French judge assures Gül over ‘genocide denial’
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Debré paid a low-profile visit to Turkey last week and held a meeting with President Abdullah Gül on Feb. 14. AFP PhotoThe head of the French high court, Jean-Louis Debré, has assured President Abdullah Gül that the French Constitutional Council’s decision to annul the bill penalizing the denial of Armenian genocide is a permanent one and will not change, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.
Debré paid a low-profile visit to Turkey last week and held a meeting with President Abdullah Gül on Feb. 14 along with his Turkish counterpart Haşim Kılıç. The visit and messages issued by the French judge has particular importance on the eve of Armenian diaspora’s preparations for the mass commemoration of the 100th year of the Armenian genocide. Turkey does not recognize the mass killings of Armenians as genocide.
French Judge made his assessment on French lawmakers’ attempts to penalize the denial of description of 1915 mass killings of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Empire as genocide and the French high court’s annulment during his meeting with Gül. The annulment of the bill by the Constitutional Council avoided a major crisis between Turkey and France in 2012.
According to the information the Daily News has gathered, Debré stressed that the high court’s decision is nothing to do with the 1915 events and does not question France’s recognition of the Armenian genocide. It’s not either examining history or aiming at rewriting the history, the French judge underlined.
The French Constitutional Council based its annulment on the very principle of the French Constitution that guarantees freedom of expression and thought, he explained, adding “These principles will never change. Therefore the verdict given by the Council will be a permanent one.”
With the April 24, the day when the Armenian genocide is globally commemorated, is approaching, there are efforts to revisit the denial law at the French Parliament although they are not counted as “serious efforts”. Debré’s message issued to President Gül is also being delivered to political groups who are trying a way to overcome the Council’s 2012 annulment.