Turkey embraces the memory of Hrant Dink; hundreds of thousands march
52 year old journalist Hrant Dink, who was gunned down as he left his newspaper's offices in Sisli last Friday afternoon, was accompanied by tens of thousands of people and a cloud of white pigeons on his last journey through the streets of Istanbul yesterday.
Mourners gathered from the early morning Tuesday in front of the Agos newspaper offices in Sisli, amassing to leave candles and flowers around the portraits of Dink in front of the building, and later to hear the words spoken by the slain journalist's wife, Rakel Dink. Reading a letter she had entitled "A Letter to my Lover," Rakel Dink addressed Hrant, saying "You have left those you love. You have departed from your children, your grandchildren, those who are here to say farewell to you, my embrace. But you have not departed from your country." Standing behind Rakel Dink were the couple's children, Sera, Ararat, and Delal.
Following the 11.00 ceremony for Dink at the Agos offices, the long slow cortege of perhaps one or even two hundred thousand people began was to be the 8 kilometer march behind the hearse carrying Dink's coffin. The path taken by the marchers wound its way from Sisli through Taksim, eventually winding up at the Balikli Armenian cemetary, and taking those participating hours to complete. The crowds walking behind the hearse were mostly silent, some carrying large posters and small signs saying "We are all Hrant Dink," or "We are all Armenian." While many of the signs were in Turkish, a significant number were also in Armenian and Kurdish, as the show of support in Dink's memory brought together a wide spectrum of different ethnic and religious groups.
The religious services for Dink took place yesterday at 14.00 at the Armenian Church of the Virgin Mary, across the street from the Armenian Patriarchate in Kumkapi. The journalist was then buried by family and friends and numerous supporters at the Balikli Armenian cemetary in Zeytinburnu.