Armenian circles exerting pressure on intellectuals in France regarding 1915 events: French historian
Historian Maxime Gauin, who was engaged in a lawsuit with Armenian spokesmen due to his arguments concerning the events of 1915, has said Armenian circles have been exerting pressure on intellectuals in France regarding this issue.
“Many people working on Turkey in France can get scared just because they are insulted. After they are insulted they stop saying anything,” he told Hürriyet Daily News, urging historians studying Turkey in France to stand astutely.
Citing his case, Gauin said: “If you show yourself by acting against or sue them soon or later they become less aggressive.”
Radical Armenian circles in France have been active in France since 2006 to restrain the views opposing the characterization of 1915 events as “genocide.” Although the French Constitutional Council decided directly in 2012 and 2017, and indirectly in 2015 that these initiatives were unconstitutional, radical circles continue their efforts in this direction.
The case of Gauin is exemplary regarding the recent attacks by radical Armenians on freedom of expression in France, discrediting academicians and efforts to intimidate the scientific studies on events of 1915 which contradicts their arguments.
Gauin has filed a libel suit against Ara Toranian, the editor in chief for the magazine who was spokesperson on behalf of Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) between 1976 and 1983 and co-chair of Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations in France, and author Samuel Tilbian, regarding the insulting elements published in French magazine Les Nouvelles d’Armenie’s website.
The 17th Penal Chamber of Paris Court of Appeal ruled on Nov. 28, 2017 to release Toranian and Tilbian on the grounds that no harm were done while acknowledging the defamation aspect of the forenamed expressions.
Upon Gauin has filed for an appeal, his hearing took place on Feb.21. Gauin said they will have a verdict on March 28.
Gauin continues his doctoral studies in Ankara-based Middle Eastern University (METU) department of history concerning the activities of French in southern province of Adana and its region in World War I and the Turkish War of Independence and the Armenian legions in the same region.
Many world-known scientists such as Bernard Lewis, Standford Shaw and Justin McCarthy had also been subjected to similar smear campaigns just like Gauin.
France officially recognized the killings as genocide in 2001. But later efforts to prohibit the denial of the categorization 1915 events as genocide were disapproved by the French constitutional council.
Turkey accepts many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War I, but says the figures are inaccurate and denies the killings were systematically orchestrated. It rejects to use of the term “genocide” and says many Muslim Turks were also killed at that time.