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Writer on trial for referring to Armenian genocide, urging others to do the same

(BIANET/IFEX) - During a protest gathering to condemn journalist Hrant Dink's murder, writer Temel Demirer called on others to commit the same "crime" as Dink: to recognise the factuality of an "Armenian genocide." He is now facing trial under Articles 301 and 216.

The day after Dink's murder on 19 January 2007, Demirer read a press statement during a protest gathering in central Ankara, saying that the journalist had been killed not only for being Armenian, but also because he had spoken of an "Armenian genocide."

Approximately one year later, Demirer is being taken to court under Articles 301 and 216, for allegedly "denigrating the Turkish Republic" and "inciting to hatred and hostility." The case will be heard at the Ankara Second Penal Court on 6 March 2008.

Demirer and the Solidarity Initiative had said: "We owe something to those being tried for their thoughts and actions, those being obstructed, tortured, imprisoned and killed."

In a previous statement Demirer said that he believed that genocide was carried out against the Armenians in the Ottoman period, that the state was then often complicit in atrocities committed against the Armenian population and continued to be so until the Susurluk scandal, which revealed connections between the state and contract killings.

The indictment, prepared by Chief Public Prosecutor Levent Savas on 24 December 2007, is based on police reports and police recordings. According to the indictment, Demirer said the following at the protest gathering:

"We live in a country where murders and silencing the truth are partners. Hrant was murdered not only because he was Armenian, but because he referred to the reality that a genocide took place in this country. If Turkish intellectuals do not commit crimes under Article 301, then they will be guilty of Hrant's murder, too."

"There is a genocide in our history, it is called the Armenian genocide. At the cost of his life, Hrant told us all about this reality. Those who do not commit a crime against the murderous state are part of the murder. Those who killed the Armenians yesterday are today attacking our Kurdish brothers and sisters. Those who want the brotherhood of peoples need to face up to this history. We have to commit crimes to prevent what happened to the Armenians from happening to the Kurds. Yes, there was an Armenian genocide in this country."

Demirer's statement was also signed by dozens of other individuals as well as the Confederation of European Workers from Turkey (ATIK).

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