Rakel Dink, who made the opening speech of the "Minority Rights in the Centennial of the Republic" conference organized by the Hrant Dink Foundation, touched upon the release of Ogün Samast, the perpetrator of the Hrant Dink murder, 16 years and 10 months after the assassination. Rakel Dink said, "Our quest of justice in Hrant’s case has never been that this or that person is given three or five years more or less. Since day one, we said this darkness should be questioned. We said delivering justice in this case is essential to the democratization of this country. In the wake of what happened, how can we possibly wish that this decision brings all the best to our country?"
Here is the speech of Rakel Dink
Today and tomorrow, we will be here to discuss Minority Rights in the Centennial of the Republic. As you are all aware, they released the person whom they say was the assassin of Hrant. Once again, they threw the injustice onto our face and sent us back to the bitterest days of mourning. Once again, they reminded us that “It is impossible to talk about minority rights in Turkey without talking about Hrant’s assassination.”
Of course we are well aware of where we live and how we live. For many years, we have been breathing the same air with the assassins. We already know that the assassins of my Chutak (Hrant Dink) are among us.
Don’t we know that we continue to breathe the same air with the assassins of Sabahattin Ali, İlhan Erdost, Zeki Tekiner, Doğan Öz, Uğur Mumcu and Musa Anter, with those who organized the massacre of Sivas?
Yet another gunman has now joined these assassins who never got punished.
Don’t we know that Saturday Mothers have to walk the same streets with the murderers of their loved ones while their missing relatives are still denied a graveyard?
Didn’t Hrant know where he was living in? They were torturing him as they tried to label him as “an enemy of the Turk”. He was crying out his state of mind as a member of the minority when he described it as “Dovish disquiet” or “A Lyrical Solitude”…
Of course there is a symbolic meaning behind the assassin roaming free today, just as he walked freely on the streets on the day of the assassination… They forcibly remind the realities of the country in its centennial to those who tend to forget and those who do not even see.
The gunman who assassinated Hrant is free while Osman Kavala is behind bars..
The instigators are free while dearest Çiğdem is behind bars..
Those who targeted Hrant are free while our lawyers are behind bars..
Some days, it gets more difficult to live here. We cannot pretend that it is first time the Court of Cassation came up with such a nonsense. We cannot pretend that it’s not the very same Court that broke the pen of my Chutak. As if it isn’t the same Court that keeps Osman, Çiğdem and their friends in prison. “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike and abomination to the Lord.”
We are expected to respect these decisions while those in power do not abide by the laws they passed. Our quest of justice in Hrant’s case has never been that this or that person is given three or five years more or less. Since day one, we said this darkness should be questioned. We said delivering justice in this case is essential to the democratization of this country. In the wake of what happened, how can we possibly wish that this decision brings all the best to our country?
Nowadays we are talking about “state terror” and “genocide” very often, and very rightly so. Yet, we cannot pretend as if these events have never happened in our country. Today, as always, we seek refuge in reason, science, and conscience as we go through our indignation with perseverance. Today, we will listen to academic papers, articles and narratives supported by many historical documents.
We are trying to transform and improve where we live for a better country and a better world. This is the only way we know for a dignified life. Even if we can achieve much less than we desire, we will continue and do better every day to enlighten this darkness.
Thank you very much for all your efforts and being here with us.