Armenians in Yerevan thank the French Ambassador to Armenia for the French Senate's decision to criminalize Genocide Denial. Includes video from the celebration Monday Night in Paris.
- The Revenge Of Law On Politics By Maxime Gauin
- Decision Of The French Constitutional Council
- Nicolas Sarkozy, Victim of Himself, By Maxime Gauin, USAK, 14 Feb 2012
- French Historian Gauin: "The Decision Will Be Blow to Armenian Nationalism in France"
- France-Turkey: The Night Will End by Maxime Gauin*
- Ten Suggestions For Turkey To Face Its Own History By Hayk Demoyan
- US Next In Line -Armenian Genocide in the US Capital-
- Now, The Armenians Are Making Us Walk The ‘Deportation March’
- Turkey Prefers Fistfight To Legal Battle With France
- French Senate Approves Bill Criminalizing 'Genocide' Rejection
- France-Turkey: What Went Wrong? by Maxime Gauin
- Mr Sarkozy's European Travesty by Sukru Server Aya
- On the Criminalization of the Denial of Genocides by Ara Papian
- ASALA's Day in the French National Assembly by Maxime Gauin
- Resisting Nicolas Sarkozy by Maxime Gauin
- The French Law: The First Stage by Ömer Engin LÜTEM
- Crisis With France And Armenian Diaspora Activities In The Light Of 2015 by Aslan Yavuz Sir
- France-Turkey: Perpetual Crisis 20 December 2011, by Ömer Engin LÜTEM
- French Historian Maxime Gauin: 'Mr. Sarkozy is Making a Miscalculation' By Nihal Cizmecioglu
- Spit On Sarkozy's Face And Say He Was Trying To Score Political Gains Through . .
- Break Or Save Franco-Turkish Relations?
- Alain Juppé Showed the Right Way to Solve the Armenian Question
The Revenge Of Law On Politics by Maxime Gauin
A few days after the decision of a federal U.S. appeals court to dismiss Armenian claims against German insurers, in the name of the U.S. Constitution, the French Constitutional Council censored the bill criminalizing “denial” of the unsubstantiated “Armenian genocide” claim. The Council argued that such a bill was against freedom of speech. It did not explicitly censor the “recognition” of the “genocide” allegation adopted in 2001, but some of its comments - regarding the field of law - show clearly that this text also is against constitutional principles.
There is no serious hope anymore for a new bill of censorship regarding the Armenian question, and the Council, according to its communiqué, “expressed no opinion about the facts,” i.e., the events of 1915.
Nobody should be surprised. Armenian nationalists were warned several times, by jurists like the former Justice Minister and President of the Constitutional Council (1986-1995) Robert Badinter; by MPs, like the Chairman of the Law Committee in the Senate Jean-Pierre Sueur, who presented in vain a motion of dismissal. Mr. Badinter announced “the revenge of law on politics,” and this is what happened.
The main foreign policy lesson was the deep involvement of Armenian diplomacy in intrigues to obtain the vote of this unconstitutional bill. Mr. Sarkozy promised this vote in Yerevan, not even in a French city with an important Armenian community; Ms. Boyer watched the vote of the Senate in a lobby, together with Armenian diplomats. The main Armenian associations supported the bill, but were relegated to second rank.
What else could be expected from Yerevan? The Armenian authorities deprived the Turkish-Armenian Protocols of their substance after 2009. Armenia invaded Azerbaijan in 1992-1994, and still occupies about 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory, cleansed of its Azeri population by bloody means.
Since the 1990s, both the majority and opposition parties of Armenia have widely distributed the theories of G. Nejdeh as an exemplary reference. Nejdeh was a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, who was also a Nazi, and went from the U.S. to Europe at the beginning of WWII to fight on the eastern front of the Third Reich’s army. Perhaps even more importantly, Armenia is largely dependent on Russia and Iran, two countries that do not want to see a stronger union of Europe and the West, especially in the context of the Syrian crisis. One more time, we see that the Armenian question was used against Western unity, with the complicity of blind Western politicians. I do not say that to advocate any fatalism or, still less, any generalization regarding the Armenians, but merely to show the kind of difficulties and level of the problem which are now encountered.
Another lesson, both for French politics and international relations, is that if there remain some active professionals of strong anti-Turkish bent. There is also an increasing consciousness in France of Turkey’s importance, and exasperation vis-à-vis special ethnic interests which damage national interest and freedom of speech, chiefly nationalist Armenians. Michel Diefenbacher, Chairman of the Franco-Turkish Friendship Group in the National Assembly, who collected the signatures of deputies together with some colleagues, said on Feb. 21: “France and Turkey have a very old relationship, which has been very constructive. When you go to Turkey […] you understand that this relationship is not trivial. So, one cannot accept a degradation of this relationship. All must be done for better understanding.”
It is time to carefully carry out these words, with appropriate permanent structures.
Maxime Gauin is a researcher at the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK-ISRO) and a PhD candidate at the Middle East Technical University Department of History
Decision Of The French Constitutional Council - Ömer Engin LÜTEM
As expected, the law foreseeing those rejecting the Armenian genocide allegations to be condemned to a prison term of one year and a fine of 45.000 Euros was repealed by the French Constitutional Council on the grounds that it is contradictory to the French Constitution’s principle of freedom of expression.
However, opposite to the expectations of many and particularly the former Chairman of the Constitutional Council Robert Badinter, the Council did not repeal the law of 2001 regarding the recognition of the Armenian genocide allegations by France and as justification, indicated that the law was not submitted to them to decide upon. On the other hand, it stated that “they did not make an assessment concerning the events” (in other words, did not address whether the 1915 events constituted genocide or not). However, the law of 2001 is contradictory to the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, because according to Article 6 of this Convention, not parliaments, but either a competent tribunal of the State or an international penal tribunal may have jurisdiction in deciding whether or not an event constitutes genocide. The Council could have repealed the law of 2001 based on this article of the Convention.
Therefore, by repealing the law foreseeing punishment, the French Constitutional Council has made a legal decision, while it has made a political one by not repealing the law of 2001.
Repealing the law has pleased the advocates of freedom of expression which is a very strong belief in France. However, not making a decision regarding the law of 2001 has been a consolation for the French Armenians.
The French President who had undermined and prevented last year in May, by taking into consideration France’s relations with Turkey, the adoption by the Senate of another bill foreseeing the punishment of those denying the Armenian genocide allegations, when confronted with the risk of losing elections to be held in April, immediately changed his approach and made sure that the National Assembly and Senate quickly passed a new bill on the issue of punishment. Sarkozy reacted swiftly towards the decision of repeal of the Constitutional Council. In a declaration issued by the Presidency, it was expressed that the President found the denial of genocide intolerable and must be sanctioned and called on the French Government to prepare a new text by taking into account the ruling of the Constitutional Council.
Since French Parliament will end his works very soon due to Presidential and Parliamentary elections, it could be seen that there is no time for any bill to become a law. However, even if the possibility of becoming a law does not exist, presenting a bill to the French National Assembly will give confidence to the Armenians and ensure that their appreciation for President Sarkozy will continue.
François Hollande, the Socialist Party Presidential candidate whose winning the Presidential elections seems possible, has supported Armenian views all along. In a discussion held recently with the prominent figures of the Dashnak Party which was also reflected in the press, he had expressed that if elected, he would soon address the issue of punishment of those denying the genocide allegations.
In this situation, whoever wins the Presidential elections among the strongest candidates Sarkozy and Hollande, it could be understood that the issue of punishing those denying the Armenian genocide allegations will be brought to the agenda again.
If a new law is adopted and then taken to the Constitutional Council by a required number of deputies or senators indicating that it conflicts with the Constitution, it is almost certain that this law will also be repealed by the Council. However, there is also the possibility that following the elections, the required number of deputies or senators will not be reached for bringing such a law to the Constitutional Council. As a matter of fact, after the law of 2001 was adopted, it was not possible to reach this number despite Turkey’s efforts. In short, this subject has not been definitely dropped. It is possible that it will emerge again after the elections.
Besides the developments that could take place in the future, the issue which is significant today is that despite the great efforts of Armenian circles in France, this law has been repealed. A ruling of the Court of Appeal in California five days ago has prevented the recognition of the genocide allegations in the US through court cases of insurance or properties. Therefore, experiencing two significant failures concerning the “Armenian Cause” in such short time could be expected to strengthen the moderate Armenians who believe that the time has come for normalization of Turkish-Armenian and Turkey-Armenia relations.
Nicolas Sarkozy, Victim of Himself
By Maxime Gauin, USAK, 14 February 2012
Mr. Sarkozy placed himself in an uneasy situation. As the head of the conservative list for the European elections in 1999, he had said nothing against the Turkish candidacy to the European Union. He did not participate in the first real controversy in France regarding this topic, at the end of 2002. Suddenly, in 2004, he turned into a staunch opponent of this candidacy. In 2007, during the presidential campaign, he promised to block all negotiations and to forward, with support, the Masse bill, i.e. the precedent text criminalizing the “denial” of the “Armenian genocide” claims. Actually, he froze only five chapters and his government refused to forward the Masse bill to the Senate. When this text was presented in spring 2011 because of a senatorial initiative, he successfully requested the senators of his party to vote against it.
After the historical defeat of the right in the senatorial elections of September 2011, Mr. Sarkozy started to be concerned about his reelection—actually, such a fear should have at least begun in Autumn 2009, the turning point of his mandate. For the Armenian question, his electoral calculation was quite simple. At first, it was necessary to repair the negative effect of the vote in the Senate on May 4, 2011. It was also, perhaps, motivated by the design to distract the Socialist Party and provoke a split between this organization and the electors of Turkish, or even Arab, origin—especially in the region of Lyon, where there are both big Armenian and Turkish populations, the Armenians having been more influential for the moment. In Mr. Sarkozy’s perspective, the Constitutional Council should be concerned only by a priority question of constitutionality (QPC), because a QPC takes much more time than an application by MPs. The bill would have been adopted, and crushed after the elections. Many commentators in Turkey and elsewhere affirmed that Mr. Sarkozy targeted also the far-right electorate. It may be the case. But the large majority of this electorate is not interested by such topics, and that is why Marine Le Pen, not exactly a Turkophile, said on the public radio channel France Inter that “Turkey was right to tell France to mind its own business.”
Now, Mr. Sarkozy has already lost. He failed to prevent MPs from presenting applications to the Constitutional Council. Last week, he threatened to present a new bill in case of cancellation. However, his government did not use the urgency procedure, which would mean the Constitutional Council having to decide in eight days instead of one month—two UMP deputies who signed the application from the Assembly requested the use of this procedure, for totally different reasons. As a result, the presentation of a new bill, already very difficult with the urgency procedure, is now impossible. The Constitutional Council will pronounce its decision at the very end of February or on March 1, approximately when the holidays will begin for the Parliament because of the presidential and legislative elections. He can only make impotent speeches, like recently during the annual dinner of the Representative Council of France’s Jewish Associations (CRIF). President of the CRIF Richard Prasquier carefully avoided supporting Mr. Sarkozy’s stance on the Armenian question. Not unimportantly, the Turkish ambassador attended the dinner, too.
What about the expected electoral effect? The voters of Armenian heritage represent less than one percent of the total electorate, and only a minority of these voters change their position according to the promise regarding Turkey and the “genocide” allegation. The affair of the Boyer bill was an occasion to see the rather effective action of the pro-Turkish, anti-memorial laws faction within the Socialist Party, especially Bariza Kiari, Vice President of the Senate; and Gwendal Rouillard, deputy of Lorient (Bretagne), who has also been a friend of candidate for the presidential elections François Hollande for around 15 years. In the Lyon region, the increasing activity of the Franco-Turkish associations and the big number of voters of Turkish origin who registered to vote in December 2011 are leading to some significant changes—but it is too soon to arrive at a conclusion.
In Bouches-du-Rhône, the last département (county) of France where MPs are unanimous in supporting the Armenian claims, the Socialist Party endorsed Olivier Ferrand, director of the social-democrat think tank Terra Nova, and a supporter of Franco-Turkish cooperation. Mr. Ferrand is even careful in his wording about the Armenian question.
Nothing expected by Mr. Sarkozy happened. This is true for other attempts to improve his popularity. According to a survey by IFOP published on January 31, the intentions to vote for Mr. Sarkozy only increased from 24 to 24.5 percent (in comparison with the prior survey of this institute),but increased from 28 to 31 percent for Mr. Hollande. For the second ballot, the survey indicates the figures of 58 percent for Mr. Hollande against only 42 percent for Mr. Sarkozy—no other French president elected by direct universal suffrage and candidate up for reelection has had such bad results in these surveys in the January of election year. “We have a Hollande effect; we expected a Sarkozy effect,” said the deputy director of IFOP.
This may be the end of any “Sarkozy effect.”
Updated 5th Mar 2012
French Historian Gauin: "The Decision Will Be Blow to Armenian Nationalism in France"
2 February 2012, By Nihal Çizmecioğlu
JTW conducted an exclusive interview with Maxime Gauin on the current debate regarding the appeal of French senators against the bill prohibiting the denial of genocide.
Q: Seventy French senators collected the required number of signatures demanding the repeal of a law criminalizing denial of the so-called "Armenian genocide." What are the general characteristics of those seventy senators? Are they generally left wing or right wing? We know that Jacques Mezard and Michel Diefenbacher spearheaded the appeal for example but who else?
Maxime Gauin: More exactly, 77 senators and 65 deputies signed two distinct, albeit similar, applications. For the Senate, this is very mixed: 22 Socialists, 18 UMP (Nicolas Sarkozy’s party) members, 15 Liberals, 12 Centrists, 8 Greens and even 2 Communists. Such a convergence of senators from all the groups is absolutely exceptional. The motivations are mainly driven by the respect for constitutional law and concern for maintaining good relations with Turkey. The relatively strong presence of MPs of both the left and right from Alsace, the region of France with, in proportion to the general population, the biggest Turkish community, is easy to understand. In addition, the absence on the list of signatures of some senators notoriously against the bill is explained by the pressures exerted on them. I think, for the UMP, on people like Gérard Larcher, former President of the Senate, currently chairman of the Franco-Turkish friendship group; for the Socialists, on people like Jean-Claude Carrère, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who interrupted speakers many times during the debate of January 23, saying “Very good!” when a speech was against the bill or “The argument is specious!” when an address was in favor of the text.
Jacques Mézard is from the Radical Party, which is now rather small, but was the main political party in France from its creation in 1901 to 1936 or 1940. There is a pro-Turkish and even more pro-Kemalist tradition in this secular and humanist party. Mr. Mézard explicitly placed his stance in this continuity.
In the Senate, two other main leaders who collected signatures were: Nathalie Goulet (Centrist), supporter of Azerbaijan against the Armenian occupation and now a vice-chairperson of the Franco-Turkish friendship group in the Senate; and Bariza Khiari (Socialist), Vice President of the Senate, who has a very objective approach of the Turkish issues.
In the National Assembly, it is clearly different. Among the 65 signatories, you have 52 deputies of the UMP or a center-right party closely allied to it, 11 Socialists and 2 independents. This is clearly a kind of revolt by the UMP group, where Mr. Sarkozy was actually never very popular, except perhaps during the first six months of his mandate. UMP deputy Lionel Tardy said: “This is an atomic bomb for the Élysée [presidential palace, so Mr. Sarkozy himself], which did not see anything coming.” I join in this appraisal. Mr. Sarkozy did not notice the shift, and to be even more explicit, the anger in the UMP bloc of the National Assembly.
In addition to chairman of the Franco-Turkish Friendship group Michel Diefenbacher, the leaders in the National Assembly were: Jacques Myard, a member of this group and a politician notorious for his contempt of the politically correct; and two deputies of Alsace, Jean-Philippe Maurer and Éric Straumann, who even asked the government to use the urgent procedure, which means the Constitutional Council having to decide in eight days instead of one month. For Mr. Diefenbacher and Mr. Myard, the philosophical and foreign policy reasons are predominant. I loved Mr. Diefenbacher’s comment on his website: “This law is nonsense. […] France, the ‘country of Enlightenment,’ has no vocation to join the exclusive club of countries where the law imposes upon the citizens a certain way of thinking. We are not North Korea or Cuba. Liberty, dear Liberty!” http://www.mdiefenbacher.org/2012/01/genocide-armenien-la-loi-est-votee-quelle-ineptie/
For Mr. Maurer and Mr. Straumann, these reasons exist as well, incontrovertibly; the presence of thousands of French citizens of Turkish origin in their districts is probably also a reason.
Q: We know how Turkish officials reacted to the appeal, Prime Minister Erdoğan, President Gül, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu and EU Minister Bağış all hailed the appeal. What about the French reaction?
