Great Man’s Murder: A Shot Ahead Fundamental Transformations


With Dink, Turkey he spoke about was killed

January 19 is 12 years since the assassination of Hrant Dink, a Turkey-based Armenian journalist, editor of the Agos Newspaper. On 19 January 2007 Hrant Dink was killed in front of the editorial office of the Agos. He was asked out and shot in the street. A nationalist young man was arrested for this who was not an adult yet then.

Who was behind the murder of Dink? Was the motive political or nationalistic? Dink’s murder shook Turkey. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Istanbul and chanted that they are all Hrant Dink.

Dink spoke about transformation of Turkey, spoke both as an Armenian and a citizen of Turkey, he spoke bravely. After his murder Turkey changed but not in the way he spoke about. It changed in the opposite direction. Erdogan’s dominance was established in Turkey, or sultanate as the international experts describe. Erdogan established a strong presidential governance, limiting political freedoms.

Earlier, a year and a half ahead of Hrant Dink’s murder, Serzh Sargsyan who had become the president of Armenia stated in a meeting with the Armenian community of Moscow about the intention to invite the Turkish President Gul to Armenia to watch football. Two months later Gul accepted the invitation and in September he was in Yerevan to watch the game of the national teams of Armenia and Turkey.

A year and a half after the murder of Hrant Dink by a nationalist the Armenian-Turkish football diplomacy or the process of normalization or maybe reconciliation. However. This lasted a year and a half or so. A year later, on 10 October 2009, the Armenian-Turkish protocols were signed. Serzh Sargsyan stated that he will leave for Turkey when our countries get closer to opening the border. Four days later Sargsyan left for Bursa, Turkey to watch football.

However, the Armenian-Turkish border never opened, and the football diplomacy started declining. The Armenian-Turkish normalization started to cool down, the Armenian-Turkish protocols were not ratified. At the same time, Erdogan’s dominance was being established in Turkey, Gul was pushed out, so was the so-called “democratic” wing. And Erdogan’s approach was opposite.

On the other hand, the factors of the start and freezing and eventually discontinuation of the process of the Armenian-Turkish normalization were many and were not only determined by the domestic setting in Turkey. The Armenian-Turkish football diplomacy reached prospects of fundamental changes.

This was a controversial process for Armenia. On the one hand, the Armenian-Turkish normalization is important. On the other hand, it should take place without preconditions. Meanwhile, the football diplomacy was not without preconditions, and there were risks and problems for both Artsakh and the issue of the genocide, in both public statements and the text of the protocols.

Football diplomacy addressed a lot of issues except the Armenian-Turkish normalization. In his most difficult presidential status of 2008 Serzh Sargsyan was able to address important domestic issues thanks to this process.

Ahead of leaving the position of president, before his five-day tenure as prime minister, Serzh Sargsyan withdrew the Armenian-Turkish protocols. It happened in 1 March 2018.

What was the effect of Hrant Dink’s murder on the Armenian-Turkish normalization process which started a year and a half later? This question is rhetorical. At the same time, the consequence of what processes emerging or happening in Turkey was Dink’s murder? A person, a historical individual without exaggeration, who spoke about Turkey’s transformation bravely? 12 years after his murder Turkey is such that it is possible to say or at least ask: was Turkey Dink spoke about killed together with Dink?

At the same time, the world has changed radically in the past 10-12 years, and processes are taking place in which Turkey has a key role and is walking along a controversial path. At the same time, it is uncertain what kind of Turkey will come out from these processes or survive till the end.

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