Thursday, January 26, 2012

French Senate Passes Law on Genocide Denial

The French Senate (above) voted into law a bill that makes denial of the genocide of the Armenians by the Turks a crime. The result has been a flood of commentary, recriminations, congratulations, and questions over the consequences of this new law.

I repeat for the hundredth time that I sympathize fully with the cause of the Armenians, and with their current concerns over the presence of Turks in Europe. But I do not support this law. It means that while many people on a daily basis, in the ghettos and in the Turkish neighborhoods will shout anything they please with impunity about the Armenian genocide, if one white European happens to say something against the Armenians and gets caught he risks a jail sentence or a fine. Such laws are not enforceable. The Gayssot law, which forbids denial of the Holocaust of WWII has not been enforceable for this reason and it has increased the animosity towards the Jews about whom, it would appear, one cannot say anything negative, especially with regard to the Holocaust.

These laws do not bring back the dead, nor do they honor the dead in any way. They are a political expedient in response to demands from the "oppressed" minority or they bolster the image of the government in the eyes of the world. Sarkozy's government is tough, it pulls no punches, it will put you in jail if you deny the genocide. But if you are a North African immigrant, and you decide to burn a few cars, rape a few girls or throw rocks at the police you will receive a slap on the wrist and maybe even some money to go back home to Algeria where you can deposit the money and then return to France through the open-door policy currently in use.

Here is a slightly condensed report from France-Soir, which summarizes the basic information. There may be an attempt to repeal this law through the Constitutional Council:

The outraged reactions grew steadily in number in Turkey on Tuesday after the voting the night before by the French Senate on a bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian genocide under the Ottoman Empire. At the same time, Paris appealed to Ankara to remain calm.

The weekly speech by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the deputies of his party was expected to give more details on what type of sanctions against France were being considered.

After the Turkish Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin, denounced "the total lack of respect for Turkey", the Foreign Minister "strongly condemned" on Monday night an "irresponsible act" on the part of France.

On Tuesday, Labor Minister Faruk Celik called Nicolas Sarkozy, who supported the bill, as an assassin of History:

"Sarkozy will go down in History as the man who massacred History"

The Turkish press was unanimous in denouncing blow dealt by France to freedom of opinion:

"Shame on you, France" was the headline of the popular daily Vatan. "France, where the ideal of freedom was born, has dealt the unkindest blow to freedom of expression. By passing the law on denial of the genocide, she has renounced her past."

"President Sarkozy turned his back on freedom and on Turkey, in exchange for a few votes", proclaimed the popular paper Posta.

The widely read paper Hürriyet ran as its headline "He massacred democracy", next to a photo of the French president.

Two papers usually in opposition to each other, the very secular Cumhuriyet and the conservative Islamic Zaman joined voices on Tuesday to denounce "French justice" and an "historic shame" respectively.

These reactions prompted Foreign Minister Alain Juppé to appeal to Turkey for "calm".

"I would like to appeal to our Turkish friends to remain calm and I extend my hand to this "great country, this great economic and political power", declared the minister on the Canal Plus television channel.

The Senate ratified on Monday night a bill already passed through the National Assembly on December 22 that punishes the denial of all genocides recognized by France, including that of the Armenians in 1915, with one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros.

Turkey refuses the term of genocide, all the while recognizing that massacres were committed and that some 500,000 Armenians perished in Anatolia between 1915 and 1917. The Armenians speak of 1,500,000 dead.

Turkey accused the French president of trying to win over the voters of Armenian origin before the election scheduled for this Spring.

After the vote in the National Assembly, Mr. Erdogan had reacted very angrily, freezing political and military cooperation with France, its ally in NATO, and denouncing a "genocide" committed by the French colonists in Algeria. (…)

New sanctions against France may not be announced until after the promulgation of the law, if indeed it is ratified by the French Constitutional Council, according to the widely distributed daily HaberTürk, quoting sources from within the AKP Party after a meeting Monday night. These sources indicate that Mr. Erdogan has declared his intention not to visit France again, if the law is ratified, so long as Mr. Sarkozy is in power.

Note: In France a law passed by both houses has to be "promulgated" or ratified by the President of the French Republic within two weeks. Only then can it be executed. However, if there is a question about the law, the Constitutional Council must rule on its constitutionality before the President "promulgates" it. If the Council gives the OK, Sarkozy will ratify the law and from that point on it must be executed.

While some say he did this to win Armenian voters, it is more likely he did it to win other voters as well - all those who believe such laws are a sign of the high moral principles of France and her leader. And this may be a substantial chunk of the population.

It will be very interesting to see what Turkey does, and how France tries to soothe the outraged "great" nation.