Maxime Gauin: Mr. Sarkozy said to UMP deputies, with a considerable understatement: “It did not help me.” That is very understandable: He knows that the law is unconstitutional, but he hoped the Constitutional Council could be seized only by a priority question of constitutionality (Question prioritaire de constitutionnalité, QPC), i.e., an application during a court case. The law would be crushed, too, by a QPC, but later, after the presidential election. Mr. Sarkozy even used an unsubstantiated argument: The applications of MPs would threaten the Gayssot Act. This is false. The Gayssot Act forbids the denial of the existence of a “crime against humanity” condemned by the Nuremberg tribunal or by a French court. The qualification of these crimes is left to freedom of expression. The word “Jews” is never used. For example, if you deny that the Gypsies were subjected to mass killing by the Nazis, you can be sued in the name of the Gayssot Act; if you say that there were gas chambers and other criminal ways to kill Gypsies but challenge the “genocide” label, nobody will sue you. The Gayssot Act is backed only by the authority of res judicata and contains no vague incrimination, unlike the Boyer bill. Such a comment indicates how embarrassed Mr. Sarkozy—a lawyer by profession—is, because of his improper initiative.
I did not find any comment on the website of the Socialist Party, which apparently prefers to speak about economic and social concerns. Actually, such problems are much more important for most of the electorate than the limitation of free speech regarding events which happened nearly a century ago in a foreign country.
Q: How will French-Turkish relations stand after the appeal?
Maxime Gauin: Engin Solakoğlu, deputy chief and spokesman of the Turkish embassy’s mission in Paris, stated that the relations, close to rupture, will ease and the Turkish authorities are now awaiting the decision of the Council. The applications to the Constitutional Council are based on a solid argument, and there is no suspense regarding the fate the Boyer bill, including in the eyes of several Armenian nationalists. It would only be logical for the Council to censor the “recognition” of the “genocide” allegation as well, even more since the application of senators, and as far as I know of deputies as well, uses Article 34 of the Constitution among other arguments. This article precisely defines the field of law, and you cannot find any place to qualify historical events. The MPs were sufficiently clever to avoid any direct attack against the “recognition” of 2001, but to include Article 34 in the argument is a barely implicit invitation to suppress this law as well. Such a suppression would be in perfect accordance with the jurisprudence of the Council: This institution has for years considered it perfectly normal, in case of application by QPC or any other way, to check not only the law charged of unconstitutionality, but also any other law which is closely connected to it.
If both texts are deleted, excellent prospects will arise. On the other hand, the Franco-Turkish associations must continue the movement started during the last weeks and create a structure comparable to the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) or the Federation of Turkish Associations in the United Kingdom (FTA UK). These associations should be assisted by all legal means, too. The decision of the Constitutional Council will be a considerable, perhaps unprecedented , blow to Armenian nationalism in France, but will not destroy it completely. For the Turkish side, in every aspect, it is just the beginning.
Nihal Çizmecioglu, JTW
France-Turkey: The Night Will End by Maxime Gauin*
31 January 2012 / ,
The Armenian claims have been discussed in the French Parliament since 1975 (rejected in 1975, 1985, 1987 and 1996, adopted from 1998-2001), but, clearly, the discussions and the vote had never come so far.
What has happened since December could appropriately be called the culmination of stupidity. One senator, Sophie Joissains of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP or Union for a Popular Movement), elected from Bouches-du-Rhône -- the county with the most vituperative Armenian community of France -- even expressed regret that the Treaty of Sèvres was never implemented. On the other hand, if in the National Assembly chairman of the Franco-Turkish Friendship group, Michel Diefenbacher, was a bit alone in maintaining honor by his good speech delivered against the Boyer bill, a significant number of members of parliament fought the text fiercely in the Senate, accumulating motions of dismissal, cancellation of amendments and speeches to defend their position.
The responsibility falls primarily on Nicolas Sarkozy, who pressured the UMP group to either abstain from voting or vote for the bill. Indeed, the main change in comparison to the vote of May 4, 2011, when the previous Armenian bill was rejected, is the change of votes within the UMP: 19 voted against, but 137 did so on May 4, 2011; 56 abstained, but only 10 did during the preceding vote; 57 voted for, but only nine did the last year. The Socialist group was pressured as well, but the results were much more mixed: On May 4, 2011, 21 voted against the bill, 39 for and 55 abstained; on January 23, 2012, 26 voted against, 56 for and 48 abstained. In addition to the courageous fight of the Socialist chairman of the Law Committee, who presented in vain a motion of dismissal, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Jean-Louis Carrère, also a Socialist, repeatedly expressed his anger against the bill and voted accordingly. Other examples can be provided.
We have not been closer to a rupture in Turkish-French relations since the Ankara Agreement of 1921. Regardless, paradoxically, the crisis can be resolved by the collapse of Armenian nationalism in France. Indeed, the Boyer bill is totally unconstitutional (a violation of free speech, among other rights) and is backed by a January 2001 law of that recognizes the unsubstantiated “Armenian genocide” claims. Article 34 of the French Constitution precisely defines the scope of the law and there is no legal value for simple statements. The jurisprudence of the Constitutional Council is clear: When two laws are closely connected, and when someone is apprehended for having violated one of them, the council can check both; if an article of law is pure rhetoric, it is simply censored. As a result, if 60 senators (among the 86 who voted against) take the issue to the Constitutional Council, the two bills will be thrown out. If not, the first person to be charged could file a Priority Question of Constitutionality; it would take more time, but the result would be exactly the same. In any case, the Armenian nationalist leaders would have to explain to their activists why they vehemently supported the suicidal second bill. The strident hostility of most editorialists, of many historians, jurists and other intellectuals as well as many ordinary citizens, shows that the throwing out of these bills would be welcomed. For the moment, the Turkish government’s reactions are relatively quiet, chiefly because of this constitutionality problem. That is why we can hope that the Armenian nationalists will not completely achieve their traditional objective: to create crisis between Turkey and other countries.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) joined the Italian Fascists and the Nazi regime in the 1930s not only for ideological reasons, but also with the hope of sparking a war with Ankara. The ARF shamelessly joined the USSR in 1972 to participate in the destabilization of a NATO member. Since 1987, hindering the Turkish candidacy to the EU has been one of the main objectives of Armenian nationalist groups.
On the other hand, it would be totally wrong for the Turkish side to simply wait in the hope that the Constitutional Council finishes off Armenian nationalism in France. Turkey believed Armenian nationalism was dead in 1923, for example, but it was not. More particularly for the current French case, the pressures on the Socialist group are mostly due to the close relations between ARF leader Mourad Papazian and the Socialist candidate for the presidency, François Hollande. There is no miraculous method through which to seize the current situation and thoroughly crush Armenian nationalism in France. However, there are partial, efficient solutions. One of them is to organize, by all legal means, the defeat of a significant number of deputies who voted for the Boyer bill in the National Assembly. Another is to finally translate into French the main scholarly contributions to the Armenian question and other sensitive aspects of Ottoman and Turkish history published during the last 20 years -- those of Ferudun Ata, Edward J. Erickson, Yusuf Halaçoglu, Guenter Lewy, Justin McCarthy and others. More generally, relations with France (the second-largest investor in Turkey) deserve new, additional, permanent structures and, in such a perspective, US-Turkish relations could provide a certain inspiration.
Between 1921 and 1922 the Franco-Turkish alliance was restored, in great part by two ministers of foreign affairs: Raymond Poincaré from the center right and Aristide Briand from the center left. We could have a kind of new Raymond Poincaré with Alain Juppé. A new Aristide Briand is wanted.
*Maxime Gauin is a researcher at the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK) in Ankara.
Comments At TodaysZaman
Mani , 31 January 2012 , 19:43
Maxime Gauin, neither you nor anyone in this world will stop us.. go and write a few more articles. Your denialism will make and create armies of more nationalist Armenians who will fight every ounce of Turkish and their bought denialists.
Jannaan , 01 February 2012 , 02:29
Hello Mani, We meet again, this time you are threatening the author. Anytime you have no logical answer to discredit someone's facts, you revert to badmouthing the author with empty accusations - usual Armenian propaganda mouthpiece. You cannot get much further, by picking and choosing columnists serving to your desired end-result.
ara , 01 February 2012 , 06:25
you are full of hate and racism. shame on you!
Maxime Gauin , 01 February 2012 , 10:51
Courageous anonymous Armenian reader, Thank you to illustrate what I wrote: ?it would be totally wrong for the Turkish side to simply wait in the hope that the Constitutional Council finishes off Armenian nationalism in France. Turkey believed Armenian nationalism was dead in 1923, for example, but it was not.?
Ten Suggestions For Turkey To Face Its Own History By Hayk Demoyan
The landmark decision made by the Lower House of the French Parliament on criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial provoked an impressive and harsh reaction from Turkish political circles illustrated the aggressive tone in their rhetoric. Indeed, the French law with all chances to be affirmed by Senate sounds like an anathema for Turkey, a country which desires to ascribe itself a new role and activities as a regional power with ambitious projects.
Once again the Turkish leadership faced enormous humiliation and reacted very nervously realizing that the French bill may create a domino effect for new recognitions of the Armenian Genocide and criminalization of the denial of the Turkish atrocities committed during the WWI. Ankara’s disappointment is doubled since the state-sponsored denial campaign and face-saving proposal for establishment of the commission of historians are in limbo.
Thus, as a substitute, Ankara has launched a new campaign of sympathy which is intent on putting forward such or similar proposals from the mouths of foreign leaders. Despite the fact that the very idea of the commission of historians and accusation that Armenia has territorial claims from Turkey is already proven to be a bluff, some leaders in order to please panicked Turkish officials willingly became victims of Turkish tricks. It is especially bizarre that the Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey states “the historians would then contribute to discussions with their findings”, (Swissinfo, December 26, 2011). It is clear that Turkey wants to take from dead protocols what is desired, and avoid the unpleasant responsibilities. The idea fix of the Turkish side is to make Armenian Genocide a subject for endless debates at the same time ignoring historical facts and academic findings on the subject, which has long concluded that Armenian Genocide is a classical example of state organized genocide, a statement made primarily by Rafael Lemkin, a Jewish lawyer who coined the term genocide and gave legal explanations to it back in 1944, thus paving the way for Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Recently Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that the main obstacles to Turkey to become “one of the world’s most powerful states is that it can’t face up to its past, history, taboos and fears” (Asbarez, November 23, 2011). Like a mantra Turkish leaders and government-associated intellectuals do not stop dealing with its own past via a common practice called – escaping from the truth via denying what happened. The very idea of the commission of historians which is clearly political rather than academic offer is intended to be a trap, striving to receive the rejection of the Armenian side, and at the same time to get a positive stance towards this idea from the world. This goes hand in hand with nervous attempts of the Turkish side to blame on victims for committing mass killings of Turks, a trick, which is very common approach in almost all genocidal crimes and attempts to justify perpetrators.
On November 23, 2011, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while referring to the Dersim killings of Kurds back in 1930s, said “the most tragic incident of our near past.” While apologizing for Dersim killings Ankara consciously or not slightly linked itself with the Armenian Genocide since many of those who were massacred in Dersim and surrounding territories were Armenian survivors of the Genocide (committed by Young Turks and Kemalist forces between 1915-1922), who found refuge among friendly Kurds. Another shocking confession by the Turkish prime minister: “…It is a disaster that should now be questioned with courage. The party that should confront this incident is not the ruling Justice and Development Party [AK Party]. It is the CHP, which is behind this bloody disaster, who should face this incident and its chairman from Tunceli.” (www.eurasianet.org, November 23, 2011). Leaving aside political connotations of the statement one could say that while criticizing the Republican People’s Party (RPP) led by Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, Erdogan again points to the Armenian Genocide crimes as well, since many leaders who joined Kemal Ataturk’s team were members of the Ittihadist party, and directly were involved in decision making and perpetration of the Armenian Genocide. Moreover, during the Dersim crimes the RPP was the sole party in the country, as was Ittihad ve Terakki during the WWI when the Genocides against Armenians and other Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire were being committed.
I would like to set a symbolic roadmap for the Turkish side on what should be done before rising the issue of necessity of the discussion of the Armenian Genocide and better preparation for discussion of unpleasant and intentionally hidden pages of the Turkish history.
Hence I do hope that the following tips could be very useful to follow:
1. It is an urgent need to revise the Kemalist heritage in the social and intellectual debates, especially in terms of lifting a Soviet-like ban on discussion of historical events and censoring memory;
2. It is urgent to eliminate Procrustean Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code on insulting the Turkish nation and give a real chance for Turkish academicians, journalists to express their opinions freely, with no fears of being punished for their opinions and judgments;
3. To enable Turkish and foreign researchers to conduct their studies freely, it is strongly suggested that Ankara open the Turkish archives fully, among them the archives of the General staff, declassifying those materials which are related to the hearings of the Turkish military courts in 1919-1922, which sentenced the main criminals responsible for perpetration of the Armenian Genocide to death;
4. It is necessary for Turkey to take real measures for the prevention of further destruction of cultural monuments of Armenian heritage or erasing the cultural markers under the pretext of their restoration. One more important gesture would be welcomed if Ankara orders the removal of Turkish flags from Armenian monuments, especially from those churches which were turned into military depots;
5. It is strongly suggested that the hatred and xenophobia against the Armenians and national minorities living on the territory of Turkey be removed from the Turkish textbooks. It is important also to cease any politically motivated denial campaign in Turkish schools;
6. Stop the financial activities in hiring scholars to deny the Armenian Genocide and while doing so denying the inseparable part of the Turkish history—the Armenian Genocide is not only part of Armenian history and memory, but also that of Turkey;
7. Accept internationally recognized and scholarly accepted definition for “tragic events of 1915” and recognize the crimes committed by Turkey in the past as Genocide and cease all attempts to deny it;
8. Consider the Armenian Genocide, as well as genocidal activities against other indigenous people of Anatolia, such as Greeks and Assyrians, as a shameful page of Turkish history and be ready to apologize without any reservations and semantic exercises;
9. While recognizing and apologizing for the committed genocidal crimes, Turkey must be ready for elimination of the consequences of genocide committed and undertake necessary measures to prepare Turkish society for such developments;
10. It would be a great step for Ankara to deal with the Armenian Genocide issue while accepting the following motto with four important notions: RECOGNITION, CONDEMNATION, APOLOGY AND ELIMINATION OF CONCEQUENCES OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE.
In the end I would like to suggest several proposals on possible commissions which could be useful to and will enable Turkey to face with its own history. The following proposals would be important for further reconciliation of the Turkish society with its own history and memory instead of solely focusing on the questionable Turkish-Armenian commission of historians. Let Turkey set commissions in following areas:
a. Turkish-Armenian, Turkish-EU and Turkish-Syrian commissions on border issues;
b. Turkish-Cypriot commission on war crimes of the Turkish armed forces in Cyprus in 1974;
c. Turkish-Greek commission on compensation of Greek victims of the state organized pogroms of 1955 in Istanbul;
d. Turkey-NATO commission on training of Azerbaijani officers on the territory of occupied Northern Cyprus;
e. Jewish-Turkish commission on forcible exile and violation of the rights of Jews of Thrace in early 1930s;
f. Turkish-Kurdish commission on compensation as a result of forced resettlement of Kurdish citizens;
g. Turkish-Armenian commission on the elimination of the consequences of the Armenian Genocide
Is that enough until the centennial of the Turkish Republic in 2023? I think it is more than enough…
Hayk Demoyan is director of the Armenian Genocide Museum and Institute at Dzidzernagapert
Comments From Asbarez/ArmenianWeekly
jan 23, at 2:09 pm
Brilliant! Thank you France!
jan 23, at 2:13 pm
Great!!! France is really an honourable country. USA should take example from France and acknowledge the Armenian genocide.
jan 23, at 2:25 pm
what are these savages doing in the center of europe, please send the barberians back to central asia
jan 23, at 2:56 pm
Viva la France !!!
Eagle Locksmith says:
jan 23, at 3:17 pm
Wow. It is really great. Hope new achievements from USA.
jan 23, at 3:23 pm
THANK YOU FRANCE, TURKEY HAS TO UNDERSTAND THAT THREATS AGAINST ANY COUNTRY THAT RECOGNIZES THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE WILL NOT WORK, THE WORLD KNOWS THE TRUTH THAT TURKEY HAS COMMITTED GENOCIDE AGAINST ARMENIANS,GREEKS,ASSYRIANS AND OTHER CHRISTIANS AND ALSO KURDS, TURKEY HAS TO JOIN THE CIVILIZED WORLD AND ADMIT TO ITS OWN GUILT AND ADMIT TO GENOCIDE,AND APOLOGIZE,TURKEY MURDERED INNOCENT BABIES,CHILDREN , WOMEN AND MEN. THE DAY WILL COME THAT TURKEY WILL ASK FOR FORGIVNESS FOR KILLING THE INNCONENT. THEN TURKS WILL BE PROUD OF THEIR COUNTRY FOR ADDMITTING TO THIS HORRIBLE PAST IN THEIR HISTORY.
jan 23, at 3:24 pm
VIVA LA FRANCE!!!
jan 23, at 3:30 pm
Lets gather in front of French consulate in Los Angeles to thank them.
