Sunday, 11 November 2007


Erol Onderoglu

Bıa news centre
07 Kasım 200

The Sisli 2nd Penal Court has sentenced Agos editor-in-chief AratDink, son of murdered journalist Hrant Dink, and licence holder Serkis Seropyan to one year imprisonment each under Article 301. The sentences were deferred.

Court took "history" lessons

In its twenty-page decree the court referred to the events of 1915, saying, "If what the defendants had accused the Turks of doing was a historical truth, then their actions would have been legal"; thus, the court found it necessary to study history books itself and create its own opinion of what happened in the past.

Citing controversial Yusuf Halacoglu's book "From Exile to Genocide 2007", the court referred to historical contributions Armenians had made to Ottoman society and the fact that "there was an increase in education and teaching possibilities for Armenians".


Stating that the Armenians had been preparing for an armed uprising against the Ottomans, and giving examples of armed attacks from 1895 to 1915, the court then said that the Armenians were transferred to Syria and Mosul in Northern Iraq.

The court further asked, "When, during World War I, the allies attacked German cities with air attacks, does that count as a genocide? And nuclear experiments held under oceans and ...[unreadable] resulting earthquakes, mass deaths, are they counted as scientific genocides?"

"Limitation of freedom of expression justified"

The court stated that the constitution and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) allowed for a limitation of the freedom of expression in order to "protect national security, territorial unity or public safety, guarantee the law and prevent crimes":

"There are ECHR precendents which have deemed French legislation on freedom of expression regarding the extermination of Jews inappropriate; and the Jews in Europe never armed themselves against their own state, never united with the armies of other states, never
massacred people in villages in the mountains and deep valleys, in province and district towns."

The court thus reached the conclusion that the accusation of genocide was unfair and "aimed at destroying the Turkish public order".

Great Lawyers' Union filed complaint

The court case had been opened following a complaint by Recep Akkusof the nationalist Great Lawyers' Union about an interview which Hrant Dink had done with the Reuters News Agency.

In the interview, Hrant Dink had said, "We see that with these events a people who have lived on this soil for 4,000 years are not there anymore." A further article called "A Vote against 301", which had been written about Hrant Dink's deferred six-month sentence for a series of articles on "Armenian identity" and the protest of the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) against this sentence, was also punished. After Hrant Dink's murder, the charges against him were dropped, but his son Arat Dink and licence holder Seropyan were still on trial.

No other newspaper on trial...

Other newspapers had also quoted Hrant Dink's statements, such as the Yeni Cag newspaper (six days before Agos) in an article entitled "Dink Has Not Been Brought to Senses after Appeals Court Decision", the Cumhuriyet newspaper (two days before Agos) in an article entitled "New Investigation into Dink", and the Tercuman newspaper in an article with a similar title.

Family is still threatened

Meanwhile, many news sites have reported that Arat Dink is preparing to leave Turkey for Belgium with his wife and two children. It is said that he is leaving his post at Agos and, reacting to the many threats he and his family are receiving, moving abroad. The Dink family has said that this is a temporary measure. (EO/AG)

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