Armenian genocide denial on trial —in Switzerland

A disturbing consensus seems to be emerging in Europe that the best reaction to genocide denial is to ban it. In addition to the many European laws against denying the Nazi Holocaust, Bosnia is now considering such a law for its own more recent genocide. And now Switzerland is prosecuting a Turkish writer for denying the 1915 Armenian genocide. From the Turkish daily Hurriyet, March 8:

In Lausanne, Dogu Perincek goes on trail for denying Armenian genocide claims
A delegation of 160 people, included former President of Northern Cyprus, Rauf Denktas, has gone to Switzerland to show support for the head of Turkey’s Workers’ Party, Dogu Perincek, who is on trial there for publicly denying Armenian allegations of genocide.

Perincek, who is being tried in Lausanne, was joined in court by a large group of academicians, historians, retired military officials, and politicians from Turkey, who left Istanbul on a specially chartered Turkish Airlines flight for Geneva. Speaking prior to departure at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, Denktas told reporters “Thousands of our Armenian siblings live here under good conditions. Workers come from Armenia to make a living here, and do so. So friendship between Turkey and Armenia is necessary on both sides. But friendship cannot be based on lies and slander.”

The general leader of the Turkish Workers’ Party, Dogu Perincek is on trial in Switzerland for calling Armenian allegations of genocide in Turkey “an imperialist lie” during a 2005 demonstration in Lausanne. Reports say Perincek left Turkey for his trial in Lausanne carrying 90 kilos worth of Russian and Armenian documents with him.

Now which is more disturbing, the fact that Perincek is being prosecuted, or that he is getting all this support from the Turkish establishment? And what is with this “Turkish Workers’ Party”? indicates there was a party of this name 30 years ago which was banned because of a supposed link to “Kurdish separatism.” Could this be the same or a related entity? Given the unfortunate Kurdish-Armenian rivalry which the Turkish state has been able to exploit to its advantage, it’s not impossible…

See our last posts on Turkey and the Armenian struggle for historical memory.