30 November 2006

1255) France Special On Genocide Bill

 © pix  © pix

-Chirac’s Armenian Cause . .
-France And Rwanda; Fashoda Complex
-Do Not Be Mad At The French

If France needed to be graded, Armenians most probably give Paris the top grade not only for their support for ASALA but also because it did not show any hesitations in adopting the fanatical demands of a terrorist movement of the 80s. It is also because France has no hesitations of making the terrorist demands of the 80s, the “official policy” of the Europe of 2000s.

French President Jacques Chirac’s attitude of trying to make Armenians’ allegations targeting Ankara as a condition for its membership of the European Union originates from the double-standard approach with its slogan of “everybody should face with their history”.

The statement “everybody should face their history” has some other messages in it. What Paris means with it is that “whatever France did in its history was the necessity of its own interests” and “the others have to accept the allegations whenever they are attached with one”.

After Chirac voiced this expectation of his, one of his advisors “explained” Chirac’s words in order to prevent an accusation on Paris in case of a fresh crisis in Turkey-EU relations which can not take on any more crises. According to the advisor spoke to press unanimously, Chirac’s demand is not legal but political.

Of course, it is not an act of conscience to qualify a heavy accusation such as genocide as “political but not legal”. A more serious approach could not be expected anyway from Chirac who is in a race to create troubles for Turkey with his rival Nicolas Sarkozy and in need of every single Armenian vote for Dominique De Villepine – who he choice as his successor .

Chirac has gone too far that even the European Council angered with him and the Speaker of European Council Parliamentarians Assembly Rene van der Linden said in Strasbourg that the union had already set the membership conditions for Turkey. Probably, another statement to be made in a while will say that “the Armenian demands are not among the Copenhagen Criteria but a step to be taken by Turkey would contribute Turkey’s membership - as a political issue – positively from a standpoint of the union’s acquis communitaire spirit and the European values. The clues of this are seen in the numerous drafts of progression reports in Brussels.

There is some thing definite: France, the pushing engine of the European Union, establishes a direct relation between the union membership and the recognition of the so-called genocide. This situation according to Le Figaro is a “duty of civilization” and Chirac is “destroying another taboo”.

What the European Union officially say at this moment is not very valuable either; because, the Armenian demands find a place for them in progress reports in this or that way. There is nothing to stop those demands to come before us as “pre-condition”, reference criteria” or “political demand” in the progress reports written with the wording technique – the finest art of diplomacy.

It is sufficient to know the following words of Chirac prior to his meeing with the President of Armenian Republic, Robert Kocharian on September 30th 2006:

“I would like to remind once more that France recognizes the Armenian genocide. France recognizes it with its law. This is, indirectly, our law. This law was adopted by all of us. On the other hand, as you know well, we are a state of law. Does Turkey have to recognize the Armenian genocide for its accession to the European Union? I think, to be honest, yes. Every country gets bigger by recognising its own tragedies and mistakes.”

If every country is getting greater by recognizing their own tragedies and mistakes – which is true -, that means France will remain as it is. Two important issues should be underlined before mentioning rance’s tragedies and mistakes. Both issues are a part of European acquis communitaire and Chirac, as the leader of a member state, needs to follow acquis communitaire.

The European Union has to stand by the European Parliament’s recommendation decision dated 18.06.1987 and titles “A Political Solution of the Armenian Question”.

Article (a) of the decision says Turkey could not be held responsible of the tragic events and Turkey could not be asked to fulfil political, legal or financial demands, even if Turkey accepts the allegations.

Article (b) of the decision condemns the Armenian terror, and article (c) asks the Council to direct Turkey to accept the allegations. Article (d) on the other hand says Turkey’s EU membership would be possible only if Turkey accepts the Armenian allegations.

When those articles are considered, the recommendation decision briefly says as follows:

“Turkey is not right but not responsible either. Armenians are guilty of terrorism. If Turkey accepts it is not right, we could accept it in the union.”

These words were said in 1987. It was the time that the Cold war continued and the Armenian card was more valuable than gold for countries such as France. It was the time which “Turkey showed its determination of staying anchored in European institutions” by starting a “long and thin path” and the Armenian terror remained unresolved.

Let us talk about the second point.

Approximately 16 years have passed after that decision. In 2003, Armenian diaspora filed a court case at Luxembourg Council of Justice. The case aimed all relations with Turkey to be suspended. The aforementioned recommendation decision was presented as the legal ground. Gregoire Krikorian and Suzan Krikorian also made criminal complaints about the European Parliament, the EU Council and the EU Commission. The file C-18/04 2004/C 94/37 opened by G. Krikorian S. Krikorian (Tatoyan) and Association Euro-Arménie, was demanding the punishment of the Council and the Commission according to T-346/03’e and T-346/03R. The council of Justice found the case application “unjust” and “ungrounded” in 2004.

According to Krikorian couple, the candidate status given to Turkey during the summit of Helsinki on 10th and 11th December 1999 was in contradiction with the “A Political Solution of the Armenian Question” recommendation decision of the European Parliament of 18.06.1987. But unlike them, the Council of Justice was thinking that nobody’s memories, reputation and history were being disrespected.

The Council of Justice ruled that the application had no legal grounds. It also recorded that the parliament’s recommendation decision was “completely political”, it had no sanctions and could be changed.

It was stabilized that the 1987 recommendation decision had no legal validity. The Council of Justice could state the same thing for the decisions of the member states if its view was asked. In the end, the rejection of Krikorians’ application has got a value of case law.

The European Parliament adopted a recommendation decision on December 15th 2004, just two days before the summit of December 17th 2004. The parliament in this decision asked Turkey to recognize the “genocide”. There is no legal difference between the two recommendation decisions of 1987 and 2004. In fact, the 2004 decision was asking the fulfilment of the necessities of 1987 decision but the decision of the Council of Justice, written in a clear language that is open to no comments, is evident.

The Armenian issue was also touched in the Progress Report of the Commission dated October 6th 2004 and in the 21st paragraph of the final declaration of Brussels summit on December 17th 2004.

Let us now talk about “everybody’s need to face with their own history” and the fact that “those countries who do not see their own tragedies and mistakes can not get bigger”.

French state and railways were convicted because of their role in the transport of Jews to detention centres during the World War II and sentenced to pay compensation. French railways stated that it would appeal. French railways had received similar convictions but they were overruled when they appealed with the excuse that they had to follow the German instructions since France was under occupation and they had no other option. France, though, was convicted for the first time of its partnership in a crime against humanity.

According to international law, “partnership in crime against humanity” is a serious crime too, just like “committing a crime against humanity”. The law does not accept any excuses, conditional obligations or directives when it comes to crimes committed against humanity. French railways first insisted on the timeout but then the defence was based on the fact that the presence of Vichy government that was in collaboration with the Germans. For the French government it was as simple as that. If the conditions require and the directives were given, it could join the crime of genocide and it could not be called as a crime since Vichy was in charge!

Could that be possible? Could not the conditions really leave any other options to the French state in that period of time, if every period needs to be evaluated with their own conditions?

Documents prove otherwise but the most frightening is the French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen’s recent statement that the Nazi occupation in France was not as bad and inhumanly as alleged”.

While “Nationalist” Le Pen was saying the Nazi occupation in his country was not as bad, he was also saying the followings in an interview broadcast by RTL:

“It is true that the German occupation in France was relatively less painful. There were some extreme events but things like that can be experienced in a country of 555.000 kilometre squares.” Le Pen previously told Le Monde that Gestapo was a police force protecting French people. He even said that “if the Germans had committed massacres in France as alleged, they would not build the detention centres for political reasons.

Bruno Gollnisch, National Front’s representative at the European Parliament, spoke on the Jewish genocide last year and said that “the existence of gas chambers should be detected by historians and the number of the dead should also be discussed by them”. It is evident that the National Front thinks that the Jewish Holocaust, just like the Algerian Genocide, should be left to the historians.

Le Pen collected the 18 % of the votes in 2002 elections and this 79 year-old Jewish genocide witness is a candidate in 2007 elections too. Public opinion polls signal that Le Pen will receive much more votes in 2007 elections.

The situation in France is like this today but we need to have a lok at the Vichy government that the crime was shifted on by the railway company. There were strict restrictions in France during Vichy government. France is the strictest European country that has restrictions on archives.

But there is something certain that the Germans could not spot and detain Jewish people in any other country they occupied as easy as they did in France. France that describes itself as the “Grande Nation” knows the facts related to that period thanks to Kurt Werner Schaechter who sought asylum in France in 1938. Kurt Werner Schaechter obtained 12000 secret archive documents illegally in 1991 and 1992.

The documents enlightened Vichy period and all crimes committed by France against the Jews as well as introduced a pressure of prosecution- which still continues – on Schaechter. Despite all pressures, Schaechter continues to release the documents.

Schaechter’s view is in the direction that the Vichy government carried out the stately terror with its own mechanisms on its soil, in order to sustain the existence of French state. This means that the Jewish Holocaust took place within a –this or that way- cooperation between the institutions and the states of Germany and France.

