Murdered journalist Hrant Dink feared for safety: brother

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Hrant Dink was shot dead three days ago

In an interview, Orhan Dink, the younger brother of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink who was shot dead in Istanbul on Friday, told journalists that his brother was worried for his life after learning that Veli Küçük, a retired major general of the Turkish army, was watching his trial.

Hrant Dink was a prominent Armenian voice in Turkey, and his use of the word "genocide" to describe the forced mass evacuation and related deaths of hundreds of thousands to over a million Armenians during the government of the Young Turks from 1915 to 1917 in the Ottoman Empire was controversial in Turkey, where the state denies the event constitutes a genocide.

In 2005, Dink was tried and convicted of "insulting Turkishness" over an article he had written.

Orhan Dink told reporters that his brother told him he became worried when Veli Küçük, once a prominent member of Turkey's controversial and unofficial Jandarma İstihbarat ve Terörle Mücadele (Gendarme Intelligence and Counter Terrorism organization), the JITEM, came to the trial and that the affair was "turning into a dangerous one".

Hrand Dink said, 'I am being pointed at as the target', Orhan Dink told reporters.

Orhan Dink said that Küçük never threatened his brother directly.

"After Küçük came, we suspected that the bullet might have followed, and it did. ... We were speaking within the family... What can we do? Should we leave [the country] or should we stay? Sometimes we would decide to leave. But then we would say that this nation is ours.", Orhan Dink said. He added, "I wish they killed us all. We are no longer doves, we are now falcons. We love the people of Turkey. We will not let a bunch of people to take over. And we are not considering to leave any more. We gave our sacrifice. In order to stay, we can give more. We consider leaving as a treason against our brother."