Hrant Dink had questioned Turkey's denial of an Armenian genocide. ((Murad Sezer/Associated Press))

A Turkish journalist of Armenian descent who wasconvictedof insulting Turkey's national identity was shot to death Friday outside his newspaper's offices, police said.

Hrant Dink, 53, was shot three times by an unknown assailant as he left his newspaper Agosin Istanbul, Turkish television reported.

The high-profile editor-in-chief of the weekly had been tried repeatedly in Turkey for speaking out about the mass killing of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1917.

Dink was most recently convicted in October 2005 of "insulting Turkishness"and received a six-month suspended sentence.

Police said they were looking for a teenage suspect who was wearing a denim jacket and white hat.

Turkey's NTV television showed pictures of a white sheet covering the journalist's body in front of the newspaper building's entrance.

Armenia wants Turkey and other countries to officially label the killings of Armenians in the early 20th century as genocide.

The official government line from Turkey is that the Armenians were victims of the First World War and that massacres were committed on both sides as a result of ethnic violence.