An agreement dated August 8th 1942 had decided the work share in “spotting and collecting Jews” between German and French officials. According to what Bousquet said at court in 1947, this agreement and cooperation made French state to preserve its sovereignty rights and continuity.

The French Railway Company sent at least 500.000 people to death with 780 train journeys between 1942 and 1947. Only 2 500 of them survived. France earned 200 000 Franks for each journey.

Rene Bousquet said in a telegram he sent to the whole company on September 9th 1942 that the jewellery, cash, valuable papers and movable goods belonged to the state. The system established by the French worked perfectly. For example the head of Recebedou Camp boosted proudly to Bousquet on December 24th 1942 that an income of 848,354 Franks was obtained.

According to the documents, French Railways had done its last shipment on July 1st 1944. Approximately 800 people arrived the detention centre in Dachau after a painful journey that lasted 56 days.

Paris’s record as a partner of the Jewish Holocaust is not limited with this. British historian of Armenian origin Sarafian reacts to France and reminds the massacres in Algeria and Rwanda: “French attitude is ironic next to its own history”.

Algerians defend the thesis that identity genocide was carried out under the French rule, hundreds of thousands of people were massacred and France has to apologise. France, who does not accept that, is also accused of training Hutu militia who committed the genocide in Rwanda and encouraging the genocide by remaining silent.

France owes a big apology to everybody but it would not do it. It has got an attitude of boasting with its reach cuisine where they eat snails.

If everybody will come to terms with their history and if everybody would be greater by accepting own tragedies and mistakes, why should France be out of this?

Maybe Chirac should start from himself as everybody needs to clean in front of their doors for a clean city.

France is shaken by a book detailing the love adventures of French politicians who are used to live their private lives out of sight. The book “Sexus Politicus” authored by Christophe Deloire and Christophe Dubois narrates how President Jacques Chirac and his predecessors François Mitterrand and Valery Giscard D'Estaing chased women for years and the details of their forbidden love relations.

Chirac’s mistress is one of the issues that attract the most attention in the 390 page book. "President disappears for the rendezvous at midnight. He even takes his mistress to his foreign visits and he does this with state’s money. Bernadette Chirac, who was in great pain asked her chauffeur whether he saw her husband on the night that Princess Diana had died in a traffic accident in Paris. ” According to the book, there was a competition between Mitterand and Chirac to have the most mistresses. At one time Mitterand and Chirac even involved with the same woman. According to Dubois, it is not clear who won that competition. In Sexus Politicus, it is also narrated that one of the former ministers, whose name was kept hidden, visited a wife-swapping clubs. Mistress of another one committed suicide. A more astonishing claim is related to the presidency elections to be held next year: “One of the candidates who wishes to sit on the most important chair of the country has left his mistress mercilessly.”

France And Rwanda; Fashoda Complex
There is a significant page on the near history book of France who is holding countless European and World championships in human rights and democracy. “Rwanda” is the title on that page. A genocide in real sense was experienced in our world at the end of the 20th century. The genocide in Rwanda also was memorised as a picture of double standards, immorality and the European diseases of our times.

Rwanda’s Head of State Paul Kagame said on the genocide took place in his country on April 7th, 1994 as follows:

“Frenchmen trained and armed the soldiers and militia that would commit the genocide. They knew there would be genocide. French saved those murderers later on and did not protect the victims. They were courageous enough to remain here without any apologies as well.”

What the Rwandan Head of State Paul Kagame mentioned is the “Turquoise Operation” that France was running in Rwanda in June 1994. Paris, after a short time following that statement condemned Rwanda for the “untrue allegations”. French Defence Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie claimed that the “Turquoise Operation” of France was a chance for Rwanda and it blocked a genocide.

According to the data given by researcher Bernhard Schmid, 10.000 people were massacred everyday for three months in Rwanda. 937 000 bodies were identified. It is a known fact that the total number of victims was more than one million. Rwanda’s population was over seven million before the genocide and only one fifth of it was Tutsis who were targeted by the genocide.

Rwanda paid very heavily for the division of its people into two as Hutus and Tutsis in a very long colonialism era. Belgium which was under intensive French influence divided Rwanda into various artificial ethnic identities by force while it was also declaring the self-invented Hutus and Tutsis as enemies. The words “Tutsi” and “Hutu” were even put on the ID cards as ethnic origins and the genocide which damaged Rwanda greatly was carried out very easily. Murderers set up check points on streets and found their victims through “ID check”.

Following the genocide, Paris hosted frequent demonstrations of Rwandans and French people who were embarrassed of the genocide. Paris government showed halls for commemoration ceremonies and locations for demonstrations. At the end of the day there was a democracy in France and people could voice their reactions in France to the genocide took place in their country. France, after all, was the human rights and democracy champion of Europe and the world of all times. The genocide took place in Rwanda – according to the official statements of Paris – was made up by Rwanda.

BBC of Britain prepared a documentary called “Three Bloody Colours” –being inspired from the French flag - on France’s sins in Rwanda. As understood from the name of the documentary, it was evidencing the role in the genocide that a nation had to take on, of the capital of love and romance, Paris. BBC included interviews held with many leading French politicians as well in the documentary. Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, the shameless son of former French President Françoise Mitterrand was on of the interviewees. His father had put Jean-Christophe Mitterand in charge with the “African affairs” in 1982. Jean-Christophe Mitterand, thanks to this post, gained fame in Paris and in the world as “Papamadit” (My father told me that…).

BBC asked Jean-Christophe Mitterand during the interview whether the genocide nights in Rwanda interrupted his sleep. Jean-Christophe Mitterand smiled and replied to this question: “No”. Of course what was going on in Rwanda was tragic but he did not feel responsible. Even his close friendship with Rwanda’s genocide planner Head of State Habyarimana’s son was irrelevant to the issue.

BBC asked Paul Baril, a gendarmerie officer and the presidency consultant, about what Rwandan Head of State Kagame said. Barril’s reply was as follows:

“He can not even speak French. Not even a word. He only understands English”. It might sound surprising for readers but it was astonishingly important for France that Kagame and his followers could not speak French because a person in Africa should only speak the language of the country he would obey.

In French influenced Rwanda, French friendly Hutus could speak French. But Tutsis who sought refuge in Uganda due to pressures were speaking English. That is why France believe that Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) under the leadership of Kagame, since they spoke English, would separate Rwanda from France and bring it closer to the Britain

French Foreign Minister visited Kagame in Quai d’Orsay in 1992 and told him that if he returned to Rwanda, he would not be able to find any surviving members of his family there. The family the French minister mentioned was Tutsis. While the French minister was saying these, France was giving an intensive military training to Hutu militias and soldiers.

French parliament had to establish a research commission in 1998 as a result of continuous publication of documents and information by the French journalist Patrick de Saint-Exupery. But the commission report failed to come to a conclusion about “who was responsible” but only contributed the sweeping the French role under the rag.

Patrick de Saint-Exupery left no suspicion in his articles and publications about who the responsible was. Patrick de Saint-Exupery was in Rwanda in June 1994 and witnessed the “Turquoise Operation” with his own eyes.

He saw the arrival of French Special Forces, air deployment troops and anti-terror unit GIGN to Bicecero hill, the stronghold of those who tried to resist the genocide, on June 27th, 1994. French soldiers told those who were still alive that they came to help but they did not. The journalist never saw that the French soldiers helping the surviving people but witnessed that French soldiers fighting against the genocide-resisting RFP.

Obviously, as Françoise Mitterand said –off the record- during an interview that “genocide does not mean much in those countries” and “people’s perception of death in those countries was different than ours” as claimed by Charles Pasqua, the conservative-nationalist Interior Minister responsible of France’s policy implementation in Africa.

Both French statesmen, in fact, try to tell as follows: “We French are different than them. It is natural for them to die, to kill and to be killed. If the deaths are excessive, that might be called genocide. But for Africans, death and genocide are natural. It should not be exaggerated.”

When these words are looked at, it is understood that genocide is actually natural for France. There was nothing that French could not do to reach its targets as France has always been under the shadow of London in sharing and colonialist moves in Africa and never been the first power in the continent. This French complex against Britain is named Fashoda Complex. If there was not a Fashoda Complex, maybe more than one million Tutsi would not see the genocide. But it is too late to discuss all these.

Journalist Patrick de Saint-Exupery does not think that what happened in Rwanda was not only linked to the Fashoda Complex. According to him, France had developed a “counter-revolution technique” against the insurgents in Vietnam and Algeria after it was inspired from Mao’s “revolutionary war theory”. Civilians and people should be under control in this technique. A semi-military militia organisation should be established and people in risky regions should be evacuated obligatorily. This method was used by the USA in Argentina later on. The operators of this technique were tutored by French officers at a US Military School, Fort Bragg. .

