Showing appreciation

Burbank Leader, CA
Jan 26 2008

Showing appreciation

Hundreds gather together at Burbank Armenian church honoring
journalist killed a year ago in Turkey.

By Chris Wiebe

Several hundred people filled the Nazareth and Sima Kalaydjian Hall
on Friday at the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church to
commemorate the first anniversary of the assassination of journalist
and editor Hrant Dink.

Dink, 53, was fatally shot in Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007, outside the
bilingual Armenian and Turkish newspaper Agos, where he served as
editor. Agos is considered one of the foremost voices for Turkey’s
Armenian population.

The program Friday opened with a slide presentation showing snapshots
of Dink’s life, including several trips to the United States and a
shot of him cradling the Henri Nannen Prize for the Freedom of the
Press.

In some of the photos, Dink was posing in the same room where
mourners celebrated his memory Friday.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe reporter Stephen Kurkjian, who
traveled to Turkey for Dink’s funeral in January 2007, painted a
picture of the scene in Istanbul after the editor’s death, where
Armenians and non-Armenians alike `came out of nowhere’ to celebrate
his memory. advertisement

`The blood was still evident on the ground outside his office,’
Kurkjian said.

`And they were crying out in their tears and their grief, `We’re all
Hrant; we’re all Armenian.”

Nancy Kolligian, president of the National Assn. for Armenian Studies
and Research, called Dink a man who understood the power of the
written word, harnessing `brilliant jewels of thought’ continue to
affect Turkey.

`His courage to express his words for Turkey to advance true
democracy ultimately cost him his life,’ she said.

`However, his accomplishments outweigh his defeats.’

During his life, Dink faced constant threats and intimidation in his
home in Turkey.

He advocated protecting human rights and fostering dialogue and
reconciliation between Turks and Armenians.

Dink’s assassination came two and a half 2 1/2 months after visiting
Glendale in November 2006, during a nationwide speaking tour.

Glendale city officials – including Police Chief Randy Adams, Officer
John Balian, Mayor Ara Najarian and former Councilman Rafi Manoukian
– met with Dink during his visit, discussing crime and politics as
Senior Assistant City Atty. Lucy Varpetian served as a translator.

Dink said he was interested in the life of Armenians in America and
that Armenians in Glendale, which has the largest population of
Armenians in the United States, is an often-discussed topic abroad.

Dink first rose to the international stage in October 2005, when the
Turkish government convicted him on charges of inciting racial hatred
and insulting Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, in an
article about the Armenian genocide.

A court sentenced him to six months in jail but postponed the
sentence, ordering him to serve the time only if he was found guilty
on the charge a second time.

Dink was awaiting a second trial at the time of his death.

Turkish police say nationalist militant Yasin Hayal confessed to
helping coordinate Dink’s murder and recruited the alleged gunman,
Ogun Samast, 17, according to reports.

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