Turkish Armenians condemn Sarkozy over bill

Turkish Armenians condemn Sarkozy over bill

Vercihan Ziflioğlu ISTANBUL
Turkish Armenians condemn Sarkozy over bill

Those who doubt themselves and the truth of what happened would regard denial as a crime, says Mahçupyan.

Prominent Turkish-Armenians have sharply criticized French President Nicolas Sarkozy for his stance on a motion criminalizing the denial of Armenian genocide claims if the French Parliament votes in favor of the draft bill Dec. 22.

“If a person massacred in some part of Anatolia in 1915 could come back to life and reach Sarkozy, he would spit on his face and say Sarkozy was trying to score political gains through his pain,” Markar Esayan, a Turkish-Armenian columnist for the daily Taraf, yesterday wrote in an article titled “Sarkozy is deceiving the Armenians, too.”

Orhan Dink, the brother of the assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, also said he thought the motion ran counter to freedom of thought while speaking on a private broadcasting station he called by phone the night of Dec. 19.

“I have been witnessing the Turkish people’s efforts to face their history for the past 10 years. This decision is going to strike a blow to the process,” Esayan told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Sarkozy is not being sincere, he said. France had already recognized the events of 1915 as genocide, he said, so, “What use is there now for another law that contradicts itself? This is a ridiculous proposal. Those who doubt themselves and the truth of what happened would regard denial as a crime, whereas Armenians are very certain of the agonies they went through. If Sarkozy is unsure, it does not concern us. It is not just the Armenian genocide but also the Jewish genocide that ought to be debated,” Etyen Mahçupyan, a Turkish-Armenian writer and a columnist for the daily Zaman, told the Daily News.

Turkish intellectuals are courageous and ready to pay a price for this, he said. “The word ‘genocide’ is now being used in this country. Turkish society has passed a certain threshold.”

Turkey ought to view its own past with greater candor, said Zakariya Mildanoğlu, a writer for the history section of the Turkish-Armenian daily Agos, urging people to stop tussling over such terms as “genocide” and “massacre.” “Turkish and Armenian peoples ought to speak about 1915 by themselves,” Mildanoğlu said. The law would entail a yearlong jail sentence and a 45,000 euro fine if passed.