Europe prefers freedom of speech to Armenian legends
From today, no court in the countries of the Council of Europe will be able to punish people who deny the validity of the so-called 'Armenian genocide', in other words, the Armenian point of view on the tragic events in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Even if a guilty verdict will be imposed, it will soon be cancelled by the European Court for Human Rights, by analogy with the case 'Dogu Perincek against Switzerland,' won by the Turkish politician today.
By ten votes 'for', the ECHR voted for the permission of denial of the 'Armenian genocide', because it corresponds to freedom of speech. "Perincek's statements relate to social problems, they do not include calls for hatred and intolerance; the statement cannot be viewed as an insult to the dignity of the members of the Armenian community, to lead to reactions in the framework of criminal law of Switzerland. The Swiss court, apparently, punished the politician for expressing his opinions, which differs from the opinion adopted by the country," the verdict of the European Court for Human Rights says.
Dogu Perincek welcomed the decision of the ECHR. "The 'Armenian Genocide' is a big lie. Now it is understood in Europe. Now no one can accuse Turks abroad for denial of the 'Armenian genocide'. The events of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire are not similar to the Holocaust. This decision is of great importance for Turkey," the politician stated. Citizens of Turkey who agree with him went onto the streets today to express their joy at the court's decision.
The director of the center for legal regulation of interstate relations of RANHiGS, ad hoc judge of the European Court for Human Rights, Dmitry Matveyev, in conversation with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that this decision by the ECHR in the case-law system of European legislation allows plaintiffs to win in the courts on charges of denying the 'Armenian genocide' in the future.
Dogu Perincek's son, Mehmet Perincek, a Turkish political scientist and historian, described the decision of the ECHR as a "victory for all humanity and humanism." "Punishing people in Europe because they say that there was no 'Armenian genocide' is persecution of freedom of speech. In a region like Europe, punishing such an act is a crime against humanity, and that is why today the ECHR adopted a decision on the inadmissibility of punishment for denial of the 'Armenian genocide'."
Armenia accepted the verdict of the ECHR very negatively. For example, the director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, Ruben Safrastyan, assessed it as "a disgrace for Europe." "I do not think it would have any serious significance, because the issue of the Armenian genocide has already been resolved in the historiography, so not only in Armenia, but around the world, historians recognize the 'Armenian genocide' as an accomplished fact. So the decision by the ECHR, I am more than sure, will not have any decisive affect on the further process of the recognition of the Armenian genocide. The fact that it happened is a shame, I think," Ruben Safrastyan stated.
Milli Majlis deputy and political scientist Rasim Musabekov assessed the verdict of the ECHR as "an obstacle to the completely unlawful attempts by the Armenian Diaspora to use, let's say, self-pity, or, through influential lobbyists, promote decisions which essentially are in conflict with the legal institutions that consolidate Europe and imply freedom of discussion and opinion."