Friday, January 19, 2007

Armenian-Turkish journalist shot dead

Staff and agencies
Friday January 19, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

An Armenian-Turkish journalist who was tried repeatedly in Turkey for speaking out about the mass killing of Armenians at the start of the 20th century was shot dead today outside his office, police said.

Hrant Dink, a 53-year-old Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, was shot three times by an unknown gunman by the entrance of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, according to TV reports.

"Dink was shot in front of the office and he is dead," an employee of the weekly paper was quoted as telling the AFP news agency.

Mr Dink had received threats from Turkish nationalists who viewed him as a traitor for describing as genocide the killing of Armenians between 1915 and 1917. The issue is bitterly disputed between Turkey and neighbouring Armenia, which have no diplomatic relations.

As editor of Agos, Mr Dink was one of Turkey's most prominent Armenian voices.

In October 2005, he was given a six-month suspended jail sentence for writing a newspaper article that addressed the mass killing of Ottoman Armenians.

The European Union had raised the issue of Mr Dink's treatment as a possible barrier to Turkey's EU entry.

Armenia wants Turkey and other nations to officially label as genocide the killing of hundreds of thousands of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire. Turkey says the dead were victims of the first world war.

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