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Cablegate: Article 301 Continues to Haunt Dink Family

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PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHIT #0538 1731401
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221401Z JUN 07
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7190
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
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UNCLAS ISTANBUL 000538

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV TU
SUBJECT: ARTICLE 301 CONTINUES TO HAUNT DINK FAMILY

REF: A. 06 ANKARA 5711
B. 05 ISTANBUL 1780
C. ANKARA 0144

1. (SBU) Summary: Hrant Dink's son Arat, a managing editor
at the Armenian-language weekly newspaper his father founded,
and another "Agos" colleague were acquitted on June 14 of
charges associated with "attempting to influence the
judiciary." The same court postponed the hearing of a more
controversial Article 301 case against the two defendants
until July 18; perhaps conveniently subordinating press
coverage of the trial to that of the July 22 parliamentary
elections. End summary.

2. (SBU) On September 18, 2006 a prosecutor in Istanbul's
Sisli District filed charges against the management of the
Armenian language weekly "Agos" newspaper for allegedly
violating Turkish Penal Code Articles 11 (libel) and 301
(insulting "Turkishness") (ref A). The charges against Hrant
Dink, his son Arat and Serkis Seropyan stemmed from an Agos
article by an unnamed author, entitled "One Signature Against
301," which quotes Hrant Dink's July 2006 comments to Reuters
on the 1915 Armenian massacre, "Of course I say this is a
genocide because the result already defines itself and names
itself. You see that a people that had been living in this
land for more than 4000 years ceased to exist after these
incidents." In addition to this case, the three had been
charged in December 2005 in a separate incident for allegedly
"attempting to influence the judiciary" by publishing a piece
which criticized Hrant Dink's October 2005 Article
301-related conviction (ref B).

3. (SBU) The first hearing associated with both cases was to
have taken place in February, however it was postponed
following Hrant Dink's assassination on January 19 (ref C).
The indictments against Hrant Dink were formally dropped
posthumously in March, however his son Arat -- a managing
editor at the newspaper -- and Arat's supervisor Serkis
Seropyan continued to face charges. The Sisli First Instance
Court #2 convened on June 14 to hear the two cases and
acquitted Arat Dink and Seropyan the "attempting to influence
the judiciary" charges. The court postponed until July 18
the hearing for the remaining case, including the Article 301
charges.

4. (SBU) Meanwhile, press reported on June 22 that the Dink
family had received official approval to establish the
International Hrant Dink Foundation. Hrant Dink's immediate
family members, including his wife Rakel and son Arat, will
form the Foundation's board. The Foundation's headquarters
will be in Istanbul, with additional offices abroad.

5. (SBU) Comment: While the acquittal on the December 2005
charge is a positive development, it is the Article 301
charge that focuses the international spotlight on Turkey.
Though postponements are not unusual in Turkey, the new
hearing date is suspiciously close to the July 22 general
elections; media coverage of the case may be overshadowed by
election reporting. End comment.
JONES

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