Patrick de Saint-Exupery thinks that France was testing the technique it developed while training Hutus in militia groups and sending them over Tutsis. For this reason, French officers before and during the genocide did not only give consultancy but also took part in the centre of the operation.

According to the French press, what happened in Rwanda was Rwanda’s responsibility and Rwandans should not look for the criminal in France but in their own soil. Most probably, French readers believed the newspapers, Mitterand and the reports composed by their parliament.

But one of the exceptional journalists, Colette Braeckman penned an important article on Le Monde Diplomatique’s March 2004 release. The article titled “The Clumsiness of International Society” underlined some milestones in the Rwandan history.

Arusha Peace treaty was signed between Rwanda and RFP in Tanzania in August 1993. According to the treaty, an UN peace force would be deployed in Rwanda. The peace force would auspice the Rwanda’s interim government and the RFP’s accession to the political life.

Meanwhile Rwanda would receive foreign aid as well. The UN deployed 2 548 soldiers instead of 4 500. The UN peace force was given the duty of “protecting peace” but not “establishing peace”. It meant that the UN soldiers could not use weapon even when it was necessary.

A great crisis broke out in Rwanda in 1994. While the world was turning a blind eye, France and Belgium were unsurprisingly ready for peace and calmness in Rwanda. Arusha Peace Treaty was not in application and Hutus started propagating hatred through the TV channel they established. It was understood that even in the middle of February militia forces were being trained in Hutu military camps.

In the following months, the French Bank Credit Lyonnais gave a massive loan to Rwanda for the purchase of weapon and ammunition from Egypt. Political murders came one after another in October 1993. The UN Peace Force was amazed when it learnt in January 1994 that Hutus were searching Tutsis one by one and making a record of them. The inquiries found out the existence of a Hutu militia organisation called “Interahamwe”. The name of the organisation meant “Joint Killers of Them”. The organisation had a massive weaponry depot.

In following days, an arm storage in the central offices of the Hutu Head of State Habyarimana’s party was discovered. The UN peace force asked permission from the centre to confiscate the arm storages on January 15th 1994. This permission request was never replied. Head of State Habyarimana, however, moved the weapon storage to another place for a short time.

The only reaction that the international society gave to those developments was the Belgium’s Foreign Minister Willy Claes’s partial criticism of Rwanda with a carefully worded statement in February 1994. Meanwhile political murders continued without any breaks and in following days, the UN decided that there was no need for an extension duty period for the UN Peace Force in Rwanda.

In fact, on the same days, the UN Security Council in a statement said that “the situation in Rwanda was worrying”. Koffi Annan was the responsible person of the UN peace forces and peace operations in that period. Kofi Annan received the greatest support from Chirac when he was forced to resign during his general secretariat because of his son Kojo’s great corruption allegations.

The genocide, as being inevitable under all those conditions, started on April 6th, 1994. The Hade of State Habyarimana was killed in a plane crash. With this strange assassination, Hutus attacked Tutsis and Tutsis attacked Hutus with great hatred. The hatred and hostility stored for years in society came to the surface. Streets were flooded by corpses in one day.

France and Belgium, of course, could not remain silent. They sent their troops to Rwanda immediately. If Paris and Brussels had sent those soldiers as contribution to the UN Peace Force, there would not be a genocide. They preferred to deploy their troops in Rwanda after the genocide started. French and Belgian soldiers were interested in the evacuation of foreigners in Rwanda instead of stopping the clashes. They preserved their “neutrality”. The neutrality was between the murdering Hutus and murdered Tutsis.

On April 12th, Belgium decided to withdraw all its troops from Rwanda after it saddened with the loss of 10 soldiers and called on all other countries to do the same. Meanwhile France accelerated its weapon flow into Rwanda.

France stated on June 22nd that it would intervene with the situation in line with the UN charter. The genocide was continuing meanwhile. The French intervention did not come for the favour of the genocide target Tutsis. France declared 1secured zones” but could not prevent massacres in those secured zones. Not a single person was arrested. Radio Mille Collines that run the hatred campaign against Tutsis was not shut down.

Thousands of French soldiers were helpless with their aeroplanes, assault helicopters and nearly 100 tanks. RFP forces found a demolished and deserted city when they entered capital Kigali on July 4th. While more than 300 000 orphaned children were walking around without knowing what to do, the French Foreign Minister’s words he said in Uganda to the leader of RFP in Uganda were confirmed right:

“If you return to Rwanda, you would not be able to find any surviving members of your family there.”

Most of the Hutus involved in the genocide sought refuge from Zaire, settled down in a camp and went under the protection of the international aid organisations. Kagame tried to tell the UN officials that those camps were threats for his soil and people. Finally RFP moved against those camps. The international society was quite yet once more.

The Zaire’s Head of State Mobutu, despite the Frech support up until the last minute, was ousted seven months later. The war that lasted until 1998 spread the genocide to Zaire (Congo). Some sources claim that three million people were killed in joint operations of Rwandan and Zairian armies during the war.

The UN Secretary General Koffi Annan made a speech at a UN general session ten years after the genocide. Annan in his speech said that the international society was insufficient and unwilling. He even said that the same tragedy should not be repeated. He did not criticise France, of course. A report of thousands of pages was released by a research commission of the Belgian parliament in 1997. Vorwaerts of Switzerland and Le Figaro of France released parts of the report in 1998. According to the news and quotations, the French contribution to those who committed the genocide is undeniably true.

Do Not Be Mad At The French
“The image of France” has been seriously damaged in Turkey after France banned the calling of Armenian lies as lies by means of law. Once upon a time, the word French reminded one of French music, French cuisine and culture. Everybody appreciated the elegance of the French language. For many Turks what happened during and after the First World War and during the War of Independence were left in the past.

The conditions and the time were different. France was an important partner today both in NATO and in the European Union both for the world peace and for the establishment of the future European civilization.

However, this law enacted by France has created a serious change in the point of views. Now the man on the street better remembers what happened in Urfa, Antep and Maraş. For the man on the street, the what happened in Rwanda and Algeria and French cooperation with the Nazis during the Second World War have become more meaningful after the passage of this law in France.

However nothing has changed in France. Not for centuries not for years France is the same France, Paris is the same Paris and unfortunately the French are the same as well. In fact, Chirac, who posed for cameras while kissing Tansu Çiller’s hand elegantly, is the same Chirac who talked like a Hinchak guerrilla in Yerevan for applauses.

One of the former presidents of France, Charles de Gaulle, proves that we are now confused and mistaken in many issues regarding France through an answer he gave to a question regarding the agreements and thus about “the principle of pacta sund servanda”;

“The agreements are like roses and young damsels. They are valid as long as they are attractive”.

A French proverb says that “justice is lame”. The “lameness” mentioned in this proverb does not derive from the judges or from the courts, because it is the French understanding of justice which is lame. In fact, another French proverb refers to the issue of “justice” as follows;

“Our justice interpretations are like our watches: most of them indicate different places and everyone relies on his own watch”.

Only this saying can explain why the French transferred Armenian guerrillas from Caucasia to Anatolia and provided some with guns and some with French uniforms during the last years of the Ottoman Empire and then ninety years later than the failure of this ethnical purification projects Anatolia, is acting as if opposite things happened.

Because “man is fear”, “man is loneliness” and “man is a dilemma.” Since “man exists from his character”, then we have to see the French from this point of view. Those diagnoses belong to Sartre. Maybe Sartre is totally right. Truly “the French had never been free before the German invasion” and “freedom is in fact the right to say no”.

In a system which is established with “the right to say no” one the one side and the Armenian lobby, media bodies effective in the political arena and “the obligation to say yes” on the other side, the justice can merely be “lame”. In fact, as De Gaulle said “the ministers do not get angry with the newspapers. They don’t even read them. The Minister write the newspapers”.

Another example of lameness is speaking of the human rights on the one hand and enacting the “colonialism is good” law. Like the lames of leaving what happened in Rwanda and Algeria “to historians” and enacting a law for the Armenian lies.

It is possible to learn the reason for this lameness from another famous Frenchman. In one of his speeches Napoleon Bonaparte said “The society needs a firm justice. The humanitarianism of the state is everything but the humanitarianism on the opera stage.” In other words according to Bonaparte “the system” in France shows us the humanitarianism “in the opera” but “in reality” implements its own humanitarianism...

Once upon a time a man said “I broke the chains of the thinking now I only know the chains of obligation”. His name was Jean-Jacques Rousseau. If Rousseau had lived today, he could not have been able to say this in France, just like Sartre would have preferred to refrain from voicing most of his ideas. Most probably they would have shared the same prison cell with Voltaire who said “I do not agree with you. But I am ready to die for you to voice your ideas”.

Maybe Rousseau, whop said “Art is being able to understand small things”, was depicting the understanding of politics and justice with those words. He wanted France to understand what he thought were petty things, details. If the things which France considered petty, the Algerians, Rwanda, the Turks, justice, law, acts and so on had been understood right in Paris, the course history would have been different.

