Turkey’s Worker’s Party chair says he is confident of ECHR ruling on 1915 incidents claims
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoTurkey’s Workers’ Party (İP) Chairman Doğu Perinçek, who is being tried at the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) Grand Chamber for publicly denying that the Ottoman Empire committed genocide against Ottoman Armenians in 1915, has said he is confident that the ruling will be in his favor.
Speaking at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport en route to Strasbourg for the court hearing, Perinçek said it was "difficult to make just decisions where prejudices prevail," but added that he still awaited a positive result.
“The second chamber of the ECHR made a bold decision on Dec. 17, 2013. Now we are waiting for the same from the Grand Chamber. We are confident because we are right,” he added.
A national court verdict in Switzerland in 2007 resulted in the case being brought to the ECHR. Perinçek was found guilty by a Swiss court on March 9, 2007 after his participation in a number of conferences in Switzerland in 2005, during which he publicly denied that the Ottoman Empire had committed the crime of genocide against Ottoman Armenians. Denying that the killings amounted to genocide is a criminal offense in Switzerland.
According to Armenians, up to 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians were killed starting from 1915 in a systematic campaign. Turkey denies that the deaths amounted to genocide, saying the toll during the mass deportation of Ottoman Armenians has been inflated and that those killed in 1915 and 1916 were victims of general unrest during World War I.
Perinçek had complained to the ECHR that Swiss courts had breached his right to freedom of expression. The ECHR ruled on Dec. 17, 2013 that his statements in Switzerland fell within the limits of freedom of expression.
The ECHR ruling stated that “free exercise of the right to openly discuss questions of a sensitive and controversial nature is one of the fundamental aspects of freedom of expression and distinguishes a tolerant and pluralistic democratic society from a totalitarian or dictatorial regime.”
Switzerland objected to the judgment, after which the case was taken to the ECHR’s Grand Chamber for the final verdict. The Grand Chamber approved the inclusion of the state of Armenia as a third party litigant in the case in September.
The case came to the world’s attention with news that Amal Clooney, the prominent British-Lebanese lawyer and wife of Hollywood celebrity George Clooney, would be one of the attorneys representing Armenia in the case.