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Why Hrant Dink's murderer didn't throw away the gun

By Ertugrul Ozkok

Yesterday morning at a meeting here at the newspaper, we argued. One of our female collegues even stood up and left the meeting. The argument started over some comments I made about Hrant Dink's murderer.

For days now, I have been saying, as I flip from channel to channel watching the coverage of this murder, "I hope this turns out to be an organized crime. It will be much more difficult if it turns out to be the work of a 'neighborhood thug.'"

But as it turns out, it was exactly what I feared. The murderer turned out to be a not-even-20-year old teenager, a teenager encouraged by an elder in the neigborhood to take on this mission. I can see so clearly what his psychology was. He didn't even take care to discard two of the most important pieces of evidence following the murder; his white beret and the gun he had used.

Even the police were amazed. But it is clear why he hadn't gotten rid of these crucial pieces of evidence: he was returning to Trabzon. Once there, he was going to boast to his friends "I killed Hrant Dink." Most likely, many of these friends wouldn't even believe him. Which is why he was bringing back the white beret (which had been seen on all the video footage that caught him as he was running away after shooting Dink) and the gun: to convince them.

* * *

What scares me is this spiritual state. If it were an organized act of murder, either the state intelligence agency or the security forces might have broken into it. But who can we go after when it turns out to be just one person? Shall we break into the neighborhood, or shut down the city? Anyway, at the meeting at our Hurriyet offices, this is what I was explaining.

I said "If we really want to solve this business, we need to develop our feelings of empathy. We need to try and understand that kid from the Trabzon neighborhood. If someone who holds strong feelings of support for the Republic is uncomfortable with being called a "traitor to the nation," then we need to consider that other people might be uncomfortable with other terminology."

Maybe we should start to think about how stressing the negative aspects to nationalism might make people uncomfortable.....I was describing all this in the meeting. But some of my collegues knew Hrant Dink personally. And they reacted, showing that today might not have been the day to bring all this up. I understand well. I lost many friends in the period leading up to September 12.

* * *

Maybe I should have written this column after Hrant Dink's funeral. But I figured there was nothing to lose. As a society, we are facing an enormous problem. There is a climate of hatred which is being nurtured in the cities of Anatolia and in our poorer, back hill, outskirt areas. We need to start thinking about how we can put out these flames of hatred, from today. I think we need to save ourselves from this "culture of blame." People need to stop accusing eachother of being traitors to the nation, of being this and being that. And on the other side, people have to stop labeling those who express their love for country and flag "racists fascists."

* * *

A very serious "back hills-outskirts pyschology" threatens us all. Yesterday it was a priest. Today it's one of our Armenian citizens. Tomorrow, another one of us. The psychopaths from these city-outskirts have picked up the scent of blood and fame. In order to stop this, we have to search deep. And before accusing others, we have to take a look at ourselves. Yes, this is where we need to start if we want an honest and true solution.

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