Agos calls for defending lives, not bloodshed

March 02, 2012, Friday/ 16:11:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Turkey's Agos weekly, a bilingual newspaper whose editor-in-chief, Hrant Dink, was killed by an ultranationalist teenager in 2007 in what now seems to be a murder sponsored by groups inside state security forces, commented on a nationalist rally last weekend in İstanbul's Taksim Square, where some of the participants held up overtly racist signs targeting Armenians.

Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist, was killed outside the Agos offices in broad daylight a few days after he wrote an article implying he feared for his life. 

Last Sunday a group gathered in Taksim to commemorate the victims of the Khojaly massacre where 613 civilians were killed by Armenian soldiers in 1992. Some of rally's participants, however, held threatening and racist signs. A parliamentary commission is now investigating those who were seen with racist signs, including one that read “You are all Armenians, you are all bastards,” a reference to the hundreds of thousands of people who marched in İstanbul holding signs that read “We are all Armenians,” after Dink's assassination.

Agos, in an appeal that was published on its front page on Friday, referred to another sign that read “Do not stay silent in the face of Armenian lies.” The sign refers to the 1915 incidents, where hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed at the hands of the Ottomans. Turkey says the massacres occurred due to wartime conditions, but Armenia insists that the killings amounted to genocide.

The newspaper noted that 1915 and the Khojaly massacre were unrelated events and that the calls fanning hatred against Armenians were disrespectful to the victims of the Khojaly massacre, which for the most part was ignored.

“Unfortunately, those who filled the square were gathered by their hatred of Armenians instead of common grief,” the daily said. “Come, let's defend life and not blood,” the newspaper also remarked. “Life is a right that we all have. We will be able to stand together proudly in that square one day and we will be able to feel each other's pain. We want to see that day, and we can only create that day together. Come, let's find life in each other.”

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