Sunday, January 21, 2007

Armenia from afar 

As I mentioned on the show Saturday, there are protests going on in Turkey after Armenian-Turkish editor and journalist Hrant Dink was shot to death in Istanbul Friday. Doug Muir has a nice tribute. A young man has now confessed to the murder, but the suspicion remains that the 17-year-old was just a triggerman for others.
Pointing to [Ogun] Samast's young age, Dink's lawyer raised the possibility that he might only be a hit man. "The boy might have pulled the trigger, but the authorities should find those who are behind him," Erdal Dogan told the Aksam newspaper. "The state should not just say 'this boy did it' and shut up."

Istanbul's chief prosecutor, Aykut Cengiz Engin, said organized crime units would probe the murder, even though there was no immediate indication that an illegal organization was involved.

Among the detainees was reportedly a friend of Samast, named as Yasin Hayal, who spent 11 months in jail for a 2004 bomb blast outside a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon. Samast said in his initial testimony that Hayal encouraged him to kill Dink and gave him the gun, the Milliyet newspaper said.
Vigils have been held in Armenia and in Turkey, and sharp statements from the Armenian government have made tensions a little stronger than one would hope. The conference last weekend was a time in which we could reflect on a world in which the two countries started healing and learning to live with each other, and Dink's murder is no doubt going to slow that process. But despite hard feelings the fact remains that Armenia and Turkey are neighbors, that a closed border is harmful to Armenia much more than it is to Turkey, that one must find a way out of this mess, and that hoping the EU will get Armenia the recognition and apologies its diaspora want may be little more than wishful thinking. Onnik Krikorian says it well in this comment:
Turkey will only be changed by internal AND external pressure � and that is what we can expect from European intergration and the deaths of many Turks and Kurds, and now an Armenian, at the hands of Turkish nationalists.

Otherwise, I don�t think anybody needs to �use� Dink�s murder to campaign for Genocide Recognition. Just the very fact that a man who stood for peace and reconciliation between Armenian and Turk has been killed because he also spoke about the past does that automatically.