Below, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

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At January 26, 2012 5:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a gesture of symbolic significance , morals and justice. Even though the law is not enforceable ( there are many many laws which are not enforceable)the fact that it has been passed is an acknowledgement and recognition of a historical crime of monumental dimensions which have gone unpunished, unrecognized, ignored, negated , and willfully distorted by the perpetrators of the crime. No white man will be arraigned in a court of justice for abusing this law. Laws are not enforceable because of lack of political will. The law is also an indirect message to the turks to look at their own history and acknowledge the unspeakable crimes of their forebears. In second instance the turkish reaction, the political reaction has been crass, banal, and idiotic. They resorted to threats and bluster against the French state. They want to influence the French state not through reason, facts or veracity, but threats , intimidation and a menacing string of sanctions ? This is hilarious if it was not serious. But nothing will come out from the turks. The time will come when turkey will have to face her nemesis and acknowledge her past crimes, that uprooting and wiping out a three thousand year old race from its ancestral homes constitutes nothing short of genocide., and not " just a tragic experience" Small but symbolic steps and measures such as the one adopted by the French senate contributes in a small measure to increasing the mental awareness and the motivation for the government in turkey to come to its historical senses. Turkey will not acknowledge , nor recognize its genocide of armenians unless its " western partners" lead them to it.

At January 26, 2012 2:51 PM, Blogger tiberge said...

@ anonymous,

OK. I understand your view, but laws cannot be symbolic. They are real, and somebody can always use them for some particular end. It is not the job of legislatures to tell people exactly what they can or cannot say. This will only exacerbate the already intolerable situation in France regarding the freedom to shoot your mouth off even if the words are not what your interlocutor wants to hear. If an Armenian is free to say the genocide existed then a Turk has to be free to say it didn't. The historical truth can be dealt with in other ways - in the classroom, in television and cinema documentaries, on talk shows and news reports, in books, on the Internet. As a symbol there could be a statement (NOT A LAW) from the French government regarding its position on the genocide. But to make the expression of a few words a crime is a step towards absolute tyranny over everything we say. Suppose in America we were no longer allowed by law to even question some of the allegations about the Native Americans or slavery in the South or our Asian wars, etc... All emotional issues. But we have to be free to talk. Bad ideas have to be refuted, but not through legislation.

At January 26, 2012 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My concern is what the Turk with the rest of the islamic world, are capable of.

With no resistance from the West, how far could islam go in wiping out the existence of the Armenian people? We're talking long term here.

I imagine, that the strategy would be to keep denying the genocide, and at the same time working on making disappear the importance of the Armenian people.

By infiltration islam is working everywhere to wipe out Christianity, with horror and barbarism in places like Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, and with smaller steps in Europe, but always with the goal clearly defined.

When a people is losing its identity, what is then left?

To the Armenian people I see a terrible permanent insult in denying the genocide.

It happened so recently in history, that many Armenians of today have parents and grandparents who were touched. It must be a personal insult to hear muslims, and in particular Turks, pronounce that there was no genocide.

I don't have the solution, but if the new law could help acknowledging that there was a genocide, I think it is a good thing.

At January 26, 2012 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to add, in agreeing with you, tiberge, that it is absurd to have laws about what we can and cannot say, that we're not in a normal situation

The situation is that islam is infiltrating everywhere to advance their totalitarian ideology, and we need to protect our sivilization against this totalitarian ideology with every means possible.

At January 26, 2012 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These sources indicate that Mr. Erdogan has declared his intention not to visit France again, if the law is ratified, so long as Mr. Sarkozy is in power.

erdogan won't be missed lol

Turkey refuses the term of genocide, all the while recognizing that massacres were committed and that some 500,000 Armenians perished in Anatolia between 1915 and 1917. The Armenians speak of 1,500,000 dead.

racist turks genociding another race (armenians), turks aren't from anatolia. turks should go back where they came from!

At January 26, 2012 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the countries who have not yet recognized the genocide is Norway

This is quite remarkable, as the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen was involved in helping Armenian refugees by giving them the so called Nansen passport.

Nansen was later awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize for his work

At January 26, 2012 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Roman Emperor Antonius Pius thought
- given a crown by Vologèse II

From the Eastern-most part of the Roman empire, covering today's Armenia and Iraq, at the time when Antonius Pius became emperor in 138, the king Vologèse II decided to honor the new emperor by crowning him

- Nothing good can come from this versatile and hypocrit Orient. Today this Persian gives me a crown, but tomorrow he sends assasins or may declare a war on me

At January 28, 2012 4:30 PM, Blogger Arius said...

The Turks killed most of my family in 1915 and 1.5M Armenians. The West used us in WW1 then cut us loose after the war with the Turk army re-advancing and slaughtering into Armenia. We have waited nearly a hundred years for justice.

At February 01, 2012 12:15 PM, Blogger Gaius Sempronius Gracchus said...

Shot themselves in the foot trying to look PC about Armenia and brave against Islam at the same time.

Just a silly idea.

All their other silly PC laws about Holocaust denial and hate speech set a very bad precedent.


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