ADAM SCHIFF: ARMENIAN GENOCIDE DENIAL IMPERILS TURKEY'S FUTURE

PanARMENIAN.Net
01.02.2008 17:04 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ This week, Rep. Adam Schiff commemorated slain Agos
editor Hrant Dink in a Congressional Record statement, Rep. Schiff's
spokesman, Mr Sean Oblack told PanARMENIAN.Net.

The statement says,

"Madame Speaker:

"It is with a mixture of anger and sadness that I rise today to honor
the one year anniversary of the murder of Hrant Dink, the courageous
Armenian-Turkish journalist, who was murdered by a Turkish extremist.

"Mr. Dink founded the bilingual newspaper Agos in 1996, giving a voice
to Turkey's Armenians. He acted on his beliefs of building community
and acknowledging the past, for which he was persecuted, prosecuted
and eventually forced to pay the ultimate price. Clearly, however, his
life's work was not in vain; at his funeral, approximately one hundred
thousand people marched behind his coffin, chanting, "We are all Dink.

We are all Armenians."

"Before Mr. Dink's untimely death last January, the Turkish government
constantly tried to limit his freedom of speech. It confiscated copies
of Agos on many occasions and on the flimsiest of pretenses. In 2004,
Mr. Dink wrote an article stating that Turkey's first woman pilot
was an Armenian orphan adopted after 1915. The government convicted
him of insulting "Turkishness" under Article 301 of the Penal Code,
a law specifically designed to prevent discussion of the Armenian
Genocide. He received a six-month suspended sentence. This was just
one of several such prosecutions against Mr. Dink.

"Mr. Dink's courage to confront the historical facts of the Armenian
Genocide cost him his life. He continually received threatening
telephone calls, emails, and letters. He reported this terrorization
to the police, but they failed to protect him. On January 19, 2007
an extreme nationalist teenager shot Mr. Dink three times outside
the Agos offices in Istanbul, killing him. Court hearings continue,
but Mr. Dink's family stated that the investigation of his murder
was conducted in secrecy and is incomplete.

"Turkish prosecutions under Article 301 increased in 2007 and continued
to affect Mr. Dink's family. Arat Dink, his son, published an interview
in which Mr.

Dink said that the 1915 to 1917 Armenian massacres constituted
genocide. Last October Arat Dink received a one year suspended sentence
for publishing this interview. Punishing Mr. Dink's son for publishing
his murdered father's words is a travesty and exposes the lengths to
which Ankara will go to hide the truth about the Armenian Genocide.

"Mr. Dink's death was devastating to the democratic principle of a
free and unfettered press and to the efforts of a handful of Turkish
intellectuals who have been fighting to expose the crimes of Turkey's
Ottoman predecessor. Denying the Armenian Genocide harms Turkey and
imperils the future of this important nation. As the world marks the
anniversary of Dink's murder I reiterate my call for Turkey to honor
the memory of Hrant Dink by repealing Article 301, and to acknowledge
the truth of the Armenian Genocide.

"Together with his family and colleagues, the Armenian community in
Turkey, and his admirers around the world, we remember Hrant Dink,
heroic defender of speech and human rights, on the one-year anniversary
of his murder."