Again if, as Rousseau said, “it is more valuable to pay attention to man rather than miracles”, then it would be more beneficial if we focus on the realities regarding the French rather than a miracle that the French will change or get better. In the end, Voltaire was not babbling when he said “having wisdom and understanding in a crazy world is being mat at you”.

If we give credit to the words of Charles Baron de Montesquieu we have to accept that; “human understanding does not create understanding”. In other words having conscience has nothing to do with acting with conscience or having wisdom has nothing to do with acting wise. Some conditions are necessary for this.

For this reason it is important to act by considering Napoleon Bonaparte’s statement “you cannot make an omelette without breaking any eggs” and without disregarding François Mitterrand’s statement that “there can be no unity in where people kick each other”. As Bonaparte says “richness is not having a treasury, it means knowing how to use the treasure”.

Jean Baptist Moliere was perhaps summarizing France when he said “the value of everything depends on the value we attribute to them”.

By all means France is big, powerful, rich and virtuous. If all the Frenchmen are saying this like that, then it must be so. However according to Rene Descartes “big souls lead to big mistakes and big virtues”. In other words the “mistake” or the “virtue” served is as important as being “big”. If Descartes lived today, he would make other substantial statements.

It is not easy to find why all those conditions have turned this way. However De Gaulle once said “when there is no threat the French turn to exaggerated criticism.” Perhaps collapsing in the internal politics France is presenting the public a problem for keeping busy. Or as De Gaulle said “it is better to implement the incomplete decisions rather than seeking the decisions which will never be complete”.

I wonder whether France loves Turkey despite all the crap she signed for. The immediate answer one thinks of is “no” but a statement made by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne says “yes” and also confirms the attitude of Chirac, the friend to Turks;

“Having real love for someone means insulting, hurting and then healing this person”. In addition, “if a man promises to love a woman forever, he is stipulating her to be worth loving forever”.

It is more important to understand the French rather than getting mad at them. The statements of the French philosophers and statesmen indicate this and in a way depicting both France and the French people.


France’s Armenian Ghosts

Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler question the French legislation of punishment of the expression of denial. That is, why France would address Turkey on Armenians when they have delayed addressing themselves about Algerians, or European complicity in the holocaust. What pushes this legislation as Turkey hopes to join Europe's Union?

Moral ghosts of the Holocaust still haunt Europe. Now in new guise, moral ghosts are playing havoc with France’s capacity for moral discernment. Draped under the absolutist mantle of virtue, France’s legislators have lost their moral compass. The nation which charted the first Human Rights Act has done a perplexing turn-about in order to confront these other ghosts, others’ ghosts.

Is the French National Assembly’s sweeping law which would punish any expression of denial that Turkey committed ‘genocide’ against Armenians evidence of France’s own malaise, a reluctance to grapple morally with admission of its own ghosts, and politically with the admission of Turkey into Europe?

Over recent years Europe has expanded its boundaries so that Auschwitz is now fully integrated into its midst. Europe is defining a new moral identity for itself. Does France see itself part of that new moral self-definition, or is France seeking to expand Europe’s moral boundaries while contracting those boundaries in geo-political terms?

Europe is remembering too much, and too little. Too little, since all Europeans have yet fully to confront their Holocaust ghosts; too much, in that when they grapple with those ghosts they often embrace collective expiation of guilt, re-defined by the late French philosopher Jacques Derrida as “dissolution of guilt…If one starts to accuse oneself by begging forgiveness of all crimes of the past against humanity, there would not be a single innocent left on earth.”

After attempting to bury memories by long choosing not to remember 60 years on, Europe does commemorate the Holocaust, acknowledges a shared guilt. But commemoration has not stilled the ghosts. They creep further on -- crossing historical and geographical boundaries to tackle national memories of colonialism and slavery. The moral pressure of the ghosts also induced Europeans to confront contemporary moral challenges in Bosnia and Kosovo, while 9/11 compelled them to relate to ’the other’ in their midst.

What then drove this French insistence on a purist cross-border law with regard to Turkey’s ghosts -- an attempt perhaps to gain comfort by turning away from confronting their own sins?

This imperative of grappling with ‘the other’ within their midst complicates European attitudes on how to relate to ‘the other’ beyond their realm, the other who would like to become part of their realm. This is especially true of relations between some Europeans and Turks -- as Turkey negotiates to become a full part of Europe, negotiates to stop being “the other’.

Could the enacting of a genocide-denial law committed by a country which is not yet included in their midst be intended to help Europeans avoid an historical grappling with ‘a European crime’ -- if Europe be enlarged to Turkey? Let rather Turkey remain beyond Europe, let its ‘genocide’ remain beyond Europe.

But if the French purpose was both to keep Turkey out of Europe politically and Turkey’s tainted past out of Europe historically, it is backfiring. Turkey’s ghost is doubling up as France’s Armenian ghosts.

Europe is at a crossroads between its past and its future orientation -- both political and moral. The French law seeks to put an indelible stamp on the choices which define Europe, the basis on which Europe ought to constitute itself.

With respect to Holocaust guilt, Derrida wrote: “If everyone is considered guilty there will be no-one left to judge what then cannot be adequately judged; if there is no-one to judge, then there is no need for soul-search.” France’s insistence on a legalistic measure to tackle the “Armenian genocide” takes the Derrida stricture to an illogical conclusion.

The law is patently not the same as legislation against Holocaust denial -- as many European nations have done. Holocaust deniers still try to ply their wares, their anti-Semitism meant to thrive on that denial. Denial of the Armenian genocide is, however, a non-issue in this respect: No-one in France, nor in Europe, nor indeed within Turkey, uses denial to foment hatred.

Morally, it’s perfectly acceptable for France to prod Turkey to confront its ghosts, as many Turks themselves demand of their country. But beyond suspect political motives, is this legal rush merely an attempt by some in France to cover-up refusal to confront their national ghosts -- from France’s colonial past?

Hardly surprisingly, aghast Turkish critics of the French action now pursue a counter-challenge: What about your Algerian ghosts? France is coming to terms with those ghosts, but "slowly" and "belatedly" are the operative words. It took the film Indigenes by French-born filmmaker Rachid Bouchareb about the role of Algerian conscripts in World War II to gain those French veterans belated recognition.

As France attempts to impose a soul-search on others there is another unexpected result: France, already under demand that it address its own ghosts, is under pressure at home to reflect on the demand it has made of Turkey. The ultimate injunction would seem to be “Judge not the moral ghosts of ‘the other’!”’

Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler are Jerusalem-based reporters and documentary filmmakers.

© Middle East Online

Criminalizing Debate: France Abandons Modernity by Hilal Elver&Richard Falk

There is a sense of absurdity surrounding the vote in October at the French Assembly to criminalize a denial of Armenian genocide that supposedly took place during the final stage of Ottoman rule in 1915.

The absurdity does not arise from a description of these events, but from the idea that a correct view of history can be legislated, and dissenter punished as criminals. True only 106 of 577 deputies in the Assembly voted in favor of the bill, 19 opposed, and 4 abstained, while 448 did not vote at all. No one expects this bill to become law. The French Senate has sent signals that it will never consider the proposed law, and the President Chirac has expressed his personal opposition. The idea behind the bill was to impose a fine of up to 45,000 Euros and send the denier to jail for as long as a year.

But why would the 448 deputies refuse to oppose formally such a piece of legislation? We will never know their motives, but it seems reasonable to suspect that they recognized the absurdity of such a legislative move, but at the same time did not want to offend the 500,000 Armenians living in France whose leaders had strongly supported the law. Also, it allows these French politicians an indirect means of signaling their opposition to any future move to invite Turkey to become a member of the European Union.

To punish deniers of the Armenian experience seems in one sense a logical sequel to punishing Holocaust deniers, which can actually happen in at least 12 European countries. Apparently, at this time the historian, David Irving, is serving prison time in Austria for a speech made 17 years before he was indicted that was held in a court to deny the Holocaust. Two distinct issues are raised: Is it acceptable to make it a crime to deny the Holocaust? Should Armenian grievances be treated any less seriously than Jewish grievances when it comes to denial?

The rationale for punishing Holocaust deniers relates to some legitimate European concerns. There are claims made that the denial of the Holocaust risks giving rise to a new wave of anti-semitism. The evidence that there exists any link between asserting denial and practicing anti-semitism seems far too weak at this point to justify criminalization even in European countries with their shameful history of persecuting Jews. Vigilance is understandable given the existence of scary neo-Nazi movements that have emerged in several European countries. Instead of criminalizing denial, to discourage anti-semitism it would be far more effective for the governments in these countries to press hard for a just solution to the ordeal of the Palestinian people.

