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Arat Dink, Serkis Seropyan, Karin Karakashli, Aydin Engin, all members of the staff of  "Agos" weekly in Istanbul, and Erdal Dogal, the Dink family lawyer, are charged with "denigrating Turkishness" under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. Some of them may face three years of  incarceration if convicted. The pretext is the publication of an old interview with the Reuters News Agency  in which the late assassinated Hrant Dink made reference to the Genocide of the Armenians.
Renowned writers, scholars and journalists such as Orhan Pamuk, Elif Shafak, Taner Akçam, Ragip Zarakolu and others were charged with similar criminal offences over the last while. Some of them have chosen self-exile and are now living in Europe, the United States and elsewhere for fear of their own lives and avoiding the destiny that the late Hrant Dink faced.

We, the undersigned, strongly protest against the disdainful use of article 301 of the Penal Code. Its application has proven to be an abhorrent violation of the exercise of  freedom of expression and thought. Internationally it has brought nothing but scorn, and locally it has fomented an atmosphere of  hatred and xenophobia. It is a painful reminder of the disingenuous call of the Turkish authorities to have a mixed commission of historians to study the past.


In solidarity with scholars, artists, journalists, human rights activists who seek freedom of expression and thought, we call upon the Turkish authorities to scrap the Draconian article once and for all.


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