his reporting would pave the way for peace between the two peoples. "I want to write and ask how we can change this historical conflict into peace," he said.

At his funeral on 23 January, 100,000 people marched in protest of his assassination, chanting, "We are all Armenians" and "We are all Hrant Dink." Since his death, calls for the repeal of Article 301 have become increasingly vocal.

The Dink murder trial opened in Istanbul on 2 July. 18 people were charged in connection with his assassination.