Alexander The Great Armo says:
jan 23, at 3:33 pm
Everyone here is happy for news that should of happened in 1920’s but not 97 years down the long road to truth with punishment to that truth. This goes to proof that not until the world community depletes its relationship interests with invader turks, Armenians won’t be able to punish them. We want our lands back, which was the reason for that genocide, unlike the Jewish one, which was for the riches they possessed.
Mher Karapetyan says:
jan 23, at 3:51 pm
Turks deserve to give back land!!
Denem yes dzer veznerin.
jan 23, at 4:09 pm
France is not afraid of Turks to speak the truth.
Bravo France !!!
jan 23, at 4:44 pm
This is the beginning… France has proved herself. One for the good guys.
jan 23, at 4:49 pm
Thanks to the French Assembly. Senate and the People.
jan 23, at 4:57 pm
Admirable! Thank you, France and French Armenian Community!
Thank you Senate, Thank you France!
Once again you proved to be the torch-bearer of liberty and justice in the modern world.
This is for my Grandmother Eva who survived the Armenian Genocide at 5 Years Old! Because of her we go on… God Bless Everyone involved to make this happen! God Bless France and the Armenian survivors around the Globe!
And my grandmother that survived the genocide when she was 8, because of her bleeding wounds, she was believed to be dead. She survived and told us her memories of her family being murdered by Turks in front of her eyes.
“Alma mazlumun ahini, cikar aheste aheste”
I am filled with gratitude!
This Is Disgraceful!!!
French from so on you have no right to talk about ‘Free Speech’ and ‘Human Rights’ Remember Genocide against Algerians, Turks never killed innocent people. It was radical armenian groups who killed thousands innocent civilians in Anatolia with your help!!! Sarkozy if not Ottoman maybe today you were not existing, thanks to them your family survived harsh circumstances in Europe!! Shame On YOU!!!
YOU are Disgraceful!
You speak against the Armenian Genocide because you or your loved ones did not feel it on their skin?? DO YOU HAVE TO BURN YOUR FINGER TO UNDERSTAND NOT TO PLAY WITH FIRE YOU PEASANT??!!!
TURKEY WAS BUILT ON RAPE, MURDER, LIES, AND NOW DENIAL!
THANK YOU FRANCE. GOD BLESS FRANCE AND ARMENIA!!
Were you Denialist Turks just as concerned about ‘Free Speech’ when France (and many other European countries) passed Laws Criminalizing the Denial of Jewish Holocaust ?
Or you want to have ‘Free Speech’ so you can continue insulting only our murdered ancestors. Delusional Denialists like you, who write this trash – “Turks never killed innocent people.” – are like cornered rats: your little rat brain cannot process what just happened, so you are spewing the usual Anti-Armenian hate bile.
You guys are running out of tricks: the world is closing in on you.
No matter what happens, we will get justice for our 2 million murdered ancestors. Have no doubt.
How DARE you. Get your facts straight before you comment and regurgitate lies! Our people were murdered in millions and every family has their own truth and proof of that. You are a repulsive human being, and I really hope you do your research and learn the truth one day… This is great news as a human rights issue, and if you were a decent human being you would have realized that. This is a great example to learn from in order for people not to repeat bad history again!
Shame on you! It is disgraceful to say that innocent people were not killed because they were not your ancestors! MY ancestors were brutally killed by the Turks for no reason! The Ottoman empire would be nowhere without the Armenians, and YOU have the nerve to say that they were slaughtered for a reason! SHAME ON YOU, not shame on Europe, SHAME ON YOU!
you should really feel ashamed of yourself – instead of saying “Sorry” you try to insult, instead of being humble, you deny and insult the memories – when will you ever learn that your ancestors murdered the Armenians – your government does not have free speech in your own country so what are you trying to prove? the world knows that the genocide committed by Turkey happened, it is all documented.
Wake up from your sleep and your dream and for once understand what your ancestors have done – it’s simple.
Ridiculous! Nothing is more disgraceful than building your nation on the blood of millions of ‘unwanted’ people, stealing their wealth and property and claiming their ancient artifacts as your own. Nothing is more disgraceful than running around the world spreading disinformation and denying the truth to avoid the responsibility for a horrific crime. Nothing is more disgraceful than blaming the victim for their own murder. And further, what is more disgraceful than Article 301 which criminalizes insulting ‘Turkishness?’ Clean up your own house before you criticize others.
You know what is a true Disgrace Elturan Pasha???
The biggest disgrace is having Turkey on the map.. because no murderor and a denialist who threatens other countries have the right to even exist among normal human beings… but Turkey is there.. and other countries UNLIKE FRANCE (who demonstrated they have the BALLS to stand up to the sick man of Europe) continue to succumb to Turkey’s tantrums and stay in the back burner without recognizing the autrocities commited by Turkey.. Now THAT is disgraceful…
also, people like you are disgraceful for eating the lies letter by letter.. you yourself demonstrate a disgrace …
THIS IS FOR ALL MY ANCESTORS WHO PERISHED under the barbaric Turkish Ottoman hands..
GOD BLESS FRANCE….
VIVE LA FRANCE, VIVE L`ARMENIE !
The Turkish state has wealth, influence, weapons, 70 millions, respect and forceful world leaders.
Humanity has only the truth. Today, truth won.
Vive La France, once more.
Watch now how the Armenians of Turkey will be made to suffer.
As an American, my reflex – my “knee jerk reflex – is to be against such laws. But, there are good reasons why such laws should be in place in France that go beyond my default position.
1. For many years it has been a crime to deny the Jewish Genocide in France. Does that bother you as much? They want to treat Genocides equally.
2. Europeans have a reason to make Genocide denial illegal. Especially the French. They cooperated with the Germans to send Jews, including babies, to death. They are entitled to view laws limiting speech in this way as being more important than promotong the marketplace of ideas.
3. What have you done to abolish 301? 301 killed Hrant Dink. 301 is a far broader abridgement of the right of free speech than the French law.
4. As detailed six years ago by the late Professor Quataert, the TR actively suppresses free inquiry into the AG in the USA. Turkey is in no position to lead the charge for free speech.
5. The US Congress has made dozens of condemnations against Genocide and crimes against humanity.
6. When the TR starts lobbying, threatening and bullying, Americans and other western peoples dig in their heels and insist that Turlkey cannot tell us how to run our own countries. Even if I opposed this law, I would vote for it for that reason alone. We are not dhimmis.
1. Actually it bothers me the same. I am against the criminalization of any speech as long as it does not directly insults to individuals.
2. I think criminalizing the ideas actually amplifies them. The limitations by authorities always end up with some people using this to go to extremes.
3. Unfortunately I did nothing. 301 is a shameful law which is a crime by itself. I agree with you completely. That law should be removed completely with no exception.
4.5.6. The term Genocide is a legal UN term that needs a court order, which in Armenian case does not exist (unlike the Jewish one). I agree that it was a crime against humanity and nobody can deny it. I could understand the Turkish opposition if it was relying only the legal aspect. I don’t even understand why senates are even voting for historical events. I believe building sculptures, organizing events would serve the memories of the lost ones better than denying someone to express his/her opinions.
It’s interesting to see that people feel gratitude for a law that criminalize the freedom of expression.
If I say that the Eiffel Tower is built by Aliens and not by French, you would laugh and think that I’m stupid. But you will not imprison me. Why this one would be different?
Well done France…. well done…
were you also that concerned about freedom of expression when France (and many other European countries) passed Laws Criminalizing the Denial of Jewish Holocaust ?
Or you want to have the freedom of expression to deny only the Armenian Genocide ?
BTW: there were no Turks marching in Paris complaining about freedom of speech at the time. Nobody was marching.
Wow…you seriously can’t see the difference between the armenian genocide and your example?
What has freedom of expression to do with a nation honoring the memories of a race that was murdered?
If you say aliens built the Eiffel Tower, you are slighting Mr. Eiffel’s memory, who used his intelligence to design the tower. You do no further harm.
If you say armenian genocide did not exist, you are actually spitting on the memory of many unborn children who were murdered in their mother’s womb when a turkish bayonet pierced it purposely for obliterating the armenian race.
If you say armenian genocide did not exist, you are actually ignoring the memory of the mother who had to feed one of his sons the dead flesh of her daughter just to strive to save her son at the least.
Do you now understand the difference? Or will you now argue about my examples as being too graphic and not real? Will you need an eye-witness to account for these facts, a mllion scholars, billion documents stating these scenes as true, etc?
I also do not support the laws criminalizing the denial of the Holocaust as well. Unfortunately I didn’t nothing at that time because I was a small child.
You give quite a graphic details, you can go even further dramatization but in the end I still do not see how denial would hurt the memories.
As a turk I won’t get offended if a greek would tell me that their ancestors did not slaughtered the people of Izmir, or a christian telling me that crusades did not exit.
I don’t see this as a limitation on freedom of expression as much as I see it as a responsible rejection of the perpetuation of injury that denial brings to the victims of genocide. Absolute free speech exists no where. There are social limits and legal limits in most societies and consequences for knowingly slandering a person or entity.
Try yelling Fire! in a crowded theatre and see if the law doesn’t come down on you.
I thank France for this strong message to negationists.
KAko, please! How can you be so thick? To deny a genocide that obliterated a people from there homeland and scattered their remnants around the globe is like saying that their pain of separation and loss is meaningless and doesn’t deserve validation. It distorts truth and denies a defining moment in the life/or death of a people. You really don’t have any skin in the game so you really don’t get it do you?
viva la france, what can i say, victory for justice
we have to make sure we capitalize on this victory and push for global justic, push for our couse and strive to convince the turkish government that coming clean is beneficial for them.
God Bless France!!! Thank you, Thank you!!!!
No one can face the truth!! Congratulations to all Armenians!.
I bet that Murderer Talat wasn’t thinking about today when he raised his sword. He thought he can murder innocent people and sweep it under the rug..
Murderers get what they deserve!
Samvel Jeshmaridian, PhD
This fact is one more step forward toward a better world!
It is the great victory of the FRENCH LIBERALISM.
It can be a good impetus for Turkish people to clean themselves mentally!
It can be a heavenly spirit for Armenians to get rid of genocide memories and look forward the same direction together with free and liberal-democratic nations.
I think France and Armenia forgot the year of 1992…
The Khojaly Massacre was the killing of hundreds of ethnic Azerbaijani civilians from the town of Khojaly on 25–26 February 1992 by the Armenian and Russian armed forces during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. According to the Azerbaijani side, as well as Memorial Human Rights Center, Human Rights Watch and other international observers, the massacre was committed by the ethnic Armenian armed forces, reportedly with help of the Russian 366th Motor Rifle Regiment, apparently not acting on orders from the command. The official death toll provided by Azerbaijani authorities is 613 civilians, including 106 women and 83 children. The event became the largest massacre in the course of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Western governments and the western media refer to it as the Khojaly Massacre or Khojaly Tragedy. Azerbaijani, Pakistani and Turkish sources occasionally refer to the massacre as Khojaly Genocide (Azerbaijani: Xocali soyqirimi, Turkish: Hocali soykirimi) and the Khojaly Tragedy (Azerbaijani: Xocali faci?si). Armenian sources usually underestimate the massacre and mostly refers to it as the Battle of Khojaly (Armenian: ???????? ???????????-Khojalui Paterazmum), Khojaly event (Armenian: ???????? ??????????????-Khojalui Iradardzut’yun) or sometimes Khojaly tragedy (Armenian: ???????? ????????????-Khojalui Voghbergut’yan).
According to Human Rights Watch, the tragedy struck when “a large column of residents, accompanied by a few dozen retreating fighters, fled the city as it fell to Armenian forces. As they approached the border with Azerbaijan, they came across an Armenian military post and were cruelly fired upon”.
Armenian side officially claims that the killings occurred as a result of wartime military operations, and were in part caused by the prevention of the evacuation of town inhabitants by Azerbaijani forces. Armenian government officials asserted that the casualty count, though high, was due to the fact the fleeing civilians in Khojaly had mingled with the retreating defenders and when the Azeri troops shot back, Armenian forces fired upon them, killing both soldier and civilian alike. Helsinki Watch itself concluded “that the militia, still in uniform, and some still carrying their guns, were interspersed with the masses of civilians.” However, Human Rights Watch and Memorial, found this explanation of Armenian officials unconvincing, stating that the killing of civilians could not be justified under any circumstances. Human Rights Watch noted that “the attacking party [i.e., Karabakh Armenian forces] is still obliged to take precautionary measures to avoid or minimize civilian casualties. In particular, the party must suspend an attack if it becomes apparent that the attack may be expected to cause civilian casualties that are excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.”
The Armenian side refers to Ayaz Mutalibov’s interview to claim that the massacre had been committed not by Armenian soldiers but by Azerbaijan Popular Front militants who allegedly shot their own civilians escaping through the corridor. In one of his interviews Mutalibov stated that the event could be a ploy by opposition to denigrate his government. In later interviews, however, Mutalibov would go on to condemn the Armenians for what he said was a blatant misinterpretation of his words. Some believe that the Azerbaijani journalist Chingiz Mustafayev who recorded the Khojaly Massacre was killed very suspiciously while he was trying to gather information about the attack of the Azerbaijan Popular Front militants to their own civilians. Other theories proposed by the Armenian side were that Azeri Popular Front soldiers had massacred 100 Azeri and Armenian civilians and then proceeded to mix the bodies and lay blame upon the Armenians. This explanation however is widely disputed, among others, the executive director of Human Rights Watch has stated that: “we place direct responsibility for the civilian deaths with Karabakh Armenian forces. Indeed, neither our report nor that of Memorial includes any evidence to support the argument that Azerbaijani forces obstructed the flight of, or fired on Azeri civilians”.
At the same time, some Armenian sources admitted the guilt of the Armenian side. According to Markar Melkonian, the brother of the Armenian military leader Monte Melkonian, “Khojaly had been a strategic goal, but it had also been an act of revenge.” The date of the massacre in Khojaly had a special significance: it was the run-up to the fourth anniversary of the anti-Armenian pogrom in the city of Sumgait. Melkonian particularly mentions the role of the fighters of two Armenian military detachments called the Arabo and Aramo, who stabbed to death many Azeri civilians.
According to Serge Sarkisian, long-time Defense Minister and Chairman of Security Council of Armenia who is the current president of Armenia, “A lot was exaggerated” in the casualties, and the fleeing Azerbaijanis had put up armed resistance. At the same time he stated: “Before Khojali, the Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us, they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that [stereotype]. And that’s what happened. And we should also take into account that amongst those boys were people who had fled from Baku and Sumgait”.
The Azerbaijani journalist Eynulla Fatullayev wrote one of in his articles that he met some refugees from Khojaly, temporarily settled in Naftalan, who said that the Armenian soldiers positioned behind the corridor had not opened fire on them. Some soldiers from the battalions of the National Front of Azerbaijan instead, for some reason, had led part of the refugees in the direction of the village of Nakhichevanik, which during that period had been under the control of the Armenians’ Askeran battalion. The other group of refugees were hit by artillery volleys while they were reaching the Agdam Region.
George Mueller, I read both your posts in entirety. Yes, something tragic happened in Khojaly. I fail to see the connection to the issue in France. How does the charge against Armenians in Khojaly diminish the right of the French to pass a law to limit the destructive impact of genocide negationists or of Armenians to seek justice for a crime committed against them by Turkey in 1915? If Azeris have suffered a genocide, I support their right to have the truth validated. However every raid or gun battle, no matter how tragic or unjustified, is not a genocide. As you point out in your posts, the facts are debated in Khojaly incident, but genocide has not been shown as a motive. Ugly things happen in a war…we all know this.
Both of my parents were Armenian Genocide survivors, although most of their families were not. I heard all about the Ottoman Turkish barbarians throughout my lifetime. My mother came to the USA from Paris, France (through Ellis Island) in 1930. She often spoke about the wonderful French people so this is a tribute to her (in heaven). Viva la France – God bless you. I only pray that the USA will follow suit. Armenia – the FIRST NATION to accept Christianity.
