01.19.07

Schiff Condemns the Murder of Journalist, Hrant Dink, in Turkey and Mourns his Loss

Washington, D.C. – Representative Adam Schiff today mourned the loss of one of Turkey’s most prominent Armenian journalists, who was shot to death outside his newspaper’s office in Istanbul.  Hrant Dink was a vocal critic of the Turkish government and a leading voice in calling for Armenian Genocide recognition.  In 2003, on a trip to Turkey, Rep. Schiff met with Mr. Dink to discuss his efforts on Genocide recognition and press freedom issues.

“From the moment I met Mr. Dink, I could tell that he was an incredibly courageous man who cared deeply about history and freedom of the press,” Schiff said.  “His death is a great loss for all those who cherish free speech, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”   

Rep. Schiff is drafting a letter to the Turkish Prime Minister this morning calling on him to investigate Mr. Dink’s murder and to ensure that this crime is solved and that those responsible are brought to justice.

“The silencing of such a prominent and outspoken voice is not only a personal tragedy; it is also a tragedy for those who believe in a free and unfettered press, and for those who are committed to a thoughtful examination of the past,” Schiff wrote in the letter.  “Hrant Dink had the courage to confront the facts of the Armenian Genocide, and that courage may have cost him his life.”

Recently, Mr. Dink was featured in a documentary film “Screamers,” which raises awareness of the Armenian Genocide and calls for its recognition.  Schiff also appeared in the film. In October 2005, Mr. Dink was found guilty for the crime of “insulting Turkishness” and was given a six-month suspended sentence after writing about the Armenian Genocide.  In 2006, Mr. Dink was awarded the Norwegian Bjornson prize by the Bjornson Academy, which was established to protect freedom of expression.

Rep. Schiff, a member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, represents the largest constituency of Armenians outside of Armenia. In 2005, Rep. Schiff authored legislation that passed the House International Relations Committee that recognized the Armenian Genocide.  However, the bill did not receive a vote on the House Floor, and Rep. Schiff plans to reintroduce similar legislation this year. 

Rep. Schiff also co-chairs the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press which aims to support freedom of the press around the world and draw attention to and condemn media censorship and the persecution of journalists.