On the historical argument in favor of ‘denial’ there is significantly less clarity about the genocidal character of the Armenian claims as compared to the factual reality of the Holocaust. There is remains a widely shared refusal on the part of the majority of Turks to categorize the events of 1915 as ‘genocide.’ This Turkish outlook has enjoyed some support among prominent non-Turkish historians, most notably Bernard Lewis. At the same time, the overwhelming weight of international historical scholarship does endorse the main thrust of Armenian claims. Additionally, Lewis’ assessment is somewhat undermined by his close relationship with the Turkish government while revising his influential history of modern Turkey. It is a matter of social reality that informed opinion outside of Turkey does support the Armenian position about the events in 1915, but that hardly makes the case for the punishment of those who disagree.

The Turkish relationship to the denial of history has similarities to this French approach, yet it is significantly different. Turkey, in a sense anticipated the tactic of the French Assembly, by enacting its notorious ‘301’ law that punishes statements that insult Turkishness, which covers a potentially wide range of viewpoints that could be regarded as anti-Turkish by ultra-nationalist state prosecutors. Recent high profile prosecutions of famous writers Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak, while dismissed, have led to widespread international [and national] criticism of such interferences with freedom of expression. A hopeful development is that Turkey’s highest officials have let it be known that they did not approve of these 301 prosecutions, and even made public their sympathy with the prominent targets of these indictments, Although dangers persist, and some disturbing prosecutions of journalists and public figures continue to occur, and have even led to imprisonment, Turkish public opinion seems to be moving gradually against such restrictions of freedom of expression.

This display of greater Turkish self-confidence is more accepting of viewpoints that might formerly have been treated as hostile to Turkish nationalism. Turkey is a relatively young country that is still in the midst of making its own very distinctive transition to modernity. Perhaps as much as any country Turkey is struggling to gain the benefits of modernity without sacrificing the achievements, memories, and glories of its past.

But what is becoming of France, formerly the greatest inspiration throughout the world for equality of rights and universal democratic culture associated with modernity. It was the French Revolution in 1789 that remains the decisive moment for an emancipatory alternative to oppressive and autocratic government. In this French revolutionary moment nothing was more central than the idea that human progress and prosperity depended on freedom of thought and expression. The pride of the French nation linked this openness to a variety of opinions on the controversial issues of the day, and there was no anxiety that a tension existed between a robust French nationalism and the affirmation of unrestricted cultural freedom. So how should we interpret this seeming French retreat from its own proudest contributions to modern social and political life?

Of course, it would be a mistake to exaggerate this act of the French Assembly, which is really more a gesture than a rupture. At the same time, it does reflect the regressive side of French political identity. In the background of such anti-democratic impulses, we think, are the current threats to French public order that conservative opinion blames on immigrant minorities. There are disturbing signs that racist attitudes are gaining the upper hand in French society. In such a setting, the Armenian issue becomes a vehicle for anti-Islamic and anti-Turkish sentiments. Of course, there is also an obvious opportunistic dimension that relates to French electoral politics, but challenging Turkish refusal to acknowledge crimes against the Armenians is also useful as a way of indirectly raising doubts about whether Turkey will ever deserve to be a member of the European Union.

It is against this background that the peculiarity of non-voting by the majority of the French Assembly needs to be primarily understood. In effect, the punishment of deniers of Armenian genocide is too crude an assault on freedom of thought to be an acceptable tactic even by those who oppose Turkish EU membership, yet to vote against this bill might seem to exempt Turkey from censure for its refusal to admit that the 1915 massacres were, in fact, genocide, and would anger the well-organized Armenian pressure groups that have so enthusiastically backed this initiative.

Two main conclusions arise from these controversies: the futility of legislating historical reality; and the importance of coming to terms with historic injustices that give rise to pain, anger, and ethnic tensions. How should Turkey now address the grievances of the Armenians relating to the events of 1915? Is it important to construct a new Turkish approach to this tormented past by launching an independent inquiry that is freed from nationalistic bias? It may be that the efforts of Pamuk and Shafak are hesitant moves in this direction, aimed at helping the people of Turkey to think more objectively about this contested part of their past for the sake of Turkish national interests, so that the country can move on.

Under the best of circumstances it will be certainly impossible to reach an accommodation with the most embittered among the Armenian diaspora or to persuade extreme Turkish nationalists to reexamine the Armenian grievances in an objective spirit. A serious Turkish effort to explore the issue, aimed at achieving closure in good faith, is likely to improve the overall international atmosphere with respect to Turkey. It would also be a convincing demonstration that Turkey is prepared to accept internal debate and controversy. Such moves would be further evidence of the deepening of Turkish democracy. A process of inquiry and reflection on such an inflamed subject will not be easy, as extremists on both sides will do all in their power to avoid a reasonable historical reckoning. But it will also not be easy to go on pretending that there is no unfinished business arising from this bloody Armenian encounter. Why not seize upon this French abandonment of modernity to risk this Turkish affirmation of the moral and political energies of change?

Copyright© 1995-2004 Feza Newspaper Publishing Co

France interrogates Turkish passengers

Akşam yesterday (21-22 Oct) reported that France has been applying “special procedures” for passengers flying to French airports from Turkey since Oct. 12, when the French Parliament adopted a bill making denial of Armenian genocide allegations a crime. Under this new implementation, passengers on Turkish Airlines (THY) and other airlines undergo passport control the minute they walk down the plane's stairs. During this checkl, passengers are required to respond to questions from French police and then go on to a second, regular passport control with all other passengers. Turkish passengers have to show their passports yet again during customs declaration before they can officially enter France.

A written statement from the French police implied that Turkey was a “transit country for terrorists” and said, “Nobody can object to this implementation being carried out for security reasons.” The statement also said the issue concerned the French only. The French police say the same implementation has been in effect for flights from all Muslim countries.

Amnesty International is deeply concerned with the French Armenian Genocide Bill

"French bill on Armenian genocide violates freedom of expression" . .

France: Amnesty International urges France to protect freedom of expression
Amnesty International is deeply concerned by the fact that on 12 October 2006 the French National Assembly adopted a bill which would make it a crime to contest that the massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 constituted a genocide. The organization considers that this bill poses a serious threat to the right to freedom of expression. Should the bill be enacted into law, those who contravene it would face up to five years’ imprisonment and a 45,000-euro ($56,400) fine. Amnesty International urges the French Senate and President to reject the bill when it comes before them.

The right to freedom of expression is enshrined in Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to both of which France is a party. The French government is therefore obligated to ensure that freedom of expression is upheld and observed for all those under its jurisdiction.

International human rights law treaties contain provisions permitting states parties to restrict freedom of expression in certain circumstances, as provided in Article 10(2) of the ECHR and Article 19(3) of the ICCPR. However, these treaties make clear that any restriction on the exercise of the right to freedom of expression must be prescribed by law and be necessary in a "democratic society" for one of the grounds expressly identified by human rights law which include those necessary, inter alia, "for respect of the rights or reputations of others” and “for the protection of national security or of public order”.

Amnesty International does not consider that this bill can be interpreted as falling under the restrictions permitted in these human rights treaties. Amnesty International is concerned that the vague wording of the proposed bill may be interpreted as prohibiting peaceful debate as to whether the massacres of 1915 would have constituted genocide under the 1948 Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide had it been in force at the time. This bill, if it were to be enacted into law, might lead to people being imprisoned solely for exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression, thereby becoming prisoners of conscience.

Furthermore, Amnesty International does not consider that the bill can be justified under Article 20 of the ICCPR which states that advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred should be prohibited by law. In this respect it differs from the existing Holocaust denial law in France (Loi no 90-615 du 13 juillet 1990 tendant à réprimer tout acte raciste, antisémite ou xenophobe) which relates to challenging the occurrence of crimes against humanity as defined by the statute of the International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg, that is to say, denying that mass killings were ever committed by Nazi forces. In contrast, the proposed law has the effect of criminalising those who question whether the Armenian massacres constituted a genocide -- a matter of legal opinion -- rather than whether or not the killings occurred -- a matter of fact.

AI Index: EUR 21/009/2006 (Public)
News Service No: 270

France & ATO report . . . No one can legislate historical truth' Guardian Newspaper

-France and the ATO report
-'No one can legislate historical truth' Guardian Newspaper . .

France and the ATO report
The French Parliament approved, earlier this month, a bill that heavily penalizes those who deny a so-called Armenian "genocide." The decision in France has sparked repercussions in Turkey as well. First of all, the idea of boycotting France through burning and dumping goods came up as an idea but was later dropped, since it was realized that it would have been childish.

Despite the childishness of the reaction, it was a demonstration of the fact that Turks were hurt and they wanted, in turn, to hurt France and the French people's interests.

Besides, the legal process before the law is enacted continues. It still needs approval from the French Senate and then by France President Jacques Chirac.

Common sense won out, and Turks have set limits and exercised moderation in their protests against France and pulled them to a more reasonable level. Apart from the protest rally in front of the French Embassy in Ankara, reactions against the decision have been few.

During the protests and boycotts, the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) published an unprecedented study of European Union countries which have been involved in a genocide against another country. In other words, the report was a "black book" of countries that have been recognized as the cradle of civilization.