Yeah we turks are a evil race that causes nothing but pain and destruction. I wish that you had grown up with stories of how different people can live together than demonizing a whole population.
“the FIRST NATION to accept Christianity.” ?? If that would designate some sort of quality that I’d say crusades, inquisition, etc, etc….
Kako.. true ignorant denialist talking.. i can’t even express how digusted I am with your denialists comments.. but then again.. what do you expect from peoplel ike you? now there is no where to run which is why people like you come out of their hibernation by spewing nonsense.. we are used to it… so anything you say will be voided by default.. including George Muller… and ilk…
Mille merci pour la France.
I’m extremely happy that French Senate passed it ))
“In turn Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he may not visit France again if the Senate passed the bill”
Really Mr. PM…..?
French Senate PASSED IT then don’t Visit…. ))
And as we say in Armenian:
“Blessed is the lawn where the pig refuses to visit”.
To France…This is truly a sad day in your history. Too late will you ultimately realize what you have just done. I hope all of the Armenian butts you kissed, and their bribe monies, was worth it.
To the Armenians…Your time is quickly approaching. The sad thing is that you’ve all been warned so many times and did nothing! You, as a people, are to be pitied. It’s in God’s hands now.
Yo Robert the TURKS.. oh now you have a red avatar.. what happened to the blue, and green, and yellow or whatever colors you come under on our pages… you keep warning us .. are you that idiotic to threaten us with your nonsense? oh wait.. yes you are…
Turkey is soooooo desperate that they try to advertise and bring more tourists by selling themselves even to Wheel of Fortune.. how sad are you.. the money is running out? is that why???
I agree about the “It is all in God’s hands” part of your statement. God’s people will prevail even if it is a hundred years after they were about to be eliminated. God saw us through the past four thousand years, and he will see us through another four thousand. As for your people, alas there is no history, and there is definitely not much future either.
All the oppressed peoples of the Ottoman Empire feel relieved by this law. At last the true nature of the Turks is appearing. Thank you France. Now, we see that asking the Turks to defend the freedoms and human rights in Syria and other neighboring countries is like asking the wolf to protect the lambs.
The good guys always win in the end! Bravo France!!
It is time for US, to honor lady liberty, and take that ugly invisible red gag away from her mouth!!
This puts the French at the the top of most politicized peoples in the civilized world.
Let the fundamentals of Freedom, Fraternity and Equality be alive forever.
Thank you France for your courage and honesty.
We are still waiting and it is time for the US and the UK to honor the memory of our 1.5 million martyrs.
That is for sure.. but US does not have the balls to stand up to this monster.. and i don’t know why… maybe too much kissing Turkey’s you know what…. it is sickening…
So much so Turkey is infiltrating herself in everything that goes on in US.. Carl’s Jr Turkey Burger ads… the turkish airlines.. the free give aways at wheels of fortune.. they are hanging on everything to make sure US does not slip and maybe do the right thing.. by throwing money at US and US pumping money into Turkey these ugly relationship does not seem to end but one day it will end.. very very bad break up.. i know it..
As an American I am glad and very relieved to hear that justice and truth can still overcome the selfish and unjust pursuit of undeserved power and greed. Now it is America’s turn to uphold these truths and hold moral and just actions above greed and selfish desires. I commend Franc for their brave and righteous actions.
Thank you Roger.. I just hope that our own country, the brave and mightly US of A will follow suite…
This why fanatic Islamic world do not believe in genocides and human rights, but they believe in Jihadism and Jihadism is a rightful act in Islam, this is why country called Turkey, once was a Christian Empire…do you know what happened to their rightful citizens and rightful owners of that land??If you can’t come up with an intellectual answer, then go to Hagia Sofia, go for a tour there.. you will feel the ghost of real owners behind the walls and if you are really clever, next you will doubt about yourself if you are a real Turk, next you will kneel down in front of Aya Sofias door step, and ask Allah’s forgiveness!!
“rightful owners of that land”… That doesn’t mean anything. The ownership of the land is decided by conquest through all history of mankind. Armenians too are not assigned by god to that land from day 1.
If we take your attitude, clone it for a couple of million times and then give some guns. And that attitude would cause a Turkish Genocide with no hesitation.
Kako, you said it not me. Conquest. that is all you are, bloody conquerors. And it was your forefathers that were afraid of mine to try to annihilate them.
I urge the Armenian people to celebrate this victory and spread word of this victory, but to also realize that it will still take many years of debate to convince the American people to pass such laws. With that said I wish to thank the French people for being such unselfish and moral individuals and for having the courage to stand up to powerful foes and do the right thing. Armenian people should continue to push this issue in the U.S.
USA cannot pass such a Law: the 1st Amendment prohibits it (as it should).
There is no Law prohibiting the Denial of the Jewish Holocaust in the USA.
But if you deny it or call the JH a hoax, you will be marginalized and driven into the woodworks (like David Duke was): and that’s good enough.
But United States MUST now recognize the Armenian Genocide, not just symbolically, but by Law.
Then, we will not have the despicable spectacle of President Obama embracing PM Erdogan and calling him his ‘trusted friend’.
Reminder to Pres. Obama: your ‘trusted friend’ publicly called the Armenian Genocide a “lie” on the Charlie Rose show.
Would Pres. Obama also consider indicted war-criminal Pres. of Sudan Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir a trusted friend ?
Avery, the USA may not be be able to pass such a law but California probably can.
I have no objection to people refusing to believe in historical fact but when the Turkish Govt.sends it’s goons here, intimidating our esteemed UC professors and mocking the survivors of its mass-murder on their Remembrance Day, the line in the sand was drawn. I hope the Turkish people understand that this is not directed at them. This is the Diaspora about to go head-on with the Turkish Govt. on all fronts, the eye of the hurricane-the “perfect storm”.
Now it’s time to turn our attention to the USA. If the Obama administration is willing to relinquish our leadership (and his own promises) in promoting freedom and human rights in the World to the French, then let me say it proudly; today, I am French. Vive la France, leader of the Free World!
I agree with you Avery jan.. 100%
Will Turkey retaliate by strengthening article 301? Will more truth-writers be hauled onto the Midnight Express that disappears into oblivion?
when it comes time to cast your vote, remember that France took the high road, while Obama is still picking his nose.
There is no more gracefull better than this .
DOWN WITH DENIAL TURKEY
Viv la France! Viv la Armenie! Merci France.
Thanks to France and its principled stance on European values of liberalism and human rights and respect for human dignity, Europe is beginning to wake up to the peril that is threatening all these values emanating from Turkey which, moreover, is entertaining restoration of “Ottoman greatness” and accession to the EU!
In the same way that Nazi Germany could never be reformed from within or without and had to be destroyed so too Turkey has shown itself to be incapable of reform. It is the first fascist state. France, by this action, has shown the rest of Europe the way. Let this be the prelude to dismantling of fascism in Turkey, the last bastion of state sponsored chauvinism, racist nationalism and fascism on the periphery of Europe. That is the precondition of democracy in Turkey and justice for Armenia and Armenians – recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey and the elimination of all its consequences.
I still think one year in prison and 45,000 Euros is a bit harsh for denying genocide, but seeing as France is making the denial of ANY genocide illegal I also don’t get why Turkey is overreacting in such a way. France isn’t singling Turkey out, and free speech restriction arguments are invalid – things in France may not work the same way they do in the US. And it’s not like Turks are in any position to call France out for free speech restrictions with Article 301. As a sovereign nation, France can do as they please, and seeing how happy it has made the Armenians here, I’m all for it.
RVDV… if you ask me a year in prison and 45,000 euros is not even close to what i would have passed for any TURK denialist who deny and distort the truth as we have seen and keep seeing on our pages every day.. this is too small of a price to pay …
I feel very good for this great news, I wish my grand parents were alive to have them celebrate it with us,I hope the rest of the world will follow up the France, many thanks for France parliament.
Now it is Armenian Parliament’s turn to criminalize corruption and bribery by public officials and civil service workers in Armenia.
Yerevan needs a “Wall of Shame” where citizens can post the name(s) of public officials accepting or asking for bribes to carry out their duties.
BRAVO FRANCE, You are courageous and on the side of human rights, unlike my weak country the USA. VIVE LA FRANCE.
BRAVO FRANCE, You are courageous and on the side of human rights, unlike my weak country the USA.
Kako if you are concerned that people think Turks only do evil then I encourage your government to share the stories of Turks who bravely helped Armenians during the genocide. Many Armenian families know such stories. But of course, to do this, you will first have to admit to the genocide. It is your chance to face the truth… A less polarized version may exist but not one that can spare Turks from needing to atone for what was done.
WELL SAID BOYAJIAN JAN.. WELL SAID.
Vurtzgernit gadar Hyortiner!
A Swedish production directed by Suzanne Khardalian, on Al Jazeera English eight times over the week of Jan. 11-18, occupying a prime time slot in all the key time zones.
A family story that reveals the fate of the Armenian women driven out of Ottoman Turkey during the First World War.
Re: Free expression
There are many limitations to free speech: copyright laws, libel, slander, and speech that calls for violence and genocide.
Denial of genocide consists of condoning and, by extension, calling for genocide. Therefore it is illegal under normal free speech limitations.
US Next In Line -Armenian Genocide in the US Capital-
It is not hard to tell what is going to happen next; I mean after the Armenian debate in the French capital.
It is the Armenian debate in the U.S. capital.
It is almost an annual custom in Washington DC, like the cherry blossom festival, heralding the month of April.
April 24 is the anniversary of a telegram by the Ottoman Interior Minister, Talat Pas,a who ordered the provincial governors and commanders - especially in the Eastern region to which the Tsarist Russian army was advancing - to forcibly deport the Armenian population, because an Armenian faction was collaborating with the Russians; that was in 1915, in the middle of the World War I.
Before and during that deportation campaign hundreds and thousands of citizens of Turkey under the Ottoman Sultanate were killed or died from neglect; not only Armenian Christians, Muslim Turks and Kurds as well. But it is that unfortunate telegram which caused the Armenian community deported from the Ottoman Turkey to ask from the Republican Turkey (who overthrew the Sultanate) to recognize that grand human disaster as a genocide and pay the dues.
Turkish governments’ attitude up until the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) could be summarized as: “Turks didn’t do it, Armenians did;” naive and could not convince most of the governments and parliaments who recognized the disaster as genocide.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan followed a different line, to acknowledge the human sufferings and trying to bridge political ties with Armenia as a goodwill gesture, but could not go all the way up; if you ask to advisers in Ankara it is mainly because of seeking to find a compromise from the opposite end.
So almost every February or March for decades, the Armenian lobby, which is among the most active in U.S. Congress when it comes to affairs with Turkey, finds a way to submit a bill to the House of Representatives in order to mark April 24 as “Armenian genocide day.” As of itself, it may only be a credibility blow to Turkish politics. But it is more than that; it has political and legal consequences. It is a fact that the Supreme Court has turned down a federal court’s ruling which said Turkey should compensate the losses of an insurance company’s clients due to the acclaimed genocide; the Supreme Court cannot make decisions contradictory to the state policies of the U.S., said the Supreme Court judges.
This is because it was President Barack Obama, like his predecessors who stopped the process at the Senate level with the justification of protecting U.S. interests in the whole region where Turkey lies. This important ally has been supporting many U.S.-led international operations from Afghanistan to Iraq, from Kosovo to Somalia after all, has been a “Plural democracy and free economy in a Muslim society” example for the Arab Spring and recently agreed to host a U.S.-operated NATO radar site as a vital part of a global Missile Shield system to which Iran and Russia react.
This is election year in the U.S., the Israeli lobby is not likely to support Turkey against the Armenian and Greek ones and Obama might have a more difficult time this year than before, despite declaring Erdogan among his best political friends.
Now, The Armenians Are Making Us Walk The ‘deportation March’
M Ali Birand
Let’s be realistic now.
Armenians are almost approaching the end in their genocide claims. They have made the world accept their claims by working continuously like industrious ants for 100 years. While they were explaining their pain and what they had to live through, we did not even discuss among ourselves what had happened. We buried our heads in the sand and have reached these days. We could not reply in a persuasive manner. We lost the case.
We are not aware but the Armenians are exiling us. This time they are making us walk the “Deportation March.”
They have lined us up in front of the international public and making us walk. They are replicating in a different way what we had done 100 years ago. Whichever country’s Parliament we are passing by, we are stigmatized as “genocide criminal” with our heads bowed.
Every time we are stigmatized, we are angry and have a fit, then after a while, we are calm again and act as if nothing has happened. Maybe we want to forget. Whereas this “deportation walk” we chose to ignore continues and it will reach its most important stop in 2015. According to Armenians, they will have the last word on the 100th anniversary of the genocide.
The genocide claims that have been accepted in the Parliaments of 19 countries will most importantly be passed in the United States Congress. After that, the others will come easily.
Now, you will see, the fight with France will be forgotten after a while; we will focus on other issues.
At this point, it is impossible to stop the course of events by writing books and filming documentaries. From now on, we should either take such bold steps as to surprise the international public and make them doubt the Armenian allegations or dare being stigmatized with genocide and start planning its measures beginning now.
What I wonder the most now is whether Ankara has any medium or long-term preparations on the topic, or whether or not there is a working group. If there is one, I will both be surprised and pleased. If there is not, I would not be surprised. I would just say, “Our typical stance” and bow to fate. But if protests and loud voices start after the inevitable, then let alone the international public, even I would not believe them.
Armenians will expose us as genocide criminals to the whole world with our submitted postures and also make us continue with our “Deportation March.”
Employ the 70,000 illegal Armenians in Turkey
Instead of solving problems with wise methods, we generally try to knock down the walls blocking us. It has always happened that way and we cannot abandon this habit of ours.
Here is the latest example: In order to confront the Armenian genocide claims, we are making threats which we do not know, in general, how much of it we can enforce. We utter harsh words. Some of us suggest apprehending the Armenian citizens who are thought to be around 70,000 working illegally in our country and deport them. This way, they claim, Armenia would be punished and those expatriated would react to Yerevan.
I am suggesting just the opposite. I am saying, “Let’s take a positive step, not negative.” Because extraditing 70,000 desperate people would inflict an even bigger harm on our country and make them say, “See, Turks are this brutal.” I suggest we should protect those people. These people are here because they are in a life struggle; they are working away from home. If we really want to create a lobby, let us issue long-term multi-entry visas to these people. Let us issue working permits. Moreover, let’s give citizenship to those who demand it. Then, you will see what real lobbying can attain…
If we can use our heads to take some positive steps, then our job will be much easier.
Turkey Prefers Fistfight To Legal Battle With France
I cannot recall any other example in the recent past of Turkish foreign relations in which relations with a certain country are connected to such a degree to just one person.
Turkey’s ties with France have now taken a unique character. Even if by some miracle the law criminalizing the denial of Armenians’ genocide claims fails to pass the Senate, it has become apparent that as long as Nicolas Sarkozy remains French President, it will be difficult to put Turkish-French relations back on track.
Sadly, not only relations with France, but also the fate of Turkey’s EU relations are tied to the presidential elections in France. An electoral victory for Sarkozy will strengthen the hands of those in Turkey that favor a drastic review of relations with the EU. Even if those who are favoring a break up with the EU fail to get the upper hand in Turkey, we will definitely see hibernation in Turkish-EU ties if Sarkozy’s electoral victory is followed by that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel next autumn.
So a “war of attrition” with Sarkozy will probably take its toll on Turkey’s relations with the EU as well.
And indeed, signs coming from Ankara indicate that yesterday’s vote was more important in terms of the consequences it will have on relations with France than the damage it might inflict on Turkey’s international position with regard to claims of genocide. The government is inclined to see this initiative as a hostile act towards Turkey. Ankara believes Turkey has become an expandable country in the eyes of Sarkozy. “We are not going to let France bully Turkey like that,” a high level foreign ministry official told me. His rhetoric reminded me of the atmosphere that followed the flotilla crisis with Israel.
In the case of Israel, in addition to sanctions, Turkey sought to confront Israel on international platforms, despite the legal risks of challenging the Gaza blockade.
In the French case, Turkey’s hand seems to be much stronger legally. French experts have told Ankara that the law would be considered unconstitutional by France’s constitutional court.
There is also the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Turkish citizen Dog(u Perinçek filed a lawsuit with the ECHR against Switzerland, as he was sentenced in 2007 for having denied genocide claims. There is a high likelihood that the ECHR will decide against the Swiss, arguing that the Swiss court verdict is against freedom of expression. Ankara fears, however, that in its verdict the Court might, for instance, say that there is general recognition that the 1915 events amount to genocide, which in turn might strengthen the hands of Armenians.
