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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 16:27 GMT
Turks honour murdered journalist
Thousands of people escort the coffin of killed newspaper editor Hrant Dink through Istanbul, Turkey
Crowds thronged the streets of Istanbul to escort Dink's coffin
Tens of thousands of people walked silently behind the coffin of murdered Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, in a vast funeral cortege in Istanbul.

The newspaper editor, 53, was gunned down in the Turkish city on Friday, metres from his offices.

Dink wrote controversial articles about the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I.

Mourners carrying placards reading "We are all Armenians" paused and applauded as they passed where he was shot.

From there they walked five miles (8km) to an Armenian Orthodox church, where the funeral service was led by the patriarch. Much of the city centre was closed to traffic.

Hrant Dink
Hrant Dink was one of Turkey's most prominent Armenian voices

Priests chanted and doves were released as Dink was buried at Istanbul's Armenian cemetery.

He was convicted in October 2005 of "insulting Turkishness" through his writings on the Armenian "genocide" of 1915.

His widow addressed the crowds before the cortege set off, telling them, "We are seeing off our brother with a silent walk, without slogans and without asking how a baby became a murderer."

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Istanbul says those who spilled onto the streets wished to express their sense of solidarity and horror at the murder.

Many, she says, are already beginning to consider Dink a martyr.

Suspects held

Turkish prosecutors said a teenage suspect had confessed to the killing.

Ogun Samast was arrested after he was identified by his father from CCTV images taken near the murder scene.

Ogun Samast (L)
Ogun Samast was arrested on Saturday in Samsun
He was being questioned in Istanbul along with six other suspects.

One of them was named as Yasin Hayal, a friend of Mr Samast, who has spent 11 months in jail for a 2004 bomb attack outside a McDonald's restaurant in Trabzon.

Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper reported on Monday that during police questioning Mr Hayal said that he had given Mr Samast, aged 16 or 17, a gun and money.

Investigators say that so far they have found no links between Mr Samast and any known political group.

Armenian government officials and religious leaders, as well as some members of Turkey's Armenian diaspora, attended the funeral, despite the fact that Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic relations.


Journalists and politicians in Turkey have expressed outrage at the killing, which many described as a political assassination, while the US, EU, France, and several human rights groups also voiced shock and condemnation.

Dink had received multiple death threats from nationalists because of his views on the mass killings of Armenians during the final days of the Ottoman Empire.

The issue is a sensitive subject in both Armenia and Turkey. Many Armenians have campaigned for the killings to be recognised internationally as genocide.

Turkey admits that many Armenians were killed but it denies any genocide, saying the deaths happened during widespread fighting in World War I.

Mourners gathered at Hrant Dink's funeral

Killing of Dink shocks Turkey
22 Jan 07 |  Europe
In pictures: Dink killing
21 Jan 07 |  In Pictures
Obituary: Hrant Dink
19 Jan 07 |  Europe

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