Now is the time to keep quiet

Now is the time to keep quiet

In France, it could have been difficult to send the “Armenian genocide denial law” to the French Constitutional Council, but there was a probability. It was certainly not expected to be sent with so many signatures.

The signatures of only 60 senators would have been sufficient. At first, signatures arrived with difficulty. Then, suddenly, numbers soared. Seventy-seven senators and additionally 65 parliamentarians signed. This figure must have so annoyed the French President Nicolas Sarkozy that he had a fierce reaction. Despite that, there are people who even claim the Elysee Palace did not put enough pressure. 

What will happen after this? 

The Constitutional Council must make a decision by Feb. 29. It will look for answers related to two topics: 

1. Should there be a law regarding the commemorations, or is it sufficient that Parliament makes a statement? 

There are several “commemoration laws” waiting before the French Parliament. There are many motions that call to account for past wrongs, such as those of the Bosnian immigrants, or the French soldiers who lost their lives in Algeria. If the “denial law” is accepted, then the job of those waiting in line will be easier; several laws calling the past to account will be processed one after the other. The Constitutional Council will shed light on this matter. 

2. Is the “denial law” in compliance with the French constitution? 

The council has three options: (a) To reject the petition and decide that the law is in compliance with the constitution; (b) totally reject the law; (c) partially reject the law. 

If option B or C is accepted, the law will be revoked and the whole procedure will start again. In other words, first it has to pass in the Lower House of Parliament and then it will be brought to the Senate. And because all of this cannot be rushed before the presidential elections in May, we will not hear anything of a “denial law” until next spring. 

Keep quiet until Feb. 29 

The stage that has been reached today is not a victory for Turkey and neither does it mean that the “denial law” has been avoided. A waiting period of one month has been entered, that’s all.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s approach after the “denial law” passed in the Senate created a very positive echo both in Paris and in the international public. Erdoğan did not yell or raise his voice; on the contrary, he acted very cool. I think he put on a very wise stance. I’m sure he will continue with this attitude from now on. 

My concern is over the performances of some politicians who want to carry their names to newspaper headlines and who think that what they do or say will please the prime minister. Those Cabinet ministers or those Justice and Development Party (AKP) politicians should know that if they start threatening and start saying things like “France will pay for this. We will give them hell. We will implement embargoes…” they will not be able to scare anybody; just the opposite, they will make the French Constitutional Council angry and maybe reactionary. 

Let’s not forget that even though the Constitutional Council will examine the law from a legal point of view, there will inevitably be a share of political approach in it. 

Please keep quiet for a while.