There is also the Taner Akçam case. The ECHR has already found Turkey guilty of launching an investigation into Akçam for having said that there was Armenian genocide. The verdict does not carry any judgment on the validity of genocide claims, as the court limited itself to the issue of freedom of expression. The Turkish Justice Ministry, however, wants to appeal that decision, saying the investigation was later dropped and that there was no conviction anyway. The Foreign Ministry wants to leave it at that, fearing that there might be a “road accident” along the way.
Such risks are making Turkey hesitant in resorting to legal means. Ankara prefers to present the case with France as an act of hostility, preferring fistfights to legal battles.
French Senate Approves Bill Criminalizing 'Genocide' Rejection
PARIS - Agence France-Presse
The bill was accepted by 127 votes.
The French Senate has approved a bill that criminalizes the rejection of Armenian genocide claims today.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their forebears were killed in 1915 and 1916 by the forces of Turkey's former Ottoman Empire.
France has already recognized the killings as a genocide, but the new bill would go further, by punishing anyone who denies this with a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($57,000).
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an accused France of hypocrisy and Sarkozy of pandering to the vote of France's estimated 400,000 voters of Armenian origin three months ahead of a tough reelection battle.
"I hope the Senate will not make France a country contradicting its own values," Erdogan said. "This is a debate which is entirely against the freedom of thought. This is merely a step taken for the upcoming elections."
Around 15,000 Turks from France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg rallied peacefully on the streets of Paris on Saturday to protest the law.
Turks and Armenians had gathered to stage demonstrations outside the Senate ahead of the debate, set for Monday afternoon, with police keeping them some distance apart.
Modern Turkey is extremely sensitive about the issue, and has accused France of attacking freedom of expression and free historical enquiry.
France-Turkey: What Went Wrong?
by Maxime Gauin
The Orwellian bill punishing the “denial” of the unsubstantiated “Armenian genocide” claims will be discussed at the end of January in the French Senate.
France is alone in such a case. However, France has the longest tradition of alliance with Turkey. It was the first major power to understand what Armenian nationalism really is, and as a result, to break its alliance with the Armenian committees after WWI and sign peace with the Kemalists, who even received weapons against the Greek invaders whose crimes were publicly denounced by French diplomacy in 1922, by order of the President of the Ministers Council Raymond Poincaré.
So, beyond the sui generis case of Nicolas Sarkozy, what went wrong? Having arrived en masse in France as soon as the 1920s, the Armenian nationalists secured, through a long-term effort, the unconditional support of a few dozen MPs. But this is not the main problem: The overwhelming majority of the deputies did not attend the vote of Dec. 22, 2011, chiefly because they did not dare to express their opposition to the bill.
The main problem is the Turkish immigrants in France are, as a whole, the less educated and the less organized in the West. For years, this community was rather neglected and received too little encouragement to organize itself. There are definitely improvements, but they are still ongoing and too recent to prevent the vote in the National Assembly or the principle of a discussion in the Senate.
Regarding the Armenian issue, virtually no scholarly book rejecting the “Armenian genocide” label was translated into French since 1991. In contrast, Kâmuran Gürün’s “Armenian File” was published in French in 1984, one year after the original Turkish edition and two years before the English edition. The resources of the anti-defamation French legislation, more protective than the U.S. one, were very rarely used against the hate propaganda of Armenian and Kurdish nationalists.
Regardless, the U.S. case can provide a certain inspiration. There was an absurd crisis between Ankara and Washington in 1974, when Congress decided, because of the Greek and Armenian lobbies, to forbid the sale of military weapons to Turkey. In large part because of that, the Assembly of Turkish American Associations was eventually created in 1979. The serious problems which took place at the beginning of the 2000s (Armenian resolution in 2000, Iraq War and its aftermath) led to the creation of the Turkish Coalition of America, Turkish Cultural Foundation and Turkish American Legal Defense Fund.
What the shared Franco-Turkish interests need, as does the value of free speech, are a similar and coherent strategy of organization, education and legal defense. That means a quick conclusion of the preliminary work to establish the Coordination Committee of Franco-Turkish Associations; an effort to diffuse widely the Turkish culture in France by stressing the old, historical ties; permanent structures of big business, politicians and others to fight anti-Turkish propaganda and bills; and a permanent structure of legal defense.
An opportunity to crush the Armenian nationalism in France was missed because the anti-ASALA legal cases from December 1984 to November 1986, remarkably managed, were incomplete; Jean-Marc “Ara” Toranian in particular, spokesman of ASALA from 1976 to 1983, now co-chairman of the Coordination Council of France’s Armenian Associations, was never sued for the glorification of crime and contempt of court. The current opportunity should not be missed: There is an exceptionally widespread exasperation, in the country of Voltaire and Diderot, against the special ethnic interests which advocate a drastic limitation of free speech and are damaging the relations of France with a rising regional power.
Maxime Gauin is a researcher at the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK-ISRO) and a Ph.D. candidate at the Middle East Technical University Department of History.
Mr Sarkozy's European Travesty by Sukru Server Aya
Compliments and thanks to Maxime for his scholarly essay. Unfortunately the "decay of political ethics and ego of some leaders to stay in power using all trickeries and lies" has brought the international stance of France, "Liberty, Fraternity, Equality" to an act of shameless World parody.
Personally, I think that the effort of Mr. Sarkozy to use the members of E.U. for his personal "election by charlatanism" will kick back. Yet, what will the French Senate do (since nearly all politicians are rotten and obey they leaders instead of logic and ethics) is to be seen. Needless to say that the inability of Turkey in the past four decades to cope with such abnormaltities in political manners, has brought the climax to this stage. What more regretable is the fact that the Armenians in Armenia "get a few words of support from France" but not an Euro to improve their "landlocked aggrevated situation". This time there is not even a "promise" from France, but Armenians in France and in the World are so desperate that even two ermpty words satisfy their thirst of identity of victimization!
I should like to remind readers of the below facts, "hoping that some Turkish representative authorities" will also take NOTE and ACTION for defamation or actual insult of Turkey by the French Legislature, contrary to known U.N. conventions.
(A) The following sentences are excerpted from Armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2005/12/486-60th-anniversary-of-genocide.html
P.832: "It is easy to see that the term genocide can be manipulated and adopted to suit particular agendas". At the same time the stigma that comes with allegations of genocide require that they are srutinised carefully and as, as the International Court of Justice reminded us, only the clearest cases will be considered as genocide."
P.843 : " Conversely, if an actor kills only a few members of a group, significant evidence will be needed to show the intent to destroy the group.
.... The definition of the crime requires an extremely high standard of proof regarding the mental element of intent.
P.846: " The establishment of a genuine and universal international criminal court in July 1998 at the Rome Diplomatic Conference, which adopted the definition of genocide in the Genocide Convention, is further evidence of the importance of the Convention. Since then the court has become a reality, and with it the possibility that an incumbent head of State could be charged wih the crime of genocide. A special rapporteur on the prevention of genocide was appointed for the first time by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2004. ... hybrid national-international courts (in Siera Leone and Cambodia) have taken action on genocide and brought perpetrators to trial."
QUESTION: Why Mr. Sarkozy does not go to the present International Court but wants to circumvent existing routine legal procedures? Isn't this cheating or charlatanism?
P. 849 "Sadly, formal qualifications seems to have become more important than the actual assessment of the gravity of the situation in the field of urgency of the measures to prevent and punish mass atrocities....
This brings us back to Tony l'humaniste. It is important to distingusih the legal definition of the crime of genocide (the contours of which remain controversial to this day before international tribunals) and the actual act themselves, which requires measures suitsable to protect victims....
... all too little is done to put an end to the ongoing Violations. At the end of the day the international comunity must be judged on the basis of action, not on its choice of terminology"
(B) From: Armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2006/04/610-group-mentality-expressivism-and.html (International Court Review 2, 93-43, 2002, p.93)
"Conviction requires proof that the victim was seen as belonging to such a group; that the victim was chosen because of perceived membership in a group targeted for destruction. This complex mens rea - this element of a group mentality - characterizes genocide and no other crime.
In recognition of this unique requirement, jurists have avoided giving the label "genocide" to atrocities of the last century."
(C) - Case T-346/03.
European Court reports 2003 Page II-06037
19. It suffices to point out that the 1987 resolution is a document containing declarations of a purely political nature, which may be amended by the Parliament at any time. It cannot therefore have binding legal consequences for its author nor, a fortiori, for the other defendant institutions
23. It is settled case-law that there must be a direct link of cause and effect between the fault allegedly committed by the institution concerned and the damage pleaded, the burden of proof of which rests on the applicant...
(E) Armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2005/07/10-armenian-leader-boghos-nubar-pashas.html (From letter of Nubar Pasha to French Foreign Affairs)
-- That the Armenians have been, since the beginning of the war, "de facto belligerents," as you yourself have acknowledged, since they have fought alongside the Allies on all fronts, enduring heavy sacrifices and great suffering for the sake of their unshakeable attachment to the cause of the Entente:
In France, through their volunteers, who started joining the Foreign Legion in the first days and covered themselves with glory under the French flag;
In Palestine and Syria, where the Armenian volunteers, recruited by the National Delegation at the request of the government of the Republic itself, made up more than half of the French contingent and played a large role in the victory of General Allenby, as he himself and his French chiefs have officially declared; ...--
CONCLUSION: It takes an unbelievable degree of character baseness not to know, or see or admit above documented facts and legal procedures but try to make the rivers of HISTORICAL TRUTH and LOGIC flow backwards. The French national ethics and global culture which is largely respected in the World and Turkey, will be ruined by this insest adultery committed in the highest office of any respectful nation.
Sukru S. Aya 12 Jan 2012
On the Criminalization of the Denial of Genocides by Ara Papian
Ramgavar Mamoul, 11th Jan 2012
There was a saying in my youth, “to swallow a Danish pill”, which implied to willfully accede to a position beneficial to another. Honestly speaking, I still don’t know to this day why it is referred to as “Danish” specifically. However, that some people have swallowed the Turkish pill today is quite clear. And what that Turkish pill comprises is something I do know, as, over the course of these recent discussions in the National Assembly of France, some have written and continue to write – among them even Armenians – that the criminalisation of the public denial of genocides is wrong, as that would mean limiting free speech and the right to have one’s own opinion. Since when has the protection of a criminal act been “freedom of speech” or “holding an opinion”? Go to Canada, for example, and publicly “express your opinion” that, say, black people or Armenians are filthy or lazy. You do know what they would do to you, right? You would end up in jail or be penalised in some other fashion for inciting “hate speech”. Declare in Germany that Hitler had his reasons for massacring Jews. Don’t deny the Holocaust; simply try to bring up some justification or basis for it. I believe you would know the consequences better than I do. Well, where is that “freedom of speech”, then? Or is that some people consider us Armenians more democratic than Canadians or Germans?
It is important to underscore a few key points in order to understand these current events. Genocide, including and especially that of the Armenians, is not simply something that happened in the past, a mere historical occurrence. It is the worst crime, “the crime of the crimes”, as juridical scholars put it, as it consists of a series of the most reprehensible criminal acts – murder, rape, child molestation, slavery, illegally depriving people of their freedom, pillaging or the destruction of the property of others, the annihilation or acquisition of objects of cultural value, etc. This crime brings up essentially the whole gamut of the penal code. Consequently, the public denial of a genocide is an attempt at the justification of a crime. It is, in fact, the encouragement of a crime, and that does not just imply being an accomplice to a crime, but committing a crime itself. I repeat: genocide is not a historical event, about which there could be differing opinions. It is a crime, and crimes can have only one response – punishment. And if it is impossible to punish, then one must condemn, one of the reasons behind which is to prevent the crime in future. Nothing encourages a criminal and motivates him to repeat a crime more than a crime that went unpunished.
I mentioned above that, “Genocide, including and especially that of the Armenians, is not simply something that happened in the past, a mere historical occurrence”. Why “especially that of the Armenians”? For the simple reason that the Armenian Genocide is the only genocide that is continuing, as the consequences of that criminal act have an ongoing nature. Let me explain. The perpetrators of all previous genocides have been punished one way or another, the victims have been compensated in whole or in part, and they continue to receive compensation, that is, the consequences of those genocides have been overcome to some degree. The Armenian Genocide is the only one where not only have the perpetrators not been punished or even at least condemned internationally (the acts of retribution carried out by Armenians cannot be viewed as “international”), but the genocide is still happening, as the consequences of the genocide are still in place. Armenia today has become subject to a blockade due to genocide. The Republic of Armenia has lost a significant part of its territory due to genocide, losing as well its access to the sea – so essential to the country’s development – and further living space, while also being rendered strategically far more vulnerable. A major part of the citizenry of the Republic of Armenia has a low standard of living today. There are numerous reasons for this, including domestic ones. But the external reasons are central to this matter, if not being essential to it. And the most important of those external reasons are the continuing consequences in place of the Armenian Genocide. And so, as long as the consequences of that genocide have not been eliminated, the citizens of the Republic of Armenia cannot enjoy a secure and prosperous life. Of course, some improvement can be achieved with proper management, but any such development would be very limited, unstable, and vulnerable. Any other discussions on the matter are either blatant propaganda for achieving power in the country or honest self-deception. The strength of the country – that is, the prosperity of its citizens – is a very material concept and it finds its basis on just as material concepts. Of course the regime is very important, and even has significance in the day-to-day, without which normal life would not be possible. It is like the yeast, without which one cannot have one’s daily bread. But if one does not even have the grain or the land on which one is to grow the grain, then the yeast becomes a luxury that soon grows rancid.
It must be understood that the recognition, condemnation, and the criminalisation of the denial of the Armenian Genocide are steps aimed at eliminating the consequences of the Armenian Genocide. And that is the case even more so now, where in France the attempt is a first to place the Armenian Genocide side-by-side with the Holocaust, with all the legal consequences that that would entail.
ASALA's Day in the French National Assembly
Maxime Gauin, JTW Columnist, 7 January 2012
“Inquisitorial, liberticidal and obscurantist” said Josselin de Rohan, then Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the French Senate, on May 4, 2011. The first censorship bill regarding the Armenian issue was rejected by an overwhelming majority of senators. For purely electoral reasons, Nicolas Sarkozy oversaw the vote of a similar, new bill on December 22. The text was presented by Marseille’s Deputy Valérie Boyer. The text was adopted, against the opinion of most French editorialists, from the social-democrat Jean Daniel to the conservative YvanRioufol, who are hostile to the draft, against the statements of prominent French historians including Pierre Nora, and also against the hostility of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Alain Juppé and “discontentment” of the Minister of Interior Claude Guéant.
As too often, Mr. Sarkozy acted without reflection and did not fear self-contradiction. And as usual for the Armenian bill, only fifty deputies attended the vote—not even ten percent of the total.
The Poisoned Gift
Actually, Ms. Boyer’s text is totally counter-productive, even in a strictly Armenian nationalist perspective. Indeed, it criminalizes the “denial” of the “genocides recognized by the [French] law.” Only one is “recognized”—the so-called “Armenian genocide.” Georges Vedel, one of the greatest French jurists of the twentieth century and member of the Constitutional Council from 1980 to 1989, devoted his last paper to demonstrate that the “law” of “recognition” (2001) has all the aspects of an unconstitutional bill. The bill further strays from constitutional principles in that it is purely a statement and devoid of any legal basis. In addition, the “recognition” violates the constitutional principles of non-retroactivity of laws and even more obviously the principle of separation of powers: in calling an event “genocide,” the Parliament acts like a tribunal for events concerning foreign, deceased people, which is forbidden. Robert Badinter, President of the Constitutional Council from 1986 to 1995, then Senator until September 2011, reiterated the point three times (the last one this December 22, 2011). Other important jurists did the same.
As a result, if the Boyer bill is fully adopted—which is hardly probable—the single concrete and direct consequence, for the Armenian activists, would be the cancellation of both the Boyer bill and the “recognition” bill by the Constitutional Council. Indeed, since 2008, there is an aspect of French law called the Question prioritaire de constitutionnalité (priority question of constitutionality). If you are sued in the name of a law, you can ask for the conformity of this law with the Constitution to be checked. There is not even a shadow of a doubt that such obviously unconstitutional texts would be censored. Turkey, or Turkish groups, could also sue France in the European Court of Human Rights.
