This past week, Agence France Press reported that Turkey has charged its 11th suspect in the murder of Armenian Turkish journalist, Hrant Dink (source). The investigation isn’t over and to the credit of the investigators, the issue isn’t being swept under the rug (yet). In America, the New York Times, the Boston Globe and AGBU News are following the case closely and my hunch is that before all this is over a whole lot of Turkish nationalist politicos will be implicated but not spend time in prison.
One Turkish cartoonist, who resides in Oslo, Norway, Firuz Kutal, has created some thought-provoking sketches about Hrant Dink on his website (here) and I came across them as they circulated on the Armenian-Turkish Workshop listserv–I’ve included one poignant image above.
A talented illustrator, Kutal is a strong advocate of freedom of speech and under that premise participated in the “Holocaust cartoon” contest in Iran until he realized the objective was something more sinister…in a February interview, he explains:
“I participated to this contest with a very open mind…In the beginning Iranian Cartoon Contest was understandable. We, who supported the contest, intended to test the Western interpretation of the concept ‘freedom of expression’…Iranian officials used this cartoon contest to justify the Iranian government’s allegation: ”genocide on Jews never existed” and the result of it was that even KKK-Ku Klux Klan has sent representatives to Iran to celebrate this ideology….[then I realized] this contest is being used as a weapon because it carries a dangerous ideology. As in the Danish Cartoon scandal, this has nothing to do with freedom of expression. According to me, people on both sides play the same ugly game. The consequence of that is more confusion of the public.” (interview)
I suggest reading the interview, which includes discussion of some germane issues that face illustrators and freedom of speech activists.
BTW, I was happy to see that someone (or a group of individuals) spent a great deal of time building a wonderful Wikipedia page on Hrant‘s life and work, it includes photos, dates, and a chronology. It is interesting to see that while during his life, most people didn’t know who Hrant was, in his death many people have been positively inspired by his legacy.