November 13, 2007 - 19:30 AMT PanARMENIAN.Net
- The Armenian Assembly of America
issued the following statement in response to news reports indicating that two Turkish soldiers have been arrested and charged with abuse of power in connection with January's shooting death of the noted Armenian journalist Hrant Dink
"We are encouraged that the investigation into the assassination of Hrant Dink is unraveling the conspiracy that lies behind his shooting death," said Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America. "It was evident from the start that more than a lone gunman was involved in the plot. The people of Istanbul understood that by striking down such an outspoken individual, these dark forces hoped to silence the voices of all those who agreed with Hrant Dink. Turkey has a long way to go to show the rest of the world that it is serious about protecting free speech, but today's action is a step in the right direction."
The names of the two soldiers have not yet been released but news reports indicate that the two men, members of a paramilitary force, each face up to two years in prison for the shooting. The shooting death of Dink has sparked world-wide condemnation of Turkey for its antiquated laws that prohibit free speech, including banning anyone from talking about the well-established fact of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks in 1915. This provision, known as "Article 301," has come under fire for giving Turkey cover to harass anyone who is believed to have insulted "Turkishness."
Ardouny added: "We urge Turkey to abolish Article 301 of its Penal Code, which is used to muzzle free speech, and rethink its opposition to the genocide resolution (H. Res. 106) pending before the U.S. Congress. The resolution affirms the historical truth, and Turkey has an opportunity to demonstrate that it is committed to taking steps toward protecting human rights and free speech inside its borders."