Friday, October 13, 2006

Armenian Bill won’t see the light of day…



On Thursday, the French parliament approved a bill making it a crime to deny the ‘genocide’of Armenians in Turkey during World War I. But for it to become an item on the agenda of the Senate, the bill must be approved by the government and President Jacques Chirac does not look favorably on the bill. Francois Holland, secretary-general of the opposition Socialist Party, has vowed to make the bill a law in 2007 if they are elected.

I rather suspect that this law is not going to find its way onto the statute books and will die a slow death in the the commitee rooms of the legislative process. In any case, the French bill has rather less to do with redressing a 90-year-old injustice and a lot to do with appealing to the large and influential Armenian community in France (400, 000 strong) prior to parliamentary and presidential elections next year. More generally, the bill is designed to sink Turkey’s chances at getting into the EU.

Perhaps most interestingly of all has been the appalling over-reaction of the EU institutions to the French parliament’s vote. One of the harshest criticisms came from Joost Lagendijk, chairman of European Union-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Commission, whose description of the bill was “foolish and far from belonging to Europe”. Lib. Dem MEP Andrew Duff said the European Court of Human Rights must be ready to intervene in the matter if it became law. Krisztina Nagy, the spokeswoman for EU Commissioner Olli Rehn, said, "In the case this bill becomