This Saturday, the 19th of January, the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) commemorates one year from the death of Hrant Dink. Dink, a high-profile Turkish journalist, well-known for his severe and open criticism of the Turkish stance on the Armenian genocide and of the widespread minority discrimination in Turkey, was assassinated in 2007 by a young Turkish nationalist in Istanbul. During his lifetime, Dink was prosecuted three times for his liberal discourse, being accused of denigrating “Turkishness” under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. This article is largely used to prosecute writers, journalists and others that speak out about taboo topics, thus creating an environment that legitimises attacks on freedom of expression.
Marina Barbalata, Spokesperson of FYEG says: “FYEG organised a seminar in Istanbul last year and a large group of young Greens was in the Turkish capital when the news of Hrant Dink’s murder was made public. We marched alongside thousands of people through the streets of Istanbul, expressing our solidarity for the loss of a human rights activism icon and demanding that the Turkish government eliminates Article 301 from its Penal Code. However, this has so far not happened, despite promises from high profile politicians that the article would be revised. With 2008 being the Council of Europe year of Intercultural dialogue, FYEG believes that discrimination based on nationality cannot be tolerated by the legislation of any member country. We thus call upon the Turkish authorities to take the necessary measures and eliminate this article, thus ensuring the promises that an intercultural dialogue can be fostered in Turkey.”
FYEG strongly believes that freedom of expression is among the most fundamental human rights. By honouring Hrant Dink’s memory we reaffirm our commitment to continue standing up for complete liberty of speech and of the press.