Anything to Please the Terrorists’ Fan Club
The Wall Street Journal called the adoption of an Armenian nationalist-backed resolution in the U.S. Congress, in 1984, “ASALA’s day.” This label is also deserved for this vote. One of the staunchest supporters of the Boyer bill, Patrick Devedjian, was an advocate of ASALA from 1981 to 1984, and vehemently supported its terrorist acts. Jean-Marc “Ara” Toranian, co-chairman of the Coordination Council of France’s Armenian Associations (CCAF), was the spokesman of ASALA in France from 1976 to 1983, and the other co-chairman, Mourad Papazian, wrote several inflammatory articles in the 1980s to support another Armenian terrorist group, the JCAG/ARA—i.e. the group which assassinated the Turkish diplomat Yilmaz Çolpan in Paris on December 22, 1979. Mr. Toranian and other CCAF leaders call Turkey, if not the Turkish people, “the hangman.” The CCAF itself strongly supports the PKK, at least with words.
The speeches supporting the Boyer bill were a remarkable collection of absurdities, logical fallacies and half-truths. Many MPs, and the representative of the government, denied that the bill targets a country or even a specific “genocide,” which is denied even by the text of the bill itself, and by other interventions, making clear that only the Armenian-Turkish conflict is concerned. They added insult to injury in believing that any Turk, or any French historian, could believe such self-refuting justifications.
Michel Diefenbacher, President of the Franco-Turkish Friendship Group, saved the honor of the Assembly with a good speech, recalling that the bill is unconstitutional and is not improving, quite the contrary, Turko-Armenian relations. Deputy Jacques Myard denounced it as a “crime against thought.”
This dark event took place only for electoral reasons: Mr. Sarkozy wrongly believes that such a bill will significantly improve the number of his votes, and most of the opposition does not dare challenge this bill, fearing the loss of Armenian votes.
The Turkish authorities threatened economic reprisals—respecting the international law— and warned of bad consequences for the French culture and language. What else could they do? In 2001, the economic crisis had prevented the Turkish government from taking really dissuasive retaliation measures, and as a result it opened the way to the “recognition” by other parliaments; in 2006-2007, the promises that the bill would not be voted on by the Senate limited the harshness of the Turkish reply. Now, this is the very first time that such an anti-Turkish, liberticidal and unconstitutional initiative takes place through the sole decision of the President. Every rational person must hope to avoid a clash, but studying dissuasive reactions is a must for Ankara.
There are already some interesting, albeit insufficient, signs of fear from the French government’s side. Bernard Accoyer, President of the National Assembly and already an opponent to the bill, said that this text will probably not be adopted until the legislative elections (June 2012), at least because the government did not use the urgent procedure. It is not a secret that several senators are already preparing a new rejection motion for reasons of unconstitutionality.
This lamentable affair at least had the positive result of showing for the first time the importance of the Turkish population in France, including those who have the French citizenship. Between three to five thousand Turks demonstrated in front of the National Assembly; thousands of others were prevented from participating in the demonstration by the police.The recently created Coordination Committee of Franco-Turkish Associations published an open letter to the deputies in Le Monde, as a full-page paid advertisement.
It is now the duty of every person concerned for fundamental liberties in France to contribute to the defeat of several promoters of this Orwellian bill in June 2012, and to finally inform the rest of the French politicians. Enough is enough.
*Maxime Gauin is a French historian and a researcher at the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK).
Resisting Nicolas Sarkozy
by Maxime Gauin, JTW Columnist, 10 January 2012
The famous historian Pierre Nora accurately summarized the situation of the censorship bill regarding the Armenian issue: “We have lost a battle, but not the war.”
The government did not use the urgency procedure; but now, it is asking for the discussion of the Boyer bill at the end of January. Once again, this is an irrational position of an irrational president. Nobody should be surprised. At the end of 2011, Nicolas Sarkozy argued that from 2001 to 2011, despite the “recognition” of the “genocide” claims, Franco-Turkish trade increased 30%. Mr. Sarkozy seems unaware that at the same time, the Turkish gross domestic product doubled and its imports and exports multiplied by four.
In contrast to Mr. Sarkozy’s absurd stance, it should be noted that in 2006, when the first censorship bill regarding the Armenian issue was adopted by few dozens of deputies, a survey indicated that more than 60% of those interviewed were against the proposition of the law. In December 2011, a survey of the readers of the centrist daily Le Monde cited more than 80% of people being against the Boyer bill.
Such resistance, if not hostility, exists in every level, including the government and the administration. In its January 4 issue, the weekly Le Canard enchaîné has indicated that the minister of foreign affairs’ ire against the text of Ms. Boyer is shared by all the diplomats who are involved in the relations with Turkey. In a previous issue, Le Canard enchaîné quoted a private statement by Mr. Juppé: “This bill is intellectually, economically and politically bullshit [sic] which the words are powerless to name (cette loi est intellectuellement, économiquement et politiquement une connerie sans nom).” It is also widely apparent that Minister of Interior Claude Guéant, who tried for years to ease the tensions with Ankara, is “discontent” with this initiative, and that the Minister of Defense Gérard Longuet expressed his concerns about the consequences for the French military and defense industry.
Ms. Boyer was not even able to convince all the co-signatures of his draft to vote: About 50 MPs cosigned, but barely 36 voted for it on December 22.
In the Senate, the friends of Turkey and the supporters of free speech are more numerous. Gérard Larcher, president of the Senate from 2008 to 2011, and Christian Poncelet, president of the Senate from 1998 to 2008, are creating what they themselves call a “resistance front.” Mr. Larcher is a long-time friend of Turkey, who played an important role in the rejection of the previous censorship bill on May 4, 2011. He now wants to become the chairman of the Franco-Turkish friendship group in the Senate. The centrist senator Nathalie Goulet, supporter of Azerbaijan against the Armenian occupation, would like to be vice-chairwoman of the group, and is regardless already doing her best against the bill. Jean-Pierre Raffarin, prime minister from 2002 to 2005, currently a senator, expressed his criticism of Ms. Boyer’s proposition, and stated that if the bill remains fundamentally the same he would vote against it. Jean Bizet, chairman of the European Affairs Committee until September 2011, was on holiday until January 10 but also played a decisive, albeit discreet role in the vote of May 4, 2011, and there is no reason to believe that he changed his mind.
In the Socialist group, the Turks have unfortunately lost Charles Gautier, one of their best friends, in September 2011, but the group remains deeply divided. Its legal adviser recently wrote a memo explaining that any law which would punish the “denial” of the “Armenian genocide” allegation, especially the Boyer draft, would be necessarily censored by the Constitutional Council. Even a long-term supporter of the Armenian nationalists, Gérard Collomb, is concerned by the increasing number of French of Turkish origin who are registered on the electoral lists in his city (Lyon), and much less enthusiastic than in Spring 2011 to support the Armenian nationalist demands for censorship.
There were certain Turkish concerns regarding the position of François Hollande, the Socialist candidate inthe presidential election, but nobody should criticize him for that: During more than a decade, no serious effort was made by Turks or independent historians to explain the Turko-Armenian conflict to him. Unlike Mr. Sarkozy, Mr. Hollande never used any kind of anti-Turkish speech, even when he spoke together with the worst anti-Turkish Armenian activists. In 2011, Mr. Hollande cancelled his participation in the Dashnak-backed symposium organized in a school of management in Paris. In his last book, he writes that the negotiations between Turkey and the EU for membership must be “loyally carried out,” and that “whatever happens, we must not reject this great people. Europe needs them. They [the Turkish people] know that they are a unifying trait between two continents and several cultures.” Mr. Hollande adds that his views about the Armenian questions are “personal.” More recently, he denounced the Boyer bill as “electorally motivated.”
Regardless, contrary to the initial idea of the staunchest supporter of Armenian claims among the Socialist senators, their group listened this month to not only two representatives of the Coordination Council of France’s Armenian Associations, but also Demir Önger, President of the Anatolia Cultural Center (Paris) and main organizer of the Coordination Committee of Franco-Turkish Associations in the course of its creation.
The Franco-Turkish Chamber of Commerce launched a petition campaign which is already more successful than the one of 2006.
Another, recent event could influence the Socialist group. Jean Daniel, creator of the emblematic weekly of the French non-communist left, Le Nouvel Observateur, where he continues to write every week, criticized in December Ms. Boyer’s bill in the name of the liberty of speech; but now, in his last editorial, he challenges the “Armenian genocide” label more explicitly, arguing rightfully that the genocidal intent is “not at all proven” in the Armenian case.
In short, the current problem is a question of courage: Will the courageous opponents to the anti-Turkish and unconstitutional bill convince a sufficient number of senators to share their courageous stance and thus vote against the bill, like on May 4, 2011? The next events, after the presidential election, will also be a basic question of courage.
 http://www.lph-asso.fr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=164%3Aloi-sur-les-genocides-une-bataille-perdue-pas-la-guerre&catid=53%3Aactualites&Itemid=170&lang=en (English version).
 François Hollande, Le Rêve français, Toulouse, Privat, 2011, pp. 59-60.
The French Law: The First Stage
by Ömer Engin LÜTEM
A draft law foreseeing the punishment of the denial of the Armenian genocide allegations has been adopted by the French National Assembly on December 22nd. In order for the bill to become a law, it must also be adopted by the French Senate. Since the Senate is on holiday for Christmas and New Years, the earliest date which the bill could be addressed is the end of the first week of January. However, the general opinion is that the bill, which does not carry urgency, cannot be immediately examined and in fact, could even be taken to the agenda after the Presidential elections and maybe the Parliamentary elections to be held in June.
Opposite to the opinion in Turkey, the adoption of the bill by the National Assembly has not been easy. Despite almost everyone in France believing that an Armenian genocide has taken place, there is no consensus on punishing its denial. With the idea that this prevents freedom of expression, an active group consisting of well known historians and intellectuals opposes these types of bills. In order to escape the opposition of parliamentarians having the same idea, brining this issue to the National Assembly right before the Christmas and New Years holidays have been sought and the day to discuss it has first been set as December 19, but for it to be more guaranteed, has been moved to December 22nd, two days before Christmas.
Therefore, a group comprising a tenth of the Assembly and the majority of them being advocates of Armenians have adopted the bill with around 40 votes. Approximately ten parliamentarians have voted against. However, when considering that the law of 2001 which recognizes the Armenian genocide allegations was adopted by 52 votes and almost no one had opposed the bill, it could be seen that now, although small, there is a regression for the Armenians. On the other hand, this kind of game, which has been resorted to in order to prevent the majority of the Assembly to participate in the elections, has been criticized in some French newspapers.
In the Assembly discussions, those advocating the Armenians have underlined the importance of the punishment of the genocide allegations deniers. However, besides a small number of articles found on the internet, it seems there is no one in France openly denying these allegations since other laws also provide punishment on this issue. In this situation, the scope of application of this draft law is very narrow; in other words, there is an attempt to adopt a law which prevents freedom of expression almost for no reason. When examining more closely, rather than punishing the small number of individuals denying the genocide allegations, it could be understood that the real aim of the militant Armenians in France is to support among public opinion their genocide thesis, which has become a part of their identities, to put Turkey, which is in definite rejection of this thesis, in a difficult position, to “win against” Turkey and therefore, to achieve some kind of psychological satisfaction.
During the discussion of the bill in the French National Assembly, the rapporteur and other Armenian advocates have particularly underlined the following issues:
First of all, as a result of some well known historians and intellectuals opposing the laws condemning some past events in France on the basis that it prevents freedom of expression, it is alleged that this bill is not a “memory law” and the main purpose of the bill is to apply in France the framework decision of the European Union which concerns racism and xenophobia. However, this is not the situation. By developing a concept of “genocides recognized by law in France”, it has also encompassed the 1915 events which have not been recognized as genocide by any international court. In short, this bill is not a “memory law”, but the law of 2001 which it is established upon is a memory law.
The opposition of the historians and intellectuals which we have mentioned are quite important. If the bill is not adopted by the Senate, it will be owing to these historians and intellectuals rather than the objections of Turkey.
Second of all, it has been put forth that this bill does not concern Turkey. This is also not true. The bill is based on the law of 2001 which officially recognizes the Armenian genocide allegations that Turkey has definitely rejected. Therefore, this bill which foresees the punishment of the denial of the 1915 events as genocide obviously concerns Turkey.
During discussions in the Assembly, there has been a mention that Turkey has pressured France to prevent the bill becoming law and that it has threatened France with cutting off diplomatic relations and economic retaliations. Meanwhile, by expressing that the same threats were issued in 2001, but that in the following years trade between the two countries had increased, it has been mentioned that the same could also happen this time and therefore, Turkey’s reactions should not be overestimated.
Two points draw attention here. The first is that in addition to the works of Turkey’s Ambassador to Paris for the bill not to be adopted, contacts of the Turkish parliamentary group and TUSIAD group have disturbed the Armenian advocates and these contacts have been considered as pressures. However, it is quite normal for Turkish officials and organizations to convey their views to the French officials and public opinion on an issue which directly concerns Turkey. The second point is that there is no reason for Turkey to repeat its hesitancy which it has shown in 2001 for enforcing economic measures on France. On the contrary, there are indications that if the bill is adopted in the Senate, Turkey will set restrictions on its economic relations with France without contradicting its international commitments. Meanwhile, in articles in the French press, among Turkey’s possible reactions after the adoption of the bill, it has been seen that the French are concerned the most regarding the economic ones. These concerns are reasonable considering the economic difficulties still experienced in France.
The French Socialist Party is the architect of the law of 2001 concerning the recognition of the Armenian ‘genocide’ and the bill of 2006 in relation to the punishment of the denial of ‘genocide’. François Hollande, the presidential candidate of this Party is an individual who had stated in the previous years that Turkey could not become an EU member if it does not recognize the Armenian genocide allegations. However, the bill adopted on December 22’nd only being an initiative of the ruling party UMP has disturbed the Socialists and has created allegations that this bill is related to the upcoming elections. By indicating that they are against “memory laws”, some Socialist parliamentarians have already opposed the bill. It could be understood that during negotiations of the bill in the Senate, some Socialists will continue their opposition. On the other hand, it could also be seen that the adoption of the bill has created reactions among governmental ranks with Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, some ministers and parliamentarians being at the forefront.
Regarding Turkey, the Government and ruling party have adopted an opposing stance towards this bill. On the other hand, the main opposition parties, MHP and CHP, have given their full support to the Government. By not following this national consensus, BDP has continued its stance of advocating the Armenians. However, since this party represents a small part of the Turkish Grand National Assembly with only 4%, it is not possible for this opposition to create any results. Similarly, the marginal stance of some writers and columnists known for their support of Armenian views and described as “liberal intellectuals” have become more evident opposite to the consensus mentioned above. For this reason, some of those writers, although having continued their genocide allegations, have also opposed the bill.
Regarding Armenia, despite President Sarkisian officially conveying his gratitude to France for adopting the bill, it could be seen that the Armenian press has not showed much interest on this issue as expected. The situation is the same for the Diaspora press outside of France.
It has also been seen that reactions against the bill are not only confined to Turkey and some politicians and media especially in Azerbaijan have criticized France. Objections have also been received from the Organization of the Islamic Conference and criticisms against France have emerged in Algeria.
Regarding the European Union, by stating that the duty of the EU is not to write history, but to ensure compromise and the EU is a project aiming at peace, democracy, stability and prosperity in the continent, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Stefan Füle has indirectly criticized the bill.
The possible consequence of the bill also being criticized outside of Turkey is that other countries will be less willing to adopt laws which punish the denial of the genocide allegations by following in France’s footsteps.
After the adoption of the bill in the French National Assembly, Prime Minister Erdogan has announced the first measure which will be taken against France. These cover an extensive scope from the withdrawal of the Turkish Ambassador to Paris to the suspending of political relations between the two countries and cancelling of all visits. Since there is yet no law which has been adopted and the adoption of the bill in the French Senate is not a guarantee, it could be seen that the envisaged measures are rather restrained at this stage. However, it is obvious that harsher measures will be taken if the bill is adopted by the Senate.
In conclusion, it could be said that the first stage of adopting a law which punishes those denying the Armenian genocide allegations has been favorable to the Armenians in the French National Assembly. However, election considerations, Turkey’s strong reactions and the understanding that France’s interests in Turkey will seriously be harmed if the bill becomes a law and the bill preventing freedom of expression shows that it will not be this easy to obtain the same result in the second stage which is the Senate voting. In fact, it also shows that it is possible for the bill to be rejected or being hanged in midair.
