It would be funny if it weren’t genocide denial… okay, maybe it’s still funny.
Turkish EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis, clearly a genius, challenged France while he was in Switzerland by stating publicly:
“We are today in Switzerland and I am saying the 1915 incidents were not a genocide. Let them come and arrest me,”
What is funny about this is that the French law is not on the books at this point, but guess what, Switzerland’s is! This chicken appears to have been ignorant of that fact, and was trying to posture by denying the Armenian genocide outside of France’s borders.
Swiss prosecutors have launched an initial investigation to see whether Turkey’s EU minister breached the law by denying that the mass killings of Armenians a century ago were genocide. Under Swiss law it is a crime to deny that the killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians during World War One constituted an act of genocide.
Egemen, there’s a saying in English… be careful what you wish for.
The French Parliament again passed a bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide. Five years ago it passed a similar bill which did not pass in the French Senate. Now again we’ll wait to see if it passes in the French Senate in order to become actual law. It is already against the law to deny the Jewish Holocaust.
Five years ago, and once again today Turkey made a lot of threats and had a massive temper tantrum. This of course causes massive publicity for the bill, and brings a great deal of free publicity to the facts of the Armenian Genocide, and exposes many new people to this once forgotten chapter of history.
Some argue that this limits free speech, but let me point out the following facts before you decide.
- It is already against the law to deny the Jewish Holocaust in France
- Hate speech not protected in many “free” countries, and genocide denial is certainly hateful
- The Armenian Genocide and Jewish Holocaust have both been subjected to international campaigns of denial. The former run by the Turkish Government and the latter by Neo-Nazi groups.
- For years the efforts of the Turkish government achieved great success in squashing all public discourse or recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
- The eighth stage of genocide is widely accepted to be the stage of denial. Therefore, I feel strongly that to deny a genocide is to contribute to the last stage of genocide. In other words, Genocide denial is an act of genocide, and is technically already against the law in any country that accepts the genocide convention.
I appreciate this step by the French. It is disgraceful that Turkey continues to deny this chapter of history, and this type of bill will slowly help them recognize that the costs of their hateful denial are actually higher than recognition.