WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Joe Crowley is set to introduce legislation calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to condemn the assassination of Hrant Dink, and to call upon the Turkish government to repeal the law, Article 301, under which it both prosecuted and sentenced the Armenian journalist for his statements affirming the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Hrant Dink, editor of the bilingual Armenian/Turkish “Agos” newspaper, was gunned down outside his office in Istanbul on January 19th – sparking worldwide protests and renewed scrutiny of Turkey’s repression of free speech and international campaign of Armenian Genocide denial.
“We appreciate Congressman Crowley’s leadership in seeking Congressional condemnation of Hrant Dink’s murder and are, as a community, tremendously gratified – in the wake of this tragedy – by the growing support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution soon to be introduced by Congressmen Schiff, Radanovich, Pallone, and Knollenberg,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee. Speaking on CNN on the day of Dink’s murder, Hamparian explained that his assassination was “product of the environment that the Turkish government has created” – its persistent denial that the killings of the Armenians last century did not amount to genocide.
Among the original cosponsors of the measure are Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Armenian Genocide Resolution lead authors Adam Schiff (D-CA) and George Radanovich (R-CA).
In a Dear Colleague letter circulated to Congressional offices, the New York legislator described Hrant Dink as “a fierce defender of the freedom of the press, an outspoken advocate for democratic reform, and a champion of human rights and tolerance. He was a man of conviction and principle who believed in democratic ideals and peaceful change.” He explained to his House colleagues that, Hrant Dink had been “honored by his media colleagues around the world for his courage and principles and was awarded the prestigious Bjornson Prize for Literature for his publications on the Armenian Genocide.” Representative Crowley closed by stressing the need for the U.S. Congress to condemn “this attempt to silence the freedom of the press and to intimidate the Armenian community in Turkey,” and calling on his colleagues to cosponsor his legislation.
Last Friday, on the day of the assassination, Congressman Schiff circulated a Dear Colleague letter seeking the support of U.S. Representatives for a letter condemning the Dink murder and calling for the repeal of Article 301 of the Turkish penal code. Along with Congressman Radanovich and Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Frank Pallone and Joe Knollenberg, Congressman Schiff will soon introduce the Armenian Genocide Resolution. This measure, which has already garnered the support of over 130 legislators, calls on the President to properly recognize and commemorate the Armenian Genocide.
The text of the legislation is provided below. A similar measure is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate.
Condemning the assassination of human rights advocate and outspoken defender of freedom of the press, Turkish- Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on January 19, 2007.
Whereas, on January 19, 2007, Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was murdered as he exited the Istanbul, Turkey, office of Agos Newspaper;
Whereas Hrant Dink was a fierce defender of the freedom of the press and speech, an outspoken advocate for democratic reform, and a champion of human rights and tolerance;
Whereas Hrant Dink was a man of conviction and principle who believed in democratic ideals and peaceful change;
Whereas, in Istanbul in 1996, Hrant Dink founded a bilingual newspaper called Agos, in part to foster dialogue and understanding between Armenians and Turks;
Whereas Hrant Dink was honored by his media colleagues around the world for his courage and principles and was awarded the prestigious Bjornson Prize for Literature for his publications on the Armenian Genocide;
Whereas Hrant Dink faced ongoing prosecution under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for speaking about the Armenian Genocide; and
Whereas the United States was founded on the principles of democracy and liberty where freedom of expression is cherished and protected: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) strongly condemns and deplores the assassination of Hrant Dink;
(2) urges the Government of Turkey to continue its investigation and prosecution of those individuals responsible for the murder of Hrant Dink; and
(3) urges the Government of Turkey to take appropriate action to protect the freedom of speech in Turkey by repealing Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and by opposing individuals in Turkey who espouse intolerance, intimidation, and violence against individuals who exercise their right of freedom of speech.