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Turkey19 January 2007

Deep shock over Turkish-Armenian editor’s murder today in Istanbul

Reporters Without Borders said it was deeply shocked by the murder of Hrant Dink, editor and columnist of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, who was gunned down by an unidentified man today outside his newspaper in Istanbul.

“This murder will distress and disturb all those who defend the freedom of thought and expression in Turkey and elsewhere,” the press freedom organisation said. “The Turkish government must weigh the extreme gravity of this crime and ensure that a thorough investigation identifies those responsible as quickly as possible.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “This will be a key test for a country that hopes to join the European Union. No one would understand if Turkey failed to do everything possible to shed light on this tragedy.”

Aged 53, Dink was killed by several shots fired at him shortly after midday as he was outside the premises of his privately-owned newspaper in Sisli, a district on the European side of Istanbul. The police said they were looking for a youth aged about 18 or 19 wearing a jean-jacket and a white beret.

A well-known journalist and one who was respected by his colleagues, Dink was the target of several prosecutions over his views on the massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman empire. In 2005, he received six-month suspended sentence for “humiliating Turkish identity.” He was prosecuted against in September 2006 over an interview he gave to Reuters in which he referred to the massacres in Anatolia during the First World War as “genocide.” He had been facing a possible three-year prison sentence.

Reporters Without Borders is supporting the call issued by the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organisations in France (CCAF) for a demonstration at noon tomorrow outside the Turkish embassy on Rue Ankara in Paris’ 16th district.

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