YEREVAN (ArmRadio)–A group of college Students from Yerevan gathered at the Tsitsernagapert Genocide Memorial on Wednesday to mark the 21st anniversary of the brutal pogroms against Armenians in Baku that began on January 13, 1990. The mourners also marked the four-year anniversary of the assassination in Istanbul of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
“The Baku pogroms and Dink’s murder were the continuation of Ottoman and Pan-Turkic policies,” said Gevorg Melkonyan, President of the Association of Young University Colleagues. “The tragedy of Sumgayit would not have occurred if the international community given a proper assessment [of the pogroms] on time.”
For Melkonyan, the threat of renewed violence against Armenians still looms, as neither Turkey nor Azerbaijan has been made to pay for their crimes. “We should be able to cooperate with the Diaspora to give a proper response to Turkish and Azeri propaganda. These countries are attempting to create their own history through distortion of historic facts.”
Four years after Dink’s murder, the trial has not reached a just conclusion despite overwhelming pointing to the real perpetrators of the crime. According to Melkonyan, political will is needed so that justice will be served for Dink.
The late editor-in-chief of the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, Dink was shot dead by an ultranationalist teenager outside the offices of his newspaper in broad daylight in İstanbul on January 19, 2007. The investigation into his murder has stalled as the suspected perpetrator and his accomplices have been put on trial, but those who masterminded the plot to kill him have yet to be exposed and punished.
Dink family lawyer Fethiye Çetin indicated in her recent analysis that there “is a striking unity of action between the individuals, institutions and mechanisms in the preparation and perpetration of the Dink murder, in concealing and tampering with evidence after the murder, in burying the truth, in drawing boundaries and limits on how far the trial proceedings could go and in ensuring that these boundaries are not crossed.”
At Dink’s funeral hundreds of thousands of mourners marched in protest of the assassination, chanting, “We are all Armenians” and “We are all Hrant Dink.” Critics of the infamous Article 301, which made insulting Turkishness a crime, became increasingly vocal after his death, leading to parliamentary proposals for its repeal. A series of changes were made to this article on April 30, 2008, including a new amendment that makes it obligatory to secure the approval of the minister of justice to file a case under the article.