647th Meeting of the Permanent Council
On 19 January 2007, the Presidency of the European Union released a statement on the assassination of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink which I would like to quote here in full:
“The Presidency was shocked to learn of the assassination of the respected Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul. Hrant Dink was a courageous man whose journalism was marked by his strong commitment to democracy and freedom of expression and who was prepared to take great personal risks for his work. He always strove to present a balanced picture and avoided provoking confrontations. He staunchly supported the democratic reforms in Turkey. As a result, Hrant Dink was held in high esteem in various sections of Turkish society, as well as in Europe.
The Presidency is appalled by this abominable killing and would like to express its deepest sympathy to the victim's family and friends. The Presidency is convinced that the Turkish authorities will solve this case as quickly as possible and has no doubt that Turkey will steadfastly continue along the path towards fully realizing freedom of expression.”
In this context, we are impressed by the efficiency with which the law enforcement agencies have pursued the matter, and by Prime Minister Erdogan’s statement that the attack was directed against “freedom of thought and democratic life” and would not achieve this aim.
The European Union recalls that it has in the past called for the removal of article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code as has the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. The EU hopes that this tragic event will result in an even stronger commitment to the reform process in Turkey.
The European Union may choose to return to the issues raised by this case at a later point in time.
The Candidate Countries Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia, EFTA country Norway, a member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.