23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory: So That Turkey Will Not Forget From Now On
The former office of Agos newspaper at Sebat Apartment in İstanbul will open as 23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory. Rakel Dink, the wife of late journalist, has summarized the site of memory as follows: “So that Turkey will not forget from now on…”
After Hrant Dink, the Editor-in-Chief of Agos newspaper, was murdered in front of the former office of the newspaper at Sebat Apartment in Şişli, İstanbul on January 19, 2007, the apartment has acquired a special place in the public conscience and collective memory. Accordingly, the apartment will now host the 23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory.
While they were touring the site, a woman was whispering Rakel Dink, the wife of late journalist: "We are shedding our tears into ourselves."
Named after the article "April 23.5" penned by Hrant Dink on April 23, 1996, the site of memory has been introduced by Rakel Dink, Hrant Dink Foundation Project Coordinator Nayat Karaköse, Hrant Dink Foundation Executive Board Member Sibel Asna and artist Sarkis.
Rakel Dink: I hope it will be for the benefit of people
Thanking everyone who has contributed to the 23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory "on behalf of Turkey", Rakel Dink has stated the following:
"I wish that this site of memory will be for the benefit of people, I hope that it will help people's movement of love by remembering this murder.
"And, I hope that Turkey will not try to forget it from now on, he is always standing before their eyes like a picture. I would like to thank you all, because I am really moved..."
'We have prepared it to multiply goodness'
As for Sibel Asna, an Executive Board member of Hrant Dink Foundation, she has defined the site of memory as "a site of sentiment" and said:
"Our dream started after Ayşegül Altınay introduced us the sites of memory from around the world. A serious scientific research has been conducted. Nayat visited all aforementioned sites of memory around the world.
"As Rakel has also indicated, it is a site that we have prepared so as to multiply the goodness and to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents in the future. Each room has a different function..."
'We tried to combine memory with hope'
Nayat Karaköse has also stated the following:
"We have examined how memory combines with hope in various sites. Because they are difficult sites. Especially those sites that witnessed the horrible incidents in Holocaust camps, Argentina and in periods of coup in Chile were really difficult sites.
"It was also important to see it: We have seen how this difficult past, that sorrow has turned into hope, into action and how the victims of the past have become the actors of this transformation. We have tried to create a space which comprises both hope and future. We held long meetings. Over 25 experts came from 20 countries in total. They talked about their own experiences and we have prepared it by working collectively.
"In the beginning, we had the following question in mind: Yes, a tragedy occurred here, but this place was also a space which is alive, a space where a newspaper thrived and triggered a transformation. It was really important for us to give a life to this place. We have tried to make it a place which comprises both hope and future.
"The main narrator of this site is Hrant Dink; when you come here, you will listen everything from his articles and narratives. The most difficult part of setting up a site is to find a narrator. As we already have a perfect narrator, his involvement with his voice and existence has made it a stronger site."
Rooms of site of memory and their significance
The 23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory has the following rooms:
Multipurpose activity room: Different workshops and events that would contribute to the 23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory to become a place of sharing, production, thought and research will be held in this room. This room will give the visitors the opportunity to view different parts from the life of Hrant Dink. The 10-year archive of Agos newspaper from 1996 to 2007 will also be open to the visitors in this room.
Corridor: In the corridor, there will be news reports published on Agos newspaper between 1996 and 2007, which will shed light on important events that unfolded in the history of Turkey, have a significance for the minorities and acquired a place in collective memory.
Tırttava: Designed in the light of discrimination faced by Hrant Dink during his mandatory military service, this room will give its visitors the opportunity to share their own stories of discrimination and read the stories of others.
Agos Room: In this room, the main focus is the Agos newspaper, as its name also suggests. This room will inform the visitors about the establishment, successes and main themes of the newspaper based on statements of witnesses, news reports, drawings, pictures and videos.
Atlantis Civilization Room: This room will tell the visitors about the childhood of Hrant Dink in "Kamp Armen" in Tuzla, his struggle, the story of Hrant and Rakel Dink as well as the cultural inventory of Turkey and the problem of properties faced by minority foundations.
Room of Disquiet of a Pigeon: Named after an article penned by Hrant Dink in 2007, this room will focus on how Hrant Dink was targeted as of the year 2004, what lawsuits were filed against him and what protests were staged against him and Agos during that period.
Toilet Choir: The Toilet Choir installation will display the psychological and physical torture experienced by Hrant Dink in a prison cell after he was arrested in 1980 military coup. In this way, this installation will also remind the visitors of the anti-democratic practices of the time.
Pursuit of justice: This room will give detailed information about what happened on January 19 and how the Hrant Dink murder case has been proceeding since 2007 as well as the January 19 commemoration events and the demands for justice made for Hrant Dink.
Salt and Light: Based on the metaphor of "creating a diamond from sorrows" by artist Sarkis, the installation of Salt and Light is in the back balcony of the apartment. Salt and Light is designed to give visitors the opportunity to feel, contemplate and remember.
Project of founding an embassy: Lastly, this project by Horst Hoheisel from Germany and Andreas Knitz will put an emphasis on Turkey-Armenia relations.
Editorial note: 23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory will be opened in June 17, 2019.