Criminalizing The Denial Of The Armenian Genocide: Taner Akcam

13:25 – 12.01.2012

Turkish professor Taner Akcam gave an exclusive interview to BBC and
talked about Turkish denying policy and the bill criminalizing delian
of the Armenian Genocide adopted by France.

-Professor Taner Akcam there are those who believe this is just
a gesture politics. Is Turkey, the Turkish Government not really

-It is overreaction definitely, and instead of attacking France,
Turkey should do its own homework and face its own history and
acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. It is a very important part of
Turkish history. Without facing the back of the history, without
reckoning its historic groundings, Turkey cannot be a member of the
EU also.

-How much resonance does this have with the Turkish public at large?

-There’s a strong opposition of course, reaction towards French bill
and French law but I don’t think that it’s because they know what’s
going on. The major problem in turkey that we have is the lack of
information. Turkish people are not informed what really had happened
in 1915 and I believe that all we need is education, education and
education and not laws. Turkish public should know about 1915.

-But in terms of France, taking this step, I mean, is it necessary for
France to do that when people say that it itself has many questions
to answer because of its colonial past?

-I think it is very necessary for Europe, there is a new tendency in
Europe to unify the laws against racism and xenophobia and within my
context European union already decided in 2007 to developed certain
laws and regulations against Genocide, crime against humanity and war
crimes and within that context I can understand that France brings
this law now. The main question here though weather we need a special
law and weather we should consider the denial of Genocide as a new
crime category and as you know the American approach and European
approach differs from each other on this topic.

-And very briefly, how bad do you think this will affect the
relationship between turkey and France?

-It will affect in the beginning negatively but in long term turkey
will see that it should face its own history and I see that this is
a positive result of this development.