29 April 2019
There is now a permanent place in Istanbul open to all visitors wishing to remember the past and shed light on the future. This place is the new site of memory dedicated to Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of Agos newspaper who was shot dead in front of his office building on January 19, 2007. The site pre-opened its doors during the symbolic dates of April 23 & 24. AGBU Europe is pleased to be able henceforth to include the visit to this site of memory as a part of its annual visit to Istanbul during the Genocide Commemorations.
The “23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory”, located in the former office of Agos newspaper in Istanbul, pre-opened its doors after a long preparatory phase that started in 2016.
Designed with care and intelligence, the memory site, faithfully renders the spirit and the voice of Hrant Dink. Initiated by the Hrant Dink Foundation, it is the fruit of a collective work, serious scientific research and visits to 65 memory sites and museums around the world, in an effort to combine memory with hope, “for the benefit of people” as stated by Rakel Dink.
Each room of the former office apartment has a specific theme, reflecting on Hrant’s childhood at Kamp Armen, his meeting with his wife Rakel, his engagement and his work as a journalist at Agos, his experience in jail, his assassination and its trial.
The site is also designed as a place for interaction with its visitors. An activity room, containing the archives of Agos newspaper from 1996 to 2007, is dedicated to welcoming workshops and researchers. In other rooms, visitors are invited to share their thoughts and/or experience through various media.
The room at the back of the apartment is Hrant Dink’s office. It is kept unchanged, with its books on the shell, various objects on his desk and its paintings hanging on the wall. Renowned artist Sarkis intervened in the adjoining former balcony of the office, with an installation called “Salt and Light”, designed to “turn pain into diamonds”.
The name of the memory site refers to an article written by Hrant Dink in 1996, where he describes the symbolic opposition between the bright celebration of April 23 and the dark commemoration of April 24. Indeed, April 23 in Turkey is Children’s Day, a national holiday, which corresponds to the inauguration day of the first Turkish Parliament in 1920.
As an Armenian from Turkey, Hrant Dink felt stuck in the middle of these two days, having to “experience the holiday of 23 April with all its fervor and to partake in all the grief of the following day!” as he wrote in his article. Believing in the possible reconciliation of the children, from Turkey and Armenia, he called for a reconciliation of these two dates, entitling its article 23.5 April.
“23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory” will open to the public in the month of June with audio guides available in Turkish, Armenian and English.