ISTANBUL. – The “Justice” Initiative has launched in Turkey, and it is devoted to Sevag Balikci—the Istanbul Armenian who was killed, on April 24, 2011, in a military unit while serving in the Turkish army.
Several intellectuals, journalist, and political figures gathered in Istanbul, days before the next court trial into Sevag’s murder case, and they announced the launching of the “Justice” Initiative, Star daily of Turkey informs.
One of the gathering’s participants, former MP Ufuk Uras, noted that they came together to raise public sensitivity toward racism and hatred. “We do not accept [the fact] that Sevag’s killer is freely walking in the streets,” Uras said.
The widow, son, and several friends of Hrant Dink—the founder and former chief editor of Istanbul’s Agos Armenian bilingual weekly, who was gunned down in 2007 in front of his office building—and others also attended the meeting.
To note, Sevag Balikci was killed by Kivanc Agaoglu, but the Turkish gendarmerie had stated that the death had occurred accidentally while the soldiers were joking around. Agaoglu was released at the very first court hearing, and on the grounds that he had no reason to escape. The Turkish Military Prosecutor’s Office had demanded a mere nine-year sentence for Agaoglu, and on charges of “murder as a result of negligence.” But at Diyarbakir Military Court, a senior officer had stated that, after Sevag’s murder, an eyewitness soldier had told him that Kivanc Agaoglu had told Sevag: “Chubby, I will kill you!” Yet the other military servicemen at the trial denied these words.