ANKARA: Turkish Consulate in Paris faces charges

Turkish Consulate in Paris faces charges
Oct 11 2004

Turkish Chief Consulate diplomats are to appear before a court in
France today due to an appeal from the Campaign for the Recognition
of the Armenian Genocide of France (CDCA-France).

CDCA-France appealed to the Paris Court in July because the Chief
Consulate denied the so-called Armenian genocide on its official
internet site, Anatolia news agency said.

The CDCA said in its appeal to the court then, Turkey’s broadcasting
on the internet site was a denial propaganda targeting French people.
The CDCA wanted the court to charge the Turkish Consulate due to this
reason and close its internet site down.

Turkish State’s lawyers are expected to ask the court to dismiss the
case at the first hearing today, by saying that the Consulate had
diplomatic immunity according to the Vienna Convention. The lawyers
will also mention the matter of the freedom of expression as a part
of their defense and argue it to have the case dismissed by the court,
the agency said.

The French Parliament passed a law in early 2001 which stated; “France
recognizes the Armenian genocide of 1915.” Turkey sent a protest note
to the French government concerning the issue after the draft law was
first passed in 1998. The Turkish Parliament decided to invalidate the
draft and the military projects undertaken by France were suspended.

Turkey’s reactions postponed the final adoption of the draft by
the French Senate for about two and a half years. However, with the
coming municipal elections in March 2001, the Senate passed it on
November 2001.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected and condemned the Senate
resolution. The Turkish Parliament adopted a similar resolution on
January, 2001. Despite this, the draft was once again passed at the
French parliament on January 18. Following its ratification by French
President Jacques Chirac, it became law on January 30.

A parliamentarian from the main opposition Socialist Party has
introduced a bill to the French parliament in recent months and asked
for accepting the denial of so-called Armenian genocide as a crime
in the French Criminal Code.

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