In the ATO's "Report on the EU's Massacre and Genocide Record," almost a dozen EU member countries such as Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece and Greek Cyprus were reported to have records of conducting massacres and genocide against others.

Below statements are striking extracts from the ATO report:
Greek Cypriots: Their massacre of Turkish Cypriots began in 1912. Houses, offices and mosques in 35 different areas belonging to Turks were burned down, and Turks were killed. A terrorist group called the National Organization of (Greek) Cypriot Fighters (EOKA) was founded in 1952. As part of the "ethnic cleaning" that EOKA members began in 1963, 500 Turks were killed and 130 Turkish villages were burned, while 25,000 Turks were forced to leave their homes. From the time when the series of massacres started in 1912 until the 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation conducted by Turkey, more than 1,000 Turks were killed.

Greece: Hordes of Muslim Turks living in the Balkans were victimized when the Ottoman Empire was disintegrating. After winning independence in 1829, Greece forced the Turks residing in Mora to migrate. Some 20,000 Turks were massacred.

After the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which laid down the principles on Turkish and Greek minorities, Turks living in the Western Thrace region began to be subjected to a systematic "ethnic and cultural genocide." The vast majority of the region was converted into a military zone, and emergency rule was declared there. People travelling between villages had to have permits, while the passports of the Turkish minority were seized. Due to pressures via restrictions on Turks' legal, political, cultural and religious rights, 400,000 Turks were forced to leave the region.

Belgium: The administration of Rwanda was handed to Belgium after World War I. Under Belgian colonial rule, more than 10 million people were massacred in Rwanda and Congo.

Italy: Due to extermination operations carried out continuously between 1911 and 1940 in Lebanon as well as concentration camps set up in the middle of the desert, hundreds of thousands of African Muslims lost their lives. Italian dictator Mussolini massacred 300,000 people in Ethiopia and Yugoslavia.

France: France, which approved the bill penalizing denial of the so-called Armenian genocide, is one of the architects of bloody massacres during the 20th century. After invading Algeria in 1830, France occupied the country for 132 years. During the years of occupation, France massacred 1.5 million Algerians between 1954 and 1962. France was also responsible for the death of 900,000 Africans during World War I.

Germany: In the 20th century, Germany carried out one of the most savage massacres in world history. From 1933 to 1945, Germany killed 21 million people from other nations and ethnic groups en masse by shooting them, confining them to concentration camps, poisoning them in gas chambers and burning them in ovens, in a quest to establish a "Great German Empire" and "perfect" the German race.

The Germans also aimed in 1891 to colonize Namibia in order to meet their demands for raw material and manpower and decided to target the people living in Herero and Nama to capture wealthy gold and emerald mines. German soldiers attacked those people and massacred 117,000 of them. Only 15,000 natives out of 132,000 who were tortured to death managed to survive.

Denmark: In 1945 it left 250,000 German immigrants fleeing the Soviet Army to die by keeping them in concentration camps. One-third were under 15. German immigrants died of typhoid, intestinal inflammation and diarrhea.

Actually the ATO report on Western countries contains more than the above. Europe is known as the cradle of civilization but seems to have forgotten its own imperialistic massacres against poor and underdeveloped countries. It's really a huge irony that they forgot all this history and are trying to give lessons about civilization to Turkey. At least these countries have to reply to history for their previous deeds, right?

Evren Deger
20 October 2006

'No one can legislate historical truth'
Far from criminalizing denial of the alleged Armenian genocide, we should decriminalize denial of the Holocaust, says an article in the Guardian

What a magnificent blow for truth, justice and humanity the French national assembly has struck, by voting for a bill criminalizing any denial of the alleged Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, said an article published in the prestigious British daily the Guardian yesterday.

“Bravo! Chapeau bas! Vive la France! But let this be only a beginning in a brave new chapter of European history,” said the article penned by Timothy Garton Ash. “Let the British Parliament now make it a crime to deny that it was Russians who murdered Polish officers at Katyn in 1940. Let the Turkish parliament make it a crime to deny that France used torture against insurgents in Algeria.”

The article said the only pity was that the European Union can't impose the death sentence for “these heinous thought crimes,” adding that with time that might change. too.

The French Parliament last Thursday adopted the contentious bill, which Turkey said dealt heavy blow to Turkish-French ties. The bill requires approval by both the Senate and the president to become law. It is in the hands of the French government as to whether the bill is taken to the Senate.

“What right has the Parliament of France to prescribe by law the correct historical terminology to characterize what another nation did to a third nation 90 years ago?” asked the article, noting that the bill had no moral or historical justification.

“No one can legislate historical truth. In so far as historical truth can be established at all, it must be found by unfettered historical research, with historians arguing over the evidence and the facts, testing and disputing each other's claims without fear of prosecution or persecution.”

It said the proposed bill was a step in exactly the wrong direction. “How can we credibly criticize Turkey, Egypt or other states for curbing free speech, through the legislated protection of historical, national or religious shibboleths, if we are doing ever more of it ourselves?” it asked, in apparent reference to laws in EU countries on denial of the Holocaust.

“Far from creating new legally enforced taboos about history, national identity and religion, we should be dismantling those that still remain on our statute books. Those European countries that have them should repeal not only their blasphemy laws but also their laws on Holocaust denial. Otherwise the charge of double standards is impossible to refute.”

Referring to British historian David Irving, who was found guilty in Vienna for denying the Holocaust and sentenced to prison, the article said: “Today, if we want to defend free speech in our own countries and to encourage it in places where it is currently denied, we should be calling for David Irving to be released from his Austrian prison.”

It added that the Austrian law on Holocaust denial was far more historically understandable and morally respectable than the proposed French one. “At least the Austrians are facing up to their own difficult past, rather than pointing the finger at somebody else's -- but in the larger European interest we should encourage the Austrians to repeal it.

“Only when we are prepared to allow our own most sacred cows to be poked in the eye can we credibly demand that Islamists, Turks and others do the same. This is a time not for erecting taboos but for dismantling them. We must practice what we preach.”

October 20, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

Turkish Supermarket Chains Boycott French Goods . . Carrefour has a huge drop in Customers

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan declared that he did not support any boycott against the French goods, yet some Turkish supermarket chains started economic boycott against the French goods.

The passing of the controversial Armenian genocide denial bill in the French parliament has prompted strong reactions in Turkish business circles. Kiler and Afra, two big Turkish market chains, yesterday declared that they will never sell French goods. Many French products were removed from these market shelves.

Carrefour, French-Turkish market company, has also been one of the boycott targets after the French Armenian bill. The number of customers visited Carrefour has radically decreased in last two days.

The parking areas of the market mostly empty yesterday.

Some of the Turkish political parties list the names of the French products not to buy. Turkish Labour Party (Isci Partisi), leftist-nationalist, called all Turks inside and abroad not to buy French goods and services.

Some of the Turkish citizens, who were in holiday in Paris, cut short their holidays to protest France's attitude in Armenian issue. Gulben Ergen, Turkish famous singer, was one of these protesters. Ergen arrived Istanbul yesterday and said that the reason is the French Armenian bill. Many more Turkish tourists postponed their France visits.

FreshPlaza, Netherlands
Oct 17 2006

France reiterates commitment to Turkey ties

The French government pledges to maintain its opposition to the bill throughout rest of the enactment process .

The French government reiterated yesterday that it was committed to good relations with Turkey after passage of a bill in the National Assembly that criminalizes denial of the alleged genocide of Armenians in the beginning of the last century by the Ottomans.

“We are very much committed to the dialogue, friendly relations and cooperation with Turkey that unite us with this country,” French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency yesterday. “We want to continue to develop this dialogue, our relations and the cooperation.”

Last week's approval in the French National Assembly of the bill, which foresees up to one year in prison and a 45,000 euro fine for those who deny the legally unverified charges that Armenians were victims of a genocide campaign at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire, drew ire from Turkey.

Ankara said the bill had dealt a serious blow to bilateral relations and warned of further damages if it becomes a law.

Mattei reiterated yesterday that the French government did not support the bill, which he called unnecessary, and pledged to “maintain its stance” in further stages for enactment of the bill.

The bill requires approval from the Senate and must be signed by President Jacques Chirac. Analysts say the government is likely to take its time while taking the bill to the Senate floor.

OSCE urges Senate to reject bill:

In Vienna, the press freedom watchdog at a key European security organization has urged the French Senate to reject the bill.

Miklos Haraszti, media freedom representative at the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), made his plea in a letter sent to Christian Poncelet, president of the French Senate. “I acknowledge the humanitarian intentions of those members of the Assembly who support this proposal. However, the adoption of the amendment raises serious concerns with regard to international standards of freedom of expression,” Haraszti wrote.

“Both the fact of criminalization of statements, and the severity of the sanctions would infringe upon editorial freedom in France,” he said. “The adoption of the amendment by France, a nation with a long-standing tradition of freedom of expression, could set a dangerous precedent for other nations of the OSCE.”

