Eighteen young men charged in the assassination of the newspaper editor Hrant Dink went on trial here on Monday in what has been described as a test of the rule of law in Turkey.
Mr. Dink, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, was shot dead in front of his office on Jan. 19. A day later, a Turkish teenager, Ogun Samast, was arrested and charged with the murder. The government has brought charges against 17 other people.
Mr. Dink, the editor of Agos, a bilingual newspaper, challenged the official Turkish version of the 1915 Armenian genocide, which holds that hundreds of thousands of Armenians perished because of hunger and suffering in World War I.
But he was working to mend relations between Turkey and Armenia and had even taken issue with Armenians who insisted that Turkey’s entry into Europe hinge on its acknowledgment of genocide.
The trial’s verdict will have broad implications for free speech. Ultranationalist Turks have used an article of the country’s criminal code that forbids “insulting Turkishness” to push the government to bring charges against Turkish writers, including Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist. Mr. Dink received a suspended sentence under the statute. His supporters argue that a limp prosecution of his killing will embolden nationalists.