Turkey’s Kayseri governorate denies permit for conference on multicultural heritage of province

The Hrant Dink Foundation has decided to hold an international conference on the Greek and Armenian heritage of Turkey’s central province of Kayseri in Istanbul after the Kayseri governorate refused to issue the necessary permit.

The foundation, established in 2007 after the assassination of its namesake, the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, works to “encourage dialogue, peace and the culture of empathy,” and has held similar academic conferences in the 12 years since.

“Unfortunately, the request to have a face to face visit to the governorship of Kayseri to inform about the conference remained unanswered for weeks, and then the governorship called to inform that holding the conference in Kayseri was not appropriate,” the foundation said in a statement

“Our demand for the justification afterwards and re-evaluation unfortunately remained unanswered as well,” it said.

The conference on the history of Kayseri and the region will now be held in the Hrant Dink Foundation’s Anarad Hığutyun Building in Istanbul on Oct. 18-19. 

Hrant Dink was an outspoken figure on the issue of the 1915 Armenian genocide, which the Turkish state denies took place. He was prosecuted three times for insulting Turkishness, an offence according to Article 301 of the Turkish penal code.

His assassination by a Turkish ultranationalist gunman in front of the Istanbul offices of bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos on Jan. 19, 2007 sparked nationwide protests. 

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