Turkey bans Hrant Dink Foundation's conference in Istanbul

Turkey bans Hrant Dink Foundation's conference in Istanbul

PanARMENIAN.Net - The conference "Social, Cultural and Economic History of Kayseri and the Region" to take place at the Hrant Dink Foundation's hall in Şişli, İstanbul on October 18-19 has been banned by the Şişli District Governorship, Bianet reports.

The conference was initially planned to take place in Kayseri; however, it was banned by the Kayseri Governorship. In response to this ban, the Board of Directors of the Foundation decided to hold the conference in İstanbul.

Releasing a statement about the issue, on its website, Hrant Dink Foundation has stated the following:

"The conference on 'Social, Cultural and Economic History of Kayseri and the Region', to take place at the Hrant Dink Foundation's Havak Hall on October 18-19, has been banned!

"As has been closely followed by the public, the conference had been initially planned to take place in Kayseri, yet was banned due to the interference of the Kayseri Governorship. Upon this development, the Board of the Directors of our Foundation decided to hold the conference in Istanbul.

"At a time when all the preparations have been made, all speakers from Turkey and all around the world have already arrived in Istanbul for the conference to take place tomorrow; today on October 17th, Thursday at 17:08, an official notice of ban was given by the Sisli District Governorship to the Foundation, which does not mention any justification for the ban decision.

"We regret to announce that the conference on 'Social, Cultural and Economic History of Kayseri and the Region', which was supposed to take place in light of the valuable scientific contributions by numerous scholars from Turkey and abroad, has been banned."

The conference on Kayseri was planned to be held as part of an international conference series contributing to a detailed understanding of the changing social, economic, politic and cultural structure of various cities of Turkey during the 19th and 20th century. In the past years, the conference series were organized on Adana, Diyarbakır, Mardin, Van and Izmir.

Hrant Dink was an outspoken figure on the issue of the 1915 Armenian genocide, which the Turkish state denies took place. He was prosecuted three times for insulting Turkishness, an offence according to Article 301 of the Turkish penal code.

His assassination by a Turkish ultranationalist gunman in front of the Istanbul offices of bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos on Jan. 19, 2007 sparked nationwide protests.

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