Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu paid a visit to the memorial museum of the assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, meeting with Dink’s late wife Rakel and daughter Delal and leaving a note on a message panel with the words “everything will be just fine,” which was the mayor’s campaign slogan and message of hope during the local elections last year.
Dink, who was editor-in-chief of the weekly Agos, a paper focused on Armenian-issues that publishes in both Turkish and Armenian, was gunned down outside the newspaper’s office on a main street in the central district of Şişli in 2007.
Hrant Dink was a respected if controversial figure who had been deeply invested in improving relations between Turks and Armenians. Before his death, he had said he feared for his life. One particularly controversial article he penned claimed that Sabiha Gökçen, an iconic fighter pilot and adopted daughter of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, had Armenian roots.
Prior to his killing, Dink was being prosecuted on charges of insulting Turkishness” under the infamous article 301, which has been used to target many prominent critics of the state, including the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk.
Many question marks loom over the affair, including whether or not different police departments knew about plans in advance and effectively failed to prevent the assassination. Police suspects have accused other branches in the police force for failing to act even after having been informed about the plot to kill Dink. One police suspect arrested in the case alleged that evidence was destroyed as part of an attempted cover up by other police forces to conceal their connections to the murderers.
Hrant Dink’s shooter, then 17-year-old Ogun Yamast, was later photographed side by side with police while holding a Turkish flag, and a former gendarmerie testified in the ongoing trial last year that the instructions for the photograph, which later leaked to the press, were given from above.
In 2015, the Hrant Dink foundation was established, and together with the Agos newspaper moved into a new building in a different neighborhood of the Şişli district. After a four-year process, Dink’s memory museum opened in the building in January of 2019.
“When I was invited by the foundation I found out that there this museum. The late Hrant Dink in my opinion was a very important and valuable voice of our society. Unfortunately he was murdered. This was a extremely painful event from the perspective of our history and country, and we feel this pain whenever we hear his name,” İmamoğlu said.