Crisis With France And Armenian Diaspora Activities In The Light Of 2015
by Aslan Yavuz Sir
French National Assembly’s vote on Thursday of the law punishing the denial of the genocide is currently determining foreign policy agenda. Although deemed unlikely that the bill -now to be submitted to the Senate- would become a law before the elections, it could easily be assumed that this agenda is the result of political rivalries within the French political conundrum. Even if it arose from such internal political debate, it is still unclear that the bill would serve the purpose of increasing popular support for or the results anticipated by the UMP, Sarkozy’s Party. Studies reveal that voter partisanship is most prevalent in France, and is rarely changed by the pre-election campaigns. Other studies reveal that the political campaigns before the elections could have a politicizing effect on the electorate, but only to confirm, not to change the voter behavior during the elections. Thus Sarkozy and UMP’s attempts to increase their support before the elections could be misleading. Even if this is the case, considering the number of French citizens of Armenian origin, namely maximum 450000, and the total French electorate, 44.4 million registered voters, and any support that would come from that particular group could be insignificant. Some commentators claim that UMP and Sarkozy tried in fact to steal votes from the Socialist Presidential candidate François Hollande, former first secretary of the Socialist Party. He recently seems to increase his efforts to strengthen links with the Dashnaks and other Armenian associations. Considering the constant support by the Armenians to the Socialist Party of France and the disappointment with Sarkozy’s failed promises, passing of the law from the National Assembly by an absurd number of votes is hardly surprising.
Inspired by the crisis with the France, it is reasonable to assume that the foreign policy agenda in Turkey and all over the world are stuck with short term crises. A long term approach on foreign policy is underestimated, mainly due to short-term political gains. Even in the short-term, French politicians are now facing the serious sanctions by the Turkish government and even the French public is unhappy with the current condition. And in the long-term, it now becomes clear that the relation between both countries is hard to repair. Despite little direct involvement on their side, another Diaspora in a European country seems to gain a controversial success, and contribute –as always- to the crisis, not reconciliation.
Therefore, attempts against Turkey in the international field by the Armenian Diaspora have begun drawing much more attention more than ever. Despite the lack of awareness in the Turkish public opinion, the problems that would arise from the activities of the Armenian Diaspora in the near future could have more impact than any other temporary inter-state crisis. Thus, rather than only being a crisis between the two countries, this crisis once again displayed an example of the Armenian Diaspora’s anti-Turkey initiatives which it has intensified when 2015 is drawing near.
To mention some of the intensified activities of the Armenian Diaspora and Armenia:
1. Upon Armenian President Serj Sarkisyan’s directive and approval, a “State Commission for Coordination of the Commemoration Activities for the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide” has been established in April 2011. In this commission, Armenian authorities as well as representatives from the Diaspora have been included.
2. The “3rd Western Armenians” National Assembly”, long existing on the agenda of the Armenians in Europe, has been held in the city of Sevres in France in December 2011. The first two assemblies were held in 1917 and 1919. With this Assembly, it has been decided that a National Council of Western Armenians would be organized internationally to represent Western Armenians and initiatives against Turkey would be hastened before 2015. The most significant of these initiatives is supporting the works to determine the collective losses and damages of the “Western Armenians” experienced in 1915 as defined by the 2012-2013 Action Plan of the Council and forming an organization entitled “Armenian Forum of Lawyers” and filing action for damages in national and international courts.
3. Similarly, action for damages has been continuing in the US filed in 2009 against the Republic of Turkey and the Central Bank and Ziraat Bank of Turkey.
4. It could also be observed that attempts to form historical and legal basis for file suits in the US and elsewhere and possibly in the future have seriously increased through the support of academic research regarding Armenian properties, known particularly as “abandoned properties” in Turkey and among international academic circles.
5. Within the area of international academics, works directed towards the recognition of the Armenian genocide allegations such as meetings, seminars, conferences, and publication of books and articles have gained momentum. Within this framework, an agreement has been reached between the Armenian Film Foundation and the Southern California University Shoah Foundation Institute in April 2010 for the publication of works to be prepared with the recordings of interviews conducted with approximately 400 witnesses of “genocide”. Currently, works towards publishing the records found in the Armenian Archives Administration has also begun. Similar attempts to use oral propaganda are under way.
6. A project for an Armenian Genocide Museum, first started by the Cafesjian Foundation in Washington in 2000, but only began to be fully implemented due to various legal disagreements is planned for opening before 2015.
This short list comprises only a small portion of propaganda against Turkey performed by the Diaspora. As a matter of fact, Diaspora’s attempts towards the recognition of the genocide allegations in parliaments of foreign countries are still continuing. As the list shows, we are confronted with a much more serious crisis than a politically motivated French attempt against Turkey. Thus, new measures to counteract the Diaspora initiatives in the international arena – which remained unanswered- are necessary and inevitable.
France-Turkey: Perpetual Crisis
20 December 2011, by Ömer Engin LÜTEM
Although Turkey-France relations have occasionally normal periods -albeit short-lived- for approximately ten years, in essence they are in a permanent state of crisis.
There are two main reasons for this situation.
The first and most important is France insisting that Turkey cannot become a full member of the EU for not being a “European” country and openly displaying its opposition by preventing the negotiation of some “chapters” of EU membership negotiations. From this point of view, there is no difference between France and Southern Cyprus. Despite opposing France’s approach, Turkey has never reflected its opposition on relations in non-political areas with that country and this has given France the chance to pursue its objections to Turkey’s membership to the EU without much discomfort. On the other hand, numerous problems existing within the European Union have made the Union, for the time being not very appealing for Turkey.
The second issue has to do with France’s support for the Armenian genocide allegations. This support resulted in French recognition of the Armenian genocide through a law adopted in 2001. Turkey’s reaction to this law has been rather harsh in the emotional sense. However, since no sanctions have been enforced against France, relations between the two countries have returned to its normal course after a while and in fact, even somewhat have improved. Adoption of this law despite Turkey’s objections constituted an example for some other member countries of the European Union. As a matter of fact, adoption of resolutions which recognize the genocide allegations by the parliaments of Holland (2004), Slovakia (2004), Poland (2004), Lithuania (2005) and Germany (2005) followed the French case and encouraged by the ineffectiveness of Turkey’s reactions. The situation is the same for the Parliament of the non-EU member Switzerland adopting a similar resolution (2003).
After the adaption of 2001 law, the French Armenians began to demand new legislation for the punishment of the denial of the genocide allegations. After some hesitation, the French National Assembly has adopted a draft law in 2006 regarding this issue. The French Government’s clear opposition to this bill has prevented relations between the two countries to be negatively affected by this event. For this bill to become a law, it had to be adopted by the French Senate. However, the Senate has not taken the bill to its agenda for about five years. The main reason for this position was not caused by the objections of Turkey, but judging historical events by legal means and punishing individuals for that reason were severely criticized by intellectuals and historians in France. Last May, the bill has come to the Senate upon the pressures of the Armenians, but has been found contrary to the French Constitution. Thus the draft law has fallen off the agenda once and for all.
It could be understood that President Sarkozy played a determining role in the rejection of the bill by the Senate. It seems that the French President realized the fact that French opposition to Turkey’s EU membership has already created enough problems in relations with Turkey, that’s why he considered it necessary to eliminate the second problem, i.e. the draft law about the punishment of the Armenian genocide allegations, and in this regard used his influence on the senators of the UMP Party who previously declared the draft unconstitutional.
However, a single event has caused President Sarkozy to change his stance approximately five months later.
We had indicated that this year in May, President Sarkozy had prevented the adoption of a draft law in the French Senate which foresaw the punishment of the denial of the Armenian genocide allegations, but that around five months later, had changed his stance based on a single event.
This event is the Socialists obtaining the majority in the Senate during the by-elections held on 25 September 2010. Moreover, François Hollande, the former general secretary of the Socialist Party who had declared his candidacy for the Presidential elections (has now become an official candidate), stated that he will call upon the draft law to be readdressed if elected.
President Sarkozy, falling into a difficult situation with this development, has suddenly changed his stance and has visited Armenia only a week later with the excuse that he was paying a return-visit since President Sarkisyan had made an official visit to France at the end of September. During his visit, Sarkozy has declared that he will call on Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide allegations if not, he will support the draft law foreseeing the punishment of the denial of the genocide allegations. This way, he has tried to counteract the Socialists.
Sarkozy has continued to utilize Armenia’s card on this issue at later dates. Within this framework, upon his suggestion, with a lame excuse to attend the 20th Congress of the European People’s Party on December 7, President Sarkisyan has visited France (Marseille) again and in a speech delivered to the Armenians there, has stated “I would like to assure my compatriots that the recent visit of President Nicolas Sarkozy to Yerevan was a historic visit indeed, and no other state leader have spoken the words about our nation’s pains, related to the Armenian-Turkish relations and the Genocide, and we should be grateful to the wise President of this glorious country”. This way, he has implied that French Armenians’ votes should be given to Sarkozy.
The direct result of this “give and take” between France and Armenia is that the draft law, previously submitted to the French National Assembly foreseeing the punishment of the denial of the genocide allegations, is supported by President Sarkozy and most likely, will be adopted tomorrow. Thus, President Sarkozy will gain an extra point against the Socialists in the Presidential elections.
For France, the weak side of this calculation will be to lose Turkey while winning over the Armenians. However, it could be seen that President Sarkozy has no such worry and even if he does, does not put much consideration into it at the moment. The reason for this could be the thought that since many disagreements with Turkey already exists, especially concerning membership of the European Union, another one will not make much of a difference. Moreover, President Sarkozy could have remembered that there have been many reactions in Turkey particularly against the law of 2001, but despite mentioning retorsions, including suspending trade with France, boycotting French products and ending French education, no visible measure has been taken, perhaps with the exception of not including France in some military tenders, and relations between the two countries have continued at its normal course after some time. Despite the warnings of the Turkish Parliamentary Group, still present in France, that the adoption of the bill could create severe consequences, it is possible that President Sarkozy and his supporters do not give much importance to Turkey’s reactions since they believe that this issue, if not forgotten, will eventually lose significance on Turkey’s much loaded agenda. On the other hand, there is also the possibility that Turkey’s reactions will tried to be alleviated with the presumptions that it is not enough for only the National Assembly to adopt the bill, for it to become a law it must also be adopted by the Senate and that it will not be easy to gain the Senate’s approval.
French Historian Maxime Gauin: 'Mr. Sarkozy is Making a Miscalculation'
24 December 2011, By Nihal Cizmecioglu
Nihal Çizmecioglu: Sarkozy had blocked a similar law from going to the Senate from 2007 to 2010. What has changed since then?
Maxime Gauin: The thing that has changed is the perspective of the presidential election. The right was defeated in the Senate. It was the first time since 1968, and even before 1968, there was an anti-Gaullist coalition, from the communists to some of the center-right, led by the liberal Gaston Monnerville, and not a purely left-wing majority. This defeat showed the exasperation of many traditional center-right notabilities, who preferred to vote for socialist or liberal candidates instead of Nicolas Sarkozy’s party. It was especially clear in several rural counties. It is also quite possible that people like Patrick Devedjian played a role in this change.
More generally, you have to remind that Mr. Sarkozy is accustomed to quick changes of position, and without any strong apparent reason.
Nihal Çizmecioglu: Why is Sarkozy afraid of losing the presidential election? Is it because his image dimmed next to Merkel’s?
Maxime Gauin: Mr. Sarkozy’s party has lost the municipal and cantonal elections of 2008, the regional elections of 2010, and the cantonal and senatorial elections of 2011. There is increasing discontent, which started as early as the end of 2007, and actually never did dissipate. No other President of the Fifth Republic, i.e. since 1958 (before 1958, the President of France had a role of arbiter), was so unpopular during his first mandate. The reasons are numerous. In short, you can say that Mr. Sarkozy was never considered a good representative of our Republic because of his non-presidential style; that his achievements in solving the economic and social difficulties (even before the crisis of Fall 2008) are considered insufficient and frequently totally counter-productive and unjust (for example, the lowering of income tax for the wealthiest people, partially overruled in 2011); and that the accumulation of scandals since October 2009 (misuse of public money, Bettencourt affair, Karachi affair, etc.) were a kind of catalyst for the public’s exasperation.
Of course, the image he obtained recently with Ms. Merkel has something to do with his concerns. A loss of the AAA credit rating by France may soon be another important problem.
Nihal Çizmecioglu: You say in your op-ed that the bill is neither the result of Armenian nationalists’ influence nor the expression of a wave of anti-Turkish, anti-Islam sentiment. But Erdogan said that Sarkozy aimed at winning the election through Turkish and Muslim hostility. How do you interpret his words?
Maxime Gauin: There is no contradiction. The collapse of Armenian activism in France since 2007 is obvious. They have lost, without hope, any capacity to organize important demonstrations. Their demonstrations in front of the Senate in 2008 and 2009 were pitiful failures. One of their staunch supporters in Parliament, François Rochebloine (center-right) lost—in rather humiliating conditions—his seat of cantonal counselor in March 2011, and will possibly lose his seat of MP the next year.
It is quite possible, as Mr. Erdogan asserts that Mr. Sarkozy wants to win the election through Turkish and Muslim hostility, but in this case, Mr. Sarkozy is making a miscalculation. He seduced a part of the National Front’s voters in 2007, and that is one of the main reasons of his success indeed. But he did not seduce them with a specifically anti-Muslim, still less anti-Turkish, speech. It was rather with harsh promises about immigrants in general, the fight against criminality, and more generally the promise to change fundamentally political practices after a Chirac presidency which was perceived as bad for public morality (as you know probably, Mr. Chirac was recently sentenced to two years of jail, suspended because of his age and illness, for embezzlement). These far-rightist voters feel mostly disappointed, if not betrayed, but Mr. Sarkozy is wrong in believing that an anti-Muslim or anti-Turkish stance can attract them. Most of them are indifferent to that. Of course, they do not like the Turks and Islam (in general), but what they want are concrete results: the reduction of the number of immigrants and the crushing of criminal gangs.
In addition, whatever you think about the radical rightists in France, they are more coherent than Mr. Sarkozy: Most of them wish the liberty of expression be expanded, especially to speak about “those who are not like us” (immigrants). They can hardly advocate a limitation of free speech about a historical event which happened almost one century ago in a foreign country.
Nihal Çizmecioglu: Lastly, only about 70 MPs out of 577 participated in the General Assembly session. How do you interpret the majority of deputies being indifferent toward the subject?
Maxime Gauin: It seems to me rather simple. Most of the deputies are not favorable to Ms. Boyer’s bill, but they do not dare express their opinion—the UMP because Mr. Sarkozy is behind this proposition of law; the socialists because they believe wrongly that the Armenian nationalists are still dangerous during the national elections. An additional, secondary reason is that the vote took place only two days before the Eve of Christmas.
The French Parliament approved a bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide, and rendering it punishable with a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($58,000).
The French Senate is expected to vote on the bill in March 2012
minds which don't add up to one"
“If a person massacred in some part of Anatolia in 1915 could come back to life and reach Sarkozy, he would spit on his face and say Sarkozy was trying to score political gains through his pain,” Markar Esayan, a Turkish-Armenian columnist for the daily Taraf, yesterday wrote in an article titled “Sarkozy is deceiving the Armenians, too.”
Orhan Dink, the brother of the assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, also said he thought the motion ran counter to freedom of thought while speaking on a private broadcasting station he called by phone the night of Dec. 19.
“I have been witnessing the Turkish people’s efforts to face their history for the past 10 years. This decision is going to strike a blow to the process,” Esayan told.
Sarkozy is not being sincere, he said. France had already recognized the events of 1915 as genocide, he said, so, “What use is there now for another law that contradicts itself? This is a ridiculous proposal. Those who doubt themselves and the truth of what happened would regard denial as a crime, whereas Armenians are very certain of the agonies they went through. If Sarkozy is unsure, it does not concern us. It is not just the Armenian genocide but also the Jewish genocide that ought to be debated,” Etyen Mahçupyan, a Turkish-Armenian writer and a columnist for the daily Zaman, told the Daily News.
Turkish intellectuals are courageous and ready to pay a price for this, he said. “The word ‘genocide’ is now being used in this country. Turkish society has passed a certain threshold.”
Turkey ought to view its own past with greater candor, said Zakariya Mildanoglu, a writer for the history section of the Turkish-Armenian daily Agos, urging people to stop tussling over such terms as “genocide” and “massacre.” “Turkish and Armenian peoples ought to speak about 1915 by themselves,” Mildanoglu said. The law would entail a yearlong jail sentence and a 45,000 euro fine if passed.
As the French parliament is set to vote soon on a piece of legislation which would make denial that events occurring in Turkey in 1915 constituted genocide punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros, Turkey's Armenian community is uneasy about the development.
One prominent figure who voiced opposition to the bill is Orhan Dink, brother of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was assassinated outside his office by an ultranationalist teenager. “Similar legislation was debated in the French parliament in 2001 and 2006. My brother Hrant Dink strongly opposed it. This legislation completely violates human rights,” he said in a live television program on Monday evening.
Dink pointed out that Hrant Dink was convicted of violating Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), an article that has been criticized for stifling freedom of speech as it forbids insulting "Turkishness." “That's why he was murdered. It is natural for us to oppose that legislation in France. My brother was against it when he was alive. Even though he was murdered because of such a racist law, we have never felt hatred, and we are still against the [French] legislation because it violates human rights,” he said.
