'He defended free press until his last breath'

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  • 10:05 18 January 2020
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VAN - 27 years have passed since the murder of Özgür Gündem newspaper distributor Orhan Karaağar. Orhan's brother, Eşref Karaağar said: "He embraced the free press at the cost of his life. He showed that in his dying breathe."

27 years have passed since the death of Orhan Karaağar, who was killed in the middle of the street on January 19, 1993 in Van, where he was the distributor of Özgür Gündem newspaper. The perpetrators of Karaagar, who was killed by armed civillians on a construction site on April 2 street while he was on his way to his house, are still haven't stood trial.
Karaağar who was held in Diyarbakır Prison for 2 and a half years during September 12 Military Coup, took part in the establishment of the Human Rights Association (İHD) in Van. Karaagar, who started working in Özgür Gündem in 1991, received death threats many times during newspaper distribution, but he responded to these threats every time with the words “I will distribute the newspaper as long as I exist.” As a matter of fact, Karaağar delivered the newspaper to the public until the day he was murdered.
In the 27th year of his murder, Eşref Karaağar talked about his brother Orhan.
Explaining that Orhan is a good person, a good brother and a good revolutionary above all, Karaağar said, "This is also the necessity of being a human. The most basic things like revolution and humane life were indispensable in his life and he adapted it to his life." 
Reminding that Orhan was arrested after the 1980 coup and was held in Diyarbakır prison for 2.5 years, Karaağar said: "Orhan continued his struggle from where he left after being released from prison. But nothing would be the same from then on. The cost was heavier working at the newspaper. This was the same for everyone working at the newspaper. We used to think how long would they survive working at the newspaper. The infamous 90's had started with all its 'unsolved' murders. Everyone knew who those assailants were. Ofcourse everyone was concerned but his wife and our mother was worried out of their minds. Orhan's life was the newspaper and he did his job at the cost of his life and he knew that."
Saying that he saw Orhan a few minutes before he was killed, Karaağar describes this encounter and what happened after that: "I got out of work in the evening, went to the market. It was getting dark early because it was winter. I ran into Orhan on the road. He had a bread bag in his hand. I asked where he was going. He told me he was going home and asked me to accompany him. When I said I had an errand to run, he went home alone, and that moment was a threshold I could not forget, a threshold that I could not get over. Orhan was detained a few days ago and they threatened him and told him to leave the newspaper. When I came home my mother asked me where Orhan was, suddenly something was broken in me. It was exactly 19:00. At that moment the door knocked and the police came. They told me to come to the police station with them. They took me and took me directly to Orhan's body. The paramilitary did the task given to them and Orhan had become the victim of an unknown assailant."
Reminding that all the applications they made after Orhan's murder did not give any results, Karaağar said: "Years later, confessors Murat İpek and Murat Demir told about the incident in a magazine and said Kadir Karataş's group carried out the assassination they were responsible for before them. We tought the government would do something about it when we saw the article but they did nothing. The case remained an unsolved murder."
Stating that Orhan's biggest field of struggle is the free press, Karaağar said: "For him, the most important part of life and revolution was to continue the tradition of Apê Musa, to keep it alive. Orhan saw this as the most important area of ​​the struggle. It was a relay race, and Orhan was doing this on purpose and loved it. Orhan embraced the free press and the newspaper at the expense of his life and showed it in his last breath. "
MA / Adnan Bilen

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