It was the last day of traveling. We had begun the morning in Istanbul with a typically decadent breakfast buffet of bread, cheese, olives, and tomatoes. The 14 of us – UC Irvine students, faculty, and administrators – continued with a tour of the old city Sultanahmet, its ancient walls filled by three thousand years of empires and republics.
Now we were at our final destination: the Hrant Dink Foundation. Here, we talked and had copper-colored çay with Rober Koptaş, newspaper editor, and Delar Dink, daughter of Hrant Dink, Turk-Armenian and former Agos editor who was assassinated by a Turkish nationalist. Our visit included a stop at the site of Dink’s untimely 2007 death, marked by a plaque in the sidewalk. The foundation has carried on Hrant Dink’s mission, including hosting dialogue programs between Turks and Armenians.
Dialogue. This word had followed us on the two-week tour through the South Caucasus countries of Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia where we studied the genocide of 1915. A dictionary would define “dialogue” as an “exchange of ideas” and “discussion … aimed at resolution.” But our many conversations never reached a resolution and were unsettling, uprooting generations of pain in our own group.
Was peaceful resolution ever possible? Was justice within reach? Continue reading