Dink also called on diaspora Armenians, saying they should object to the French legislation because it is an “insult” to them. “This pain should not be left in the hands of people who are in politics.
I call on my brothers, relatives, friends and people who share my pain; they should be against this legislation, be against this human rights violation. Don’t make our pain a tool to be used in politics,” he said referring to the events of 1915.
Armenians say 1.5 million Anatolian Armenians were killed in a systematic genocide campaign during the World War I. Turkey says the figures are inflated and insists that the killings occurred as the Ottoman Empire was trying to quell an uprising of Armenians, who revolted against Ottoman rule for independence, in collaboration with the Russian army, which was then invading eastern Anatolia.
In an apparent reference to Turkish accusations against France for ignoring its bloody past, Dink also said: “I want to send this message to politicians of both countries: Everybody should look at themselves in the mirror. A debate over who is worse than who will bring no result.”
According to academic Ohannes Kılıçdağı, it is obvious that the French legislation restricts freedom of speech because it requires punishment for people who deny that the events that occurred in 1915 in Turkey were genocide.
“Neither those who say that it was genocide nor those who say that it was not should be punished,” he said answering Today’s Zaman’s questions. “Penal codes should be differentiated from a mere expression of facts in order to share the pain of people who suffered as a result of what happened in 1915.”
Kılıçdağı also believes initiatives such as the one in France could negatively influence efforts to find solutions to problems between Turks and Armenians. “The ‘Armenian’ has a negative connotation in Turkey. Such initiatives would make it even more negative and increase tension. However, it is up to the decision makers to control those negative effects,” said Kılıçdağı who is the co-author of the report “Hearing Out Turkey’s Armenians: Problems, Demands, and Suggestions for a Solution.”
The study had stated: “The Armenian community, which has avoided visibility in Turkish society and which has isolated itself throughout republican history due to discriminatory policies and attitudes, started to raise its voice since the mid 1990s, and its demands for equal citizenship and respect for the Armenian identity reverberated in the democratization process starting in the 2000s.”As the emerging Armenian civil society started to make its voice heard in Turkey, they have also established connections with Turkish and Kurdish civil society.
Garo Paylan, a long-time leader in Armenian institutions in Turkey, said because of that interaction it was possible to organize an event in Turkey two years ago on April 24 to commemorate the 1915 tragedy. “It was the biggest news because Armenians, Turks and Kurds were there. If we are able to remember what happened, then there is no need for Sarkozy to use the issue in his dirty political games. As long as Parliament in Turkey is silent over the issue, others will use the issue for their own benefit, not to share our pain,” he said.
In the same line of thought, journalist and writer Markar Esayan indicated in his Monday column in the Taraf daily, that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is obviously after political gains considering that France is heading into a presidential election next year. “If a person who was massacred in a place in Anatolia in 1915 was able to be reincarnated and reach Sarkozy, s/he would spit in Sarkozy’s face and say, ‘You are making political gains out of my pain.’ But his or her grandchildren could not have such a clear stance because this is now a blood feud, and anything goes when it comes to striking out against the ‘other side’.”
Meanwhile, Turkey has threatened to withdraw its ambassador to France if the bill is passed, while Ankara has lashed out at Paris, saying the country should investigate alleged French abuses in Algeria and Rwanda instead. France had troops in Rwanda, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame has accused the country of doing little to stop the country’s genocide.
Ankara is continuing to ratchet up tensions with Paris over a proposed French law to criminalize denial of claims that Turkey's mass killings of Armenians before and during World War I constitute genocide.
Ankara, which rejects the charge of genocide and argues the widespread killings of its Armenian minority occurred during civil strife in which many Turks died as well, dispatched a high-level delegation of parliamentarians in a last-minute bid to lobby against the proposed law.
Historians say up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, and several countries recognize the killings as genocide. Under the proposed French legislation, denying the genocide would be punishable by up to one year in prison along with a $58,000 fine.
On Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a stinging attack on France, saying that no historian or politician can see genocide in Turkish history, and that those who do want to see genocide should turn around and look at their own "dirty and bloody history."
Relations between Turkey and France are already tense in connection with French President Nicolas Sarkozy's strong opposition to Ankara's bid to join the European Union. Erdogan last week reportedly sent a letter to Sarkozy warning of dire consequences if the legislation passes.
Diplomatic correspondent Semih Idiz of the Turkish newspaper Milliyet warns such threats should be taken seriously.
"I think it is serious, I think that the government will make a big issue out of this - [it] is not one that they can afford to let go by," he says. "In terms of public opinion, this is one of [the] most [touchy] of issues for Turks, and you cannot just take it lightly."
Opposition to the genocide claim is one of the few issues that unite Turkey's normally polarized main political parties.
The main opposition People's Republican Party is due to send its own deputies to Paris to lobby against the controversial legislation, and the leader of the National Action party, Devlet Bahceli, strongly backs Erdogan's tough stance against Paris.
With such cross-party support, the potential repercussions to French-Turkish relations are expected to be severe. Turkish officials have said their ambassador to France, Tahsin Burcuoglu, will be recalled if the French parliament passes the legislation.
International relations expert Soli Ozel of Kadir Has University warns that will be just the beginning.
"[They could] ban the French companies from all economic bidding," he says. "For the future, [they will] not give the French companies the light of day. And wherever they can block France, they will try to so."
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu summoned representatives of leading French companies to explain what is at stake for them. With Turkish exchange accounting for 2.5 percent of France's annual international trade, observers say such threats will have a limited effect. But the repercussions of a deepening dispute threaten to extend beyond France to the whole European Union.
"I think there is this negative potential, based on good information the Turkish foreign minister met with EU ambassadors and lashed out at them over this issue," says Idiz.
Foreign Minister Davutoglu has warned the European Union it has a responsibility to protect freedom of speech.
The ongoing crisis in Syria may also be affected. Despite strained relations, Paris and Ankara have found common ground in their opposition to Damascus' ongoing crackdown on dissent.
But the head of the Turkish Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Volkan Bozkir, warned in Paris that bilateral cooperation in the region would be significantly harmed if the legislation was passed.
brian of canberra
Well.....I would have thought that the Armenian genocide was a "left-wing" human-rights issue?.....
that was..until I read that there are 500,000 French/Armenian votes for the winning at election time!
Some things never change do they?
Not Set Not Set
The arrogance of the French government is amazing. They don't have an enviable record in Algeria where routine torture of Algerian independence fighters was rampant. It is amazing that the French government thinks it stands on the moral high ground that the USA is often accused off.
Jolly good of this generation of French to be concerned about a genocide that took place a century ago.
Yet when these same scoundrels had the opportunity to join with the Coalition nine years ago to actually stop a genocide--this one against the Kurds, which had claimed some 200,000 lives--what did they do?
Under Article One of the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide the responsibility of its signatories is clear: genocide "is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish."
Now that Chirac has been found guilty of corruption, let his failure to undertake the prevention and punishment of this genocide become a matter for the International Court of Justice. Let that Court consider all the evidence, including that of the bribes paid by Saddam Hussein to Mr. Charles Pasqua, Chirac's closest political associate.
When George Bush invaded iraq, he did not only bring an end to a 25 year slaughter which had claimed some 2-2.5 million lives, only a portion of whom were Kurds. He also brought to light the sordid hypocrisy and moral turpitude of France, and tht of much of the rest of Europe.
"We are all Americans now!," trumpeted Le Monde in 2001. Over the next few years, Mr. Bush showed the French why that could never be the case.
This is rediculus, who can dictate to anyone can not accept or reject the history?French is doping it for political gain, Sarkozy down on polls and he needs arMenian money and support,and economic crises hits Frence now more than ever so thy pick this as a campign issue, it is wrong
Writing rather making up the history and then denying those you retrospectively defamed and slandered the right to defend themselves or even put their version of facts must be a French thing...
Proposed law is in clear violation of the sixth title of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union that covers justice issues such as the right to an effective remedy, a fair trial, to the presumption of innocence, the principle of legality, non-retrospectivity and double jeopardy and as such must lead to expulsion of France from the European Union.
David Beck USA
What else to expect from the European colonial power, which once sought to carve out part of the Ottoman Empire inhabited by Armenians. This isn't about votes or somehow enforcing moral stance, it's about hypocrisy exercised over its own history. While calling Turkey to face its past, French authorities should really think about facing own presence, which can not tolerate Turkey or any other majority Muslim nation in Europe.
Break Or Save Franco-Turkish Relations?
A new bill criminalizing the “denial” of the unsubstantiated “Armenian genocide” claims was introduced in the French National Assembly with the barely implicit support of Mr. Sarkozy.
The co-chairmen of the Coordination Council of France’s Armenian Associations, namely Jean-Marc “Ara” Toranian, former spokesman of the terrorist group ASALA, and Mourad Papazian, unrepentant sympathizer of another Armenian terrorist group, the JCAG/ARA, did not expect that anymore, at least not in 2011. The level of knowledge of the MPs supporting the bill is exemplified by Richard Mallie (UMP), who still uses the crude forgeries of Aram Andonian that have been proven to be fakes since 1983
The bill is not the result of the Armenian nationalists’ real influence in France; on May 4, 2011 they suffered a humiliating “fiasco”(this is their word) in the Senate after several other failures to obtain any discussion of the old, now defunct, criminalization bill (2008, 2009, 2010). The new bill is not the expression of a wave of anti-Turkish, or still less, anti-Islam sentiment. The Turkish season (2008-2009) in France was a success. According to a recent Gallup survey, 64 percent of the French have a good opinion toward Islam. There is indeed nothing in France like the Protestant fundamentalism in the U.S. and Germany or the vehement anti-Muslim and anti-Turkish demagogy of the so-called “Party for Liberty” in the Netherlands. The French colonial tradition, despite obvious shortcomings, was pro-Islamic and even largely pro-Turkish. The background is so completely different.
In a sense, the reasons for the bill are sadder than that. Mr. Sarkozy is afraid – not without reason – of losing the presidential election and as a result is ready to do anything to obtain more votes. His initiative is a serious error, even in a strictly electoral perspective. Assimilation leads many French Armenians to vote out of ethnic considerations. Even the majority of the nationalist activists and sympathizers vote traditionally for the same party because they prefer to show an electoral fidelity with the hope of being awarded – at least by subventions – for their associations.
So, the oldest alliance still existing in the world – the alliance of François I and Süleyman the Legislator, perpetuated in 1921 by the Ankara agreement and again in October 2011 by the Franco-Turkish agreement against terrorism – is not jeopardized by prejudices but prejudices toward prejudices and in addition toward the personal ties of a few dozen Armenian activists with a few dozen MPs. Similarly, the blog opened on the website of Le Monde by the author of this article was censored because of Armenian pressure. This is merely the result of social intercourse of a few Armenians with one or two editors. The failure of French Turkology to produce works comparable to the ones of Edward J. Erickson, Guenter Lewy and Justin McCarthy, or the passivity of most French Turks until very recently, also has something to do with the problem.
But this is not the time for a blame game. Political irresponsibility can provoke irreversible damages in the context of the Arab Spring – especially the repression in Syria, which makes Franco-Turkish cooperation so desirable – and the unresolved problems in the Caucasus. The French language was studied in Turkey for decades, but especially since the “recognition” of 2001 there has been a dramatic decrease, and that is why this text is written in English. The “recognition” of the “genocide” claims and the irresponsible statements of Mr. Sarkozy about Turkey cost France many contracts and its place in Nabucco. The vote of the liberticidal bill would still be worse. Even if it has nothing to do with any deep anti-Turkish and anti-Muslim feelings in France, the vote on the censorship legislation proposal would be interpreted like that by many Turks and not only by the less educated people.
Armenian nationalism has been used since its revival in 1965 as a tool by powers which have agendas other than European – or more generally Western – unity. Alas, it is also helped by the miscalculation of some Western politicians. As a result, the French deputies have a heavy responsibility. They can choose to damage irremediably the relations with a rising regional power and as a result seriously hurt the European Union policy, the French economy and their prestige and diplomacy. They can also choose to prefer French and European interests, as well as the value of free speech, to the cries of former supporters of Armenian terrorism.
*Maxime Gauin is a researcher at the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK-ISRO) and a Ph.D. candidate at the Middle East Technical University department of history.
dogan kemal ileri 12/19/2011
Bravo Maxime you are spot on with your analysis.Turks have nothing other than admiration for French people and it pains us to see that the majority of good people in France are conspicious by their silence against what Sarkozy is proposing against us
Murat E 12/19/2011
Maxime, I am familiar with your work from other platforms and appreciate your candor and efforts. Still, as you can see better than most, this is hardly about facts and evidence, but about politics and myths.
Earlier Post by Maxime GauinAlain Juppé Showed the Right Way to Solve the Armenian Question
Maxime Gauin, JTW Columnist, 24 November 2011
The visit of French Minister of Interior Claude Guéant to Ankara was somewhat tainted by the inopportune statements of Nicolas Sarkozy in Yerevan. The visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs Alain Juppé in Ankara was a turnaround. Not surprisingly, Mr. Juppé reiterated the full solidarity of France against PKK terrorism (materialized by a bilateral agreement, signed by Mr. Guéant and his Turkish counterpart). Less expectedly, he nuanced the opposition to the Turkish candidacy to European Union. The main event, however, washis proposition that France host a joint Turko-Armenian history meeting. Mr. Juppé avoided assuming the unsubstantiated “genocide” label, and more generally, showed a height and depth of analysis which appeared very rarely in the statements of politicians regarding the Armenian question. Only the statements of the British government can be compared to this speech.
Mr. Juppé said that “France has no lesson to teach,” and that “the events of 1915” were “a very painful period for Turkey, for the Turks, but also for the Armenians.” This can be the translation into diplomatic language of the findings made by U.S. investigators Emory H. Niles and Arthur E. Sutherland: “We believe that it is incontestable that the Armenians were guilty of crimes of the same nature against the Turks as those of which the Turks are guilty against the Armenians.” He repeated the approbation by France of the idea to create a historical commission on the Turko-Armenian conflict, and added: “if Paris could welcome such a meeting to at least start the dialogue, I think it would be an extremely important step.”
Unexpected due to his importance, Mr. Juppé’s intervention is actually not so surprising. In the 1990s, as an emergent leader of the French right and center-right, Mr. Juppé fought tirelessly against the alliances negotiated in the 1980s with the National Front (co-governance of cities, regions, and counties, mutual support for the legislative elections), and even obtained, in 1998, the exclusion of leaders who had saved their position thanks to the support of the National Front. Contrary to a legend forged by some of his supporters, Jacques Chirac was initially not excited by the idea of breaking the alliances between the moderate right and the National Front. As a result, Mr. Juppé even had to fight against the reluctance of the leader who launched his political career. Mr. Juppé is still continuing to fight against the infiltration of extremist ideas, in a difficult context.
So, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is more or less accustomed to defending—with a certain success—dissident and more reasonable views, instead of following the mainstream. There are other reasons with which to explain this initiative. Having graduated from two of the most competitive superior schools of France, Mr. Juppé knows and likes Turkey since the 1970s, and he has had experience in international relations since then, and already assumed his current position from 1993 to 1995. His experience has few things in common with the one of Mr. Sarkozy, who came from Neuilly-sur-Seine, the second-wealthiest city of France where any conservative candidate would be elected, to the presidency.
It is not for politicians to decide what the appropriate label of a past event is—it is the job of historians. Since the Armenian issue was politicized since the very beginning, in 1965 by the joint action of Soviets, Greeks, Greek-Cypriots, and Armenian nationalists, a purely scholarly response is an illusion. So, the role of the political leaders is to protect free speech and scientific research. This is exactly what Mr. Jupppé suggested.
On the other hand, to fulfill such a proposal, it would be necessary to abandon forever the meaningless attempts to legislate history, i.e. to forget the proposition of criminalization and to put the “recognition” bill in front of the Constitutional Council, which would necessarily censor it. The bill of January 2001 is unconstitutional and does not bind the French government—Mr. Juppé’s declaration is new proof of that.
In conclusion, Mr. Juppé’s proposal must be supported, not only by the French citizens of Turkish origin, but also by anyone concerned for free speech, the liberty of historical research, and the preservation of common European interests against ethnic lobbies and the various powers which have agendas other than European unity.
 Georges Vedel, ‘Les questions de constitutionnalité posées par la loi du 29 janvier 2001,’ in Didier Mauss and Jeanette Bougrab (ed.), François Luchaire, un républicain au service de la République, (Paris : Publications de la Sorbonne, 2005), pp. 37-61.