Turkish Parliament adopted a joint declaration on Tuesday slamming the French bill and warning of greater damage if it is enacted. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, addressing the parliamentary session, said negative repercussions of the bill would “definitely” be seen in political, economic and security areas.

Thursday, October 19, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

DYP protests against France
The opposition True Path Party's (DYP) Istanbul branch protested yesterday against the approval by the French National Assembly of a bill that makes denial of the alleged Armenian genocide a crime.

Nearly 50 DYP members who gathered in Taksim Square unfurled a huge Turkish flag and marched to the French Consulate General on İstiklâl Avenue. After performing the Turkish national anthem, DYP Istanbul Province Chairman Faik İçmeli made a speech and said: “This bill, which ignores freedom of thought and expression, shows France's double standards. We condemn France's attitude. If this decision is not rectified, France will suffer from it.”

The protest took place amid tight security measures and ended after the group members laid a black wreath in front of the consulate general.

Thursday, October 19, 2006
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

Diplomacy Newsline
Azerbaijan to counter Armenian diaspora:
Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev has announced a campaign to counter the influence of the Armenian diaspora, a major backer of ethnic-Armenian separatists in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Aliyev said his oil-rich ex-Soviet republic was opening embassies and consulates in parts of the world where the Armenian diaspora was especially influential.

“It's no secret that California is a state with a large Armenian population. We opened a consulate general [in Los Angeles] to be there and to fight the Armenian lobby,” Aliyev said on Tuesday in an interview with Arabic network Al Jazeera. He said his country planned to open an embassy in Argentina, where the Armenian lobby “is [at its] strongest among Latin American nations.”

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh ethnic-Armenian enclave since before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Turkey severed diplomatic relations with neighboring Armenia after Armenian troops occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, and the border gate between Turkey and Armenia has been closed for more than a decade. The influential Armenian diaspora, particularly in the United States, has long been exerting efforts against Turkey via its lobbying for Armenian genocide allegations to be internationally recognized.

Aliyev said Azerbaijan's new oil wealth gave it a chance to outweigh ethnic-Armenians' influence abroad. “What is attractive about Armenia? Only the fact that it has a rich diaspora that influences the policies of various countries,” he said. “Azerbaijan is a country that will supply Europe and world markets with energy resources. Imagine Azerbaijan on one side of the scale and Armenia on the other.”

October 19, 2006
ANK - TDN with AFP

From the columns
Who will forgive whom?:
Bugün, Gülay Göktürk: Orhan Pamuk's task is really difficult. So many are dictating what he should say at the Nobel Prize ceremony. The minute the news of the Nobel came in, many started writing draft speeches. These mentors said, “Make a statement condemning France's genocide denial bill.” Some said it would be appropriate for him to go to France at once and have himself arrested. Following that, a race to craft the best phrases to say at the ceremony began. If he said one thing, he would make peace with the people of Turkey, or perhaps instead he'd better say something else. He was assigned a wide range of missions, from stating support for Turkey's European Union membership bid to proving how wonderful Turkish democracy actually is. Some said that while the opportunity exists, they expected him to say that he opposes U.S. policy in Iraq. Those who demanded he turn down the prize are another story. What is being done here is, in its simplest form, disrespect. It is disrespectful to write a sentence for a great writer and try to make him read it. It is as if we won the prize together. As if it was not given to Orhan Pamuk. As if he will be representing Turkey on that podium and is obligated to say what we'd like him to. We have a Nobel-winning author and we think we can exploit his fame as we wish and make him send the messages we want. As if the Nobel was won through the joint efforts of a team. The reality is very different. Turkey was never on the same team as Pamuk. Not simply without us, he earned this prize in spite of us. Our state tried him, our intellectuals took every opportunity to demoralize him, to find fault with and destroy him. Our people were, in general, indifferent to this lynching attempt. And now do we have the ability to talk about “forgiving,” about “compensating for a mistake”? Do we have the ability to tell him what to say at the Nobel ceremony? If this honor is going to be an instrument for a reconciliation of some sort, it is not us, but Orhan Pamuk, who should be forgiving.

Hot contact with the diaspora:
Zaman, Mehmet Kamış: The Armenian question is being brought before Turkey at every opportunity. A group of people all over the world -- in France, America and Lebanon -- hate Turkey and wish only bad things for it. This hatred has been fostered not by those who were deported but rather by the generations that followed. The migration of Armenians, an Eastern Christian society, to Western countries after World War I played a huge role in this Armenian transformation. This is the 90th anniversary of that forced deportation. States that were at each other's throats only 60 years ago are today united under one roof. Nobody feuds anymore. The significance of Turkey's World War I incident with the Armenians is growing on a daily basis. Each time this problem confronts us in a different country. To manage this, Turkey should change its policy and establish close contact with the Armenian diaspora. Civilians, rather than the state, should put more effort into solving this problem. We need to sit down with them and talk a little bit about Fenerbahçe. Eat sarma with them, put jewelry on the bride at weddings. In short, we should remember that we are similar nations emotionally; we eat the same foods and sing the same folk songs.

October 19, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

Turkish Parliament to List Europe's Massacres
The Turkish parliament took a new step in condemnation of the French parliament’s acceptance of the bill criminalizing denial of an Armenian genocide. It compiled a “shame list” of massacres committed by European countries including France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The necessary study for the list was conducted by the parliament’s justice sub-committee as part of its debates over a bill that would recognize the Algerian genocide committed by France. The commission is researching the massacres and tyrannies that countries that accept the Armenian genocide have committed in the past.

The members of the commission listened to Turkish History Society President Professor Yusuf Halacoglu and decided that announcing the European list to the world would be more efficient than recognition of an Algerian genocide.

In this context, the commission requested the Turkish History Society and foreign affairs department carry out extensive studies into the history of countries recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide.

The “shame list” is expected to be announced following the Ramadan festival.

Deputy Mustafa Nuri Akbulut announced the parliament would publish the list rather than recognizing an Algerian genocide. Akbulut also asserted this study would enable the international community to better see the objective attitude of the Turkish parliament and added human rights, freedom of speech and the process that this method was subject to would be discussed extensively in the document that will include the shame list.

Justice and Development Party deputy Akbulut also said the document would include a text that will explain the circumstances under which Turkey decided to deport Armenians in 1915.

Akbulut noted that while Ottoman soldiers were deployed in the Dardanelles and the Caucasus during World War I, Armenians committed massacres in Anatolia and backstabbed Ottomans.

The Countries that Recognize the Alleged Armenian Genocide

France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Belgium, Slovakia, Greece, Latvia and Greek Cyprus have taken decisions so far about the so-called Armenian Genocide in different years, and some have issued declarations and reports on the issue.

By Fatih Atik, Istanbul
October 19, 2006

Where Have You Gone, "La Belle France?"

Like the "Dirty Harry"of the cinema fame
With the news from Framce my heart's aflame
First with surprise then indignation
I am totally appalled with that nation.
I can't believe that a people
Could induce me to a trance.
Like the actions of France

They're anti-this, they're anti-that
They are anti-Semites, mostly
They will pay for it one day costly
These very thoughts as says 'Harry"
Are bound to just 'make my day'.

I grew up in French surroundings
Galatasaray was my dear school.
Years I spent there were all so cool.

Most teachers there, and that's a fact
Came from France under contract,

Their culture, their literature,
Their laws, their rules and procedure
were among the things I learned
Many of them which really sway
My opinion of the French lately
I'll try to recount them sedately
In a sort of undiplomatic way..

"La Belle France" of yesteryear
Is no more, that's crystal clear
It's no longer "Belle",I fear
The country I loved once in tolerance
Is no longer the same "France".

The resident of the Elysee Palace
Jacques the "Shreck"full of malice,
Reminds me of an aiging prostitute,
With no charm, nor pulchritude.

Like a "vichy" washy Evian water
France lost its lasting essence,
Its one time bubbling effervescence
All are gone forever.
When you read the label there on the bottle,
Soon you'll see that the word Evian
Spells backwards "naive"- full throttle.

France is now a checkmated cult
Short in gratitude and difficult
Who sold its soul to Armenians
For a handful of their pittance

Some say the 'civilized world'
Was never there,
Others may say: "au contraire"
Look at the French/Swiss cheese Gruyere
And shows like the Follies Bergeres,
Yet among the givers of this world,
France stands there, in solitaire

In a backward glance you'll see:
Laval, Petain Daladier, De Gaule,
Reluctant, unwilling,indisposed and loath
They were all cut from the same cloth

Today's "Froggies" are no better.
They adore dearly Josephine Baker,
Michael Moore, and Jerry Lewis
I'm not fond of any of them--
But again, honestly, who is?

In conlusion, without lllusion, I'll say
France with that fellow Jacques the Shreck"
Has become a gargantuan wreck.

Mahmut Esat Ozan

France's Shame . . Chirac Apologizes

Chirac Apologizes to Erdogan for Armenian Genocide Bill
Reactions against the French parliament’s vote on Thursday to pass a bill making it a crime to deny an Armenian genocide continue to reverberate.

