In this story on the Hrant Dink murder, “Suspects in Journalist’s Killing Came From a Hotbed of Turkish Ultranationalist Sentiment,” by Sebnem Arsu, the New Duranty Times, aka the New York Times, zeroes in on a culprit: ultranationalism. Of course the Times doesn’t deem fit to print the fact that Dink’s murderer yelled, “I shot the infidel” after the murder.
TRABZON, Turkey “” With fishing boats pouring in and out of a busy harbor, white minibuses crisscrossing in all directions and shopping streets bustling, this regional capital nestled on the Black Sea appears to be a vibrant city.
But beneath the colorful shopping malls filled with trendy clothes and chic cafes, the poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity that afflicts many of Turkey”s cities is crushing here “” especially for young people.
And we all know that poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity cause jihad. Why, Osama bin Laden was a Bowery bum before he went into the jihad business.
All eight suspects in the plot to kill Hrant Dink, a nationally prominent editor, came from nearby, and links to other ultranationalist crimes here are beginning to emerge.
Mr. Dink, an Armenian Turk who was an outspoken commentator on the country”s handling of minority rights and was once convicted of insulting the Turkish identity for an article he wrote, was killed on Jan. 19 in Istanbul. Ogun Samast, 17, a high school dropout who has confessed to the killing, was arrested with seven others in connection with the crime….
Other prominent crimes here have had a common motivation of extremism in upholding nationalist values. A local McDonald’s restaurant was bombed in 2004, chosen as a Western target, and there was an attempted lynching of a group of leftist protesters and killings of two professors from the local university and of a Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Andreas Santaro.
Yes, I can see how killing a Roman Catholic priest would be an act of “nationalism,” given the Vatican’s tireless efforts to seize control of the Turkish government.
But it was not until the police found personal links between Mr. Samast, the confessed killer of Mr. Dink, and Yasin Hayal, an ultranationalist convicted of the McDonald’s bombing, that a web of connections between various crimes came to light. Mr. Hayal is being charged with inciting the Dink killing….
In addition, the fact that Mr. Samast and the killer of Father Santaro, a 16-year-old high school dropout, were both under age at the times of their crimes suggests that someone may have been urging young people to commit crimes, knowing that they would escape harsher penalties if caught.
Ah. Shadowy nationalist inciters.
But so far the police have not arrested any older or more established figures in these crimes.
For some of the city”s youth, the region’s culture of bravado and machismo seems to make a breeding ground for anger.
“Black Sea people are dynamic, restless, energetic and have strong heroic feelings,” said Adem Solak, a prison therapist who works with the youth who killed Father Santaro. “Their environment, built on a single culture without interaction with diverse ethnicities, creates a greater potential for reaction to social issues.”
There used to be quite a few diverse ethnicities in the Black Sea area. What happened to them?
Expressions of anger are easy to come by, as are defenses of Mr. Samast and the killing of Mr. Dink.
“I don’t think brother Ogun did wrong,” said Murat, 19, a university dropout who, like many interviewed, refused to give his last name, saying he feared police harassment. “We heard that the Armenian cursed our blood, which we cannot accept.” He and his friend Hasan, 18, chain-smoking at a cafe near the town center, said they had known Mr. Samast for years in Pelitli, the suburb where all three grew up. They praised nationalism with a religious undertone….
What kind of religious undertone, O Times? Do tell.
The city was populated by Greeks, Armenians and Abkhazians when it was a trading center, but after Turkish independence in the 1920s, the Greeks left, and Trabzon became overwhelmingly Muslim and Turkish. Since then the people here have been seen as having strong nationalist and religious values. Use of weapons adds another dimension to the pride of individual bravery.
The Greeks left, did they? In fact, they left at the point of a bayonet. They left because they were exiled, unless they were willing to convert to Islam. And note that the Times says nothing at all about what happened to the Armenians who had been in Trebizond.
“We cannot do without weapons,” Asim Aykan, a member of Parliament from Trabzon, said on NTV. “They are a special part of the culture of our society. We cannot express our joy without firing guns. That is the culture, which is beautiful but can also turn bad.”
On a cold and windy Sunday after Mr. Dink was killed, crowds attending a game at the soccer stadium here waved Turkish flags. One group opened a huge banner saying: “We”re from Trabzon. We”re Turks. We”re all Mustafa Kemals” “” a reference to the founder of the modern Turkish state.
That was a rebuttal to the many thousands of Turks in Istanbul who attended Hrant Dink’s funeral carrying signs that read: “We”re all Hrant Dinks. We”re all Armenians.”
Nationalism of the former sort “embraces intolerance towards the other, superiority over minorities and not only fear but also hatred toward the foreigner,” said Professor Ali Carkoglu of Sabanci University in Istanbul.
Hmmm. Intolerance toward the other and superiority over minorities. Where have I heard that before?
The feeling is stirred up by global events like the war in Iraq, the Danish cartoons satirizing Muhammad and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Then there is Turkey”s ambition to join the European Union, which has brought many changes.
Wait a minute. I thought this was all about Turkish nationalism. What do Danish cartoons and Israel have to do with Turkish nationalism? The Times has brought Islamic solidarity in here through the back door, without telling anyone.
That long process has its ups and downs, said Melek Goregenli, a professor of political psychology at Ege University in Izmir. She said that it “helped bring unspoken thoughts to the fore, made them more visible, but at the same time made those who spoke out as targets for those who couldn’t tolerate free expression of thought and equal rights for everyone.”
Hmmm. And who might it be who can’t tolerate free expression of thought and equal rights for everyone? “Nationalists,” eh?