The Şişli Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has decided not to start a trial following a complaint against Mustafa Sarıgül, mayor of Istanbul’s Şişli municipality.
Funeral march deliberately misunderstood by nationalists
Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was shot dead in front of his newspaper office in Şişli on 19 January 2007. His funeral was attended by over 100,000 people, many of them carrying placards which read “We are all Armenian” or “Murderer 301”, referring to Dink’s trial under the controversial Article 301. The protestors walked through Istanbul from his office to the church where he was buried. The march was mostly silent, but sometimes the crowd called out “We are all Armenian”, a demonstration of solidarity which has been distorted by nationalists.
Following the funeral, Mete Çağdaş, a columnist in a local newspaper in Sinop, on the Western Black Sea, had filed a complaint against the mayor of Şişli, arguing that the slogans represented a violation of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and insulted Turkishness.
Çağdaş had written in the newspaper Haber 57 that, as a journalist, he condemned the murder of his colleague Dink, but that the slogans used at his funeral were unacceptable. He said that his grandfather was killed by an Armenian gang.
"They did not even carry a Turkish flag"
He also wrote an article entitled “Honourable Prosecutor”, which read:
“They carried placards saying ‘Hrant’s murderer is Article 301.’ They branded the laws of the Turkish Republic as murderers. Shouting ‘We are all Armenian’, they violated the constitution. They insulted the unity of the nation with separatism based on race. They caused traffic congestion. With live broadcasts, they encouraged others to take part in the demonstration. They did not even carry one Turkish flag. What else do you want? Treason, provocation, separatism and extreme disturbance. I am complaining and am a plaintiff. Honourable Prosecutor, please start an investigation…”
Çağdaş also said that the funerals of soldiers were ignored. In a reaction to the prosecutor’s decision, he wrote on 8 February, he said: “Two, three marauders, a handful of gangsters and traitors- we were beaten by them,” thus insulting those taking part in the funeral procession.
The Şişli prosecution decided not to prosecute on 15 January, but the decision has only just been made public. Radikal newspaper cites Çağdaş as objecting to the length of time (EÖ/AG)
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