French President Jacques Chirac telephoned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to say that he felt sorry that the bill was approved and added he would try his best to prevent it from becoming law.

In the early Saturday morning talk, Chirac said that the events in France were related to the upcoming general presidential elections.

Erdogan, reporting the outrage of Turkish public opinion, told Chirac that they should never sacrifice their relationship for politics.

Demanding that the draft not be legalized, Erdogan also condemned statements Chirac previously released during his visit to Armenia.

The French president sought to link Turkey’s EU membership process with a call for the recognition of a genocide claim.

The statements were harshly condemned by Turkish public opinion. Erdogan told him that it was impossible for Turkey to tolerate such an attitude.

The French president pointed out that votes of Armenians in the country had far reaching influence on the event, and he added that there was no change on the relationship between both countries.

Chirac also ensured that the bill approved by the French parliament would not influence Turkey’s EU negotiations in any way.

Reportedly, Erdogan commented that the draft proposal in France went against freedom of expression principles enshrined in the French constitution.

He added that it was impossible to explain the proposal to the Turkish people in a sensible and reasonable way.

“The matter concerns only Turkey and Armenia. We feel sorry that in research, the domain of historians, is being used politically.”

Chirac promised he would continue to support Turkey’s EU process, adding he really understood Turkey’s reactions on the issue.

Anadolu News Agency (aa), Ankara
October 15, 2006

The French Definition of a 'Genocide'
No one, I suppose would disagree with the French lower house Parliamentary minority Socialist MPs’ definition of a ‘Genocide’ as “the organized killing of a people to end their collective existence”.

However, the ‘lower house minority Socialists’ MPs of the La Sinn River overlooking Assembly National (the Parliament), seem to have a short memory to la Sinn River graveyard. Thousands of Algerians were reported to have been thrown alive into La Sinn River, and left to be drawn during the late 20th century (Ahmed Bin Billa, al-Jazeera TV, 2004). Isn’t that a ‘Genocide’? which was an “organized killing of a people to end their collective existence”.

The minority Socialist MPs, whose their country is traditionally, popular for art, literature, theatre, and poetry should remember that, “whose house is glassy, shouldn’t throw the houses of the others with stones”. Beginning of ‘Hijab’ (Muslim women head scarf) banning in public places and in schools, to satirizing the Prophet of Mercy for all humanity, Mohammed, Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH) , to lately, considering any denial to the Armenian ‘Genocide’, as a crime, French Assembly National, who gave away its ‘Statue of Liberty’ to the United States of America, appear to have lots of memory lapses.

long time before the notoriously, infamous Armenian alleged ‘Genocide’ took place in Turkey during 1915, the French brutal, and barbaric colonization committed a numerous of genocides against Algerians, both inside Algeria, and in France itself, since 1832 up to 1962, when the Algerians had eventually, achieved their independence. About 7 million Algerians were killed during French colony in Algeria, while resisting French occupation (President Ahmed Bin Billa, al-Jazeera TV, 2004). Despite requests, and appeals from Algerian President, Butaflieqa recently, made public to France to apologize for its horrendous 'Genocides' in Algeria, France has not yet, responded.

Although, there are many Turks, including influential thinkers, and politicians, will not deny hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed in 1915 during a relocation arrangement to other parts of the Ottoman Empire, the issue of a ‘Genocide’ was reported to have been conceived as highly, controversial. Some argue that, those Armenians who died, were caught into inter-communal warfare. Thus, it was not “the organized killing of a people to end their collective existence”.

In other words, It was not a ‘Genocide’. A few others in Turkey, and beyond however, would argue that, it was conscious, and it was a ‘Genocide’. Despite World-wide contentious differentiation on the event, the lower house minority Socialists of French Assembly National apparently, for voting reasons are determined to legalize their mind-set.

Many in France make a case that, sheer politics are behind the minority Socialists initiative. As such, there are no ethics, good merits, or else genuine concerns about the Armenian ‘Genocide’. The minority Socialists, by proposing such a bill in order to push for a law criminalizing denial of an Armenian genocide, aim at gaining Armenian votes, during next year presidential elections.

One presume, as do many that, the minority Socialists also, aim at spreading an anti Turkey sentiment, in order to make it impossible for Turkey, as a predominantly, Muslim country to join the EU. Has to be born in mind that, Turkey has already got an appointment from the EU for 2010, to negotiate its membership.

Since there are more or less 6 million Arabs in France, mainly, from Algeria, and other Arab North African countries, would be such an opportunistic moment for the Socialists in France to push for a law that, considers Israeli occupation forces’ killing in Gaza, and other Palestinian lands as ‘Genocide’. Approximately, 750 Palestinian civilians, including women, and children were killed by the Israeli occupation forces since January 25th, as Hamas, Islamic Resistance Movement democratically, was voted to office. More than 3000 civilians, including women, and children either injured or maimed since then. Additionally, nearly, 4000 civilians, including children, and women were arrested. If these killings, are not a ‘Genocide’, what a ‘Genocide’ could be. Isn’t this an “organized killing of a people to end their collective existence”.

Instead of crying over a controversial history, without of course endorsing genocides by anyway, against any human race Palestinian daily, ‘Genocides’ committed by Israeli occupation forces, are crystal clear, which is beyond controversy, and globally, documented by satellite cameras, including French TVs, press, and media. Had the French Socialists been sincere about human suffering, they would have assuredly, considered Israeli ‘Genocides’ against Palestinians since as early, as 1948, as real ‘Genocides’. Plus, this would certainly, bring them at least 3 million votes by Arab French.

Prof. Dr. Ali Al-Hail

France's Shame has Gone Far Enough
The French administration should not have done what it did. A tragedy experienced in the past has been gradually dragged by Europe’s unilateral political pressure to the point of strangling freedom of speech.

By ignoring the pain of the Muslim Turks murdered by Armenian gangs and blocking the path of truth, we have come to a fork in the road where Turkish-Armenian relations have taken a negative turn to the disadvantage of Armenia. So who won?

What has France, the so-called center for democracy and freedom, gained by criminalizing even the professional expressions of historians and scholars on a certain subject? Who in the European Union can now walk tall when France’s embarrassment stands? Who can gain credibility in his or her attempts to defend the expansion of freedoms while violating human rights?

This decision, by using Armenians, has pushed Turkey into a corner. There are many cases similar to this in history. Why did France persist in its mistake in spite of a series of common sense warnings issued by Europe?

There are two Europes before us in regards to Turkey’s EU membership. One is able to appreciate Turkey’s importance and understands that a Europe without Turkey cannot be a universal actor. This Europe perceives and accepts the benefits of universal peace that would emerge from the admission of a Muslim country into the European Union against the possibility of more serious conflicts among civilizations. Consequently, it sincerely approves of Turkey’s membership.

The other Europe surrenders to the Muslim-Turk fear and says, “We are a Christian club, what have Turks got to do with us?” This Europe is tired and timorous, and gradually sliding back toward racism. And it is the second kind of Europe that is using France.

France did not do what was befitting of it; however, we should do what befits us. I know very well that groups opposed to Turkey’s EU membership have gotten the opportunity they have long yearned for. Now, they have a trump card with which to taunt those bolstering the process of Turkey’s membership and are tacitly going to exploit the situation as much as possible. Therefore, we must steadfastly and vigilantly continue to defend our own truth. Whether Turkey’s membership materializes or not, we must not be the side that backs out. After all, Europe has a conscience.

That conscience will inevitably hurt, be wounded and eventually bleed. We should address that conscience. Maybe, the opposition in the European public to our membership will be influenced by this unjust treatment and by the favoritist attitude of some EU administrations. We will be vindicated through the continuous injustice perpetrated against us. Furthermore, it was envisaged long ago that during our EU accession we would face serious obstacles and sabotage and it was reiterated by men of wisdom that the path to membership would be full of hurdles, halting the process from time to time.

France has relinquished its “big state” tradition, but we should not follow suit. The expansion of freedoms should be carried out not because we must acquire EU membership but because we need them at home. For example, the most positive answer to France could be the abolishment of Article 301 that criminalizes insulting Turkishness, the republic, government, military, police forces and the like. The recommendations of Sami Selcuk, the honorary president of the Court of Appeals, should be taken into consideration by the government. France’s decision should on no account be exploited for the sake of domestic politics. As the government and opposition, don’t we also err and procrastinate? Yes, we do. What action was taken throughout the past year after this issue subsided a year ago? We only act when we have our backs against the wall. A widely-held Turkish belief that we don’t take action before it is too late doesn’t seem to be mere idle talk.

The French themselves say, “Le sens commun n’est pas si commun” (Common sense is not so common). So let patience and common sense prevail. Let’s ignore those who are fighting tooth and nail to irritate us by exploiting our feelings. Yes, France underestimates us and disregards our honor. However, if we do not make mistakes, France will ultimately be the loser.




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