Linked with Hrant Dink – Turkey (September 15, 1954 – January 19, 2007).
By Hrant Dink, (his latest editorial, in french in AGOS Newspaper 10 January 2007), translated in english by F.M. Gocek, published on collectifVan.org, January 20, 2007).
excerpt: … I was certain that a lawsuit would not be filed at the end of the investigation. I was sure of myself. But surprise! A lawsuit was filed.
But I still did not lose my optimism.
So much so that at a television show that I joined live, I even told the lawyer [Kemal] Kerincsiz who was accusing me “that he should not get his hopes too high, that I was not going to be smacked with any sentence from this lawsuit, and that I would leave this country if I received a sentence.” I was sure of myself because I truly had not had in my article any premeditation or intention – not even a single iota – to denigrate Turkishness. Those who read the entirety of my collection of articles would understand this very clearly.
As a matter of fact, the report prepared by the three faculty members from Istanbul University who had been appointed by the court as experts stated exactly that. There was no reason for me to get troubled, there would certainly be a return from the wrongful path [of the lawsuit] at one stage of the proceedings or the other.
So I kept asking for patience…
But there was no such return.
The prosecutor asked for a sentence in spite of the expert report. The judge then sentenced me to six months in prison. When I first heard about my sentence, I found myself under the bitter pressure of the hopes I had nurtured all along the process of the lawsuit. I was bewildered… My disappointment and rebellion were at their pinnacle.
I had resisted for days and months saying “just you wait for this decision to come out and once I am acquitted, then you will all be so repentant about all that you have said and written.”
In covering every hearing of the lawsuit, the newspapers items, editorials and television programs all referred to how I had said that “the blood of the Turk is poisonous.” Each and every time, they were adding to my fame as “the enemy of the Turk.” At the halls of the court, the fascists physically attacked me with racist curses.
They bombarded me with insults on their placards. The threats reaching hundreds that kept hailing for months through phones, e-mail and letters kept increasing each time.
And I persevered through all this with patience awaiting the decision for acquittal. Once the legal decision was announced, the truth was going to prevail and all these people would be ashamed of what they had done.
My only weapon was my sincerity. But here the decision was out and all my hopes were crushed. From then on, I was in the most distressed situation that a person could possibly be in.
The judge had made a decision in the name of the “Turkish nation” and had it legally registered that I had “denigrated Turkishness.” I could have persevered through anything except this.
According to my understanding, racism was the denigration by anyone of a person they lived alongside with on the basis of any difference, ethnic or religious and there was not any way in which this could ever be forgiven.
Well it was in this psychological state that I made the following declaration to the members of the media and friends who were at my doorstep trying to confirm “as to whether I would leave this country as I had indicated earlier:”
“I shall consult with my lawyers. I will appeal at the supreme court of appeal and will even go to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. If I am not cleared through any one of these processes, then I shall leave my country. Because according to my opinion, someone who has been sentenced with such a crime does not have the right to live alongside the citizens whom he has denigrated.” (Read the whole long on collectifVan.org, January 20, 2007).