Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tragedy in Turkey

Today's New York Times reports that a prominent newspaper editor, columnist and voice for Turkey’s ethnic Armenians who was prosecuted for challenging the official Turkish version of the 1915 Armenian genocide, was shot dead as he left his office on a busy street in central Istanbul on Friday.

Mr. Dink, a Turk of Armenian descent, had provoked anger in Turkey for his regarding the Armenian genocide, which, of course, Turkey denies.

It is interesting to note that he opposed the condition many people, wanted to impose on Turkey for entry into the EU. The condition was that Turkey recognize the genocide. Mr. Dink argued that entry into the EU would strengthen Turkish democracy and this, in itself, would lead to a more open acknowledgment of the genocide.

I was one of those who thought this pre-condition on entry into the EU was correct. I had spoken about it when I was last in Berlin. Mr. Dink's position gave me reason to reconsider my views. It is akin to those of us who believe that the best way to end communist tyranny in Cuba would be to let Americans travel their en mass.

Mr. Dink was convicted under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, for his comments about the Armenian genocide. This article has been used to silence those who wish to discuss the Armenian tragedy.

[I oppose this law in the same fashion that I oppose laws outlawing Holocaust denial. Ironically, of course, the Turkish law makes it impossible to speak about truth and the proposed EU law makes it impossible to speak about fiction. In both cases, law is not the way to proceed.]

In any case, Dink's assassination is a tragedy on so many accounts.

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