Journalist Abdi İpekçi commemorated on 45th anniversary of assassination

Friends, family, and colleagues of assassinated journalist Abdi İpekçi commemorated him on the 45th anniversary of his death. The left-wing journalist was murdered in 1979 by Mehmet Ali Ağca, although the circumstances of the assassination were never revealed. 

Duvar English

Friends, family, and colleagues of assassinated journalist Abdi İpekçi on Feb. 1 commemorated the 45th anniversary of his death. In her speech, daughter Nükhet İpekçi İzet drew attention to the political assassinations shrouded in mystery in Turkey, according to reporting by Demirören News Agency (DHA).

“It is as if we are watching a show with heroic murderers, courageous hatchet men, usurper snipers, and deranged individuals. They sometimes conceal their faces, sometimes their names…” daughter İpekçi said. 

İpekçi was the Editor-in-Chief of the Milliyet newspaper when he was killed in an armed attack on Feb. 1, 1979, while he was trying to reach home in his car in Istanbul. 

Daughter İpekçi demanded clarity regarding the many assassinations like her father's and criticized authorities for not properly investigating these murders. “Our long-shared fate is destroyed evidence and eyewitness reports, suspects detained and released at whims, the statute of limitations,” she addressed families of other victims. She urged the public to keep talking about these murders beyond their anniversaries.

General secretary of the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) Sibel Güneş situated İpekçi’s murder as a juncture point in Turkish democracy. “He showed Turkey a fresh take on journalism that adhered to universal ethical values,” she said. 

Özay Şendir, İpekçi’s successor at Milliyet newspaper, questioned the circumstances of his assassination. “Who helped assassin Ağca escape prison? We still don’t have an answer, just like we don’t know who gave the order for İpekçi’s murder,” he asked. 

Months after the assassination, 21-year-old hitman Mehmet Ali Ağca was sentenced to life in prison after he confessed to the murder and claimed he did it for “personal vendetta.”

He escaped prison with suspected help from sympathizers in the security services, and in 1981 attempted to kill Pope John Paul II in Rome. Following a bout of lawsuits and rulings following his extradition to Turkey, Ağca was released in 2018 after 30 years in prison and changed his name to Aslan (Lion). 

Two other suspects of İpekçi's murder were acquitted in 2013, as statutes of limitation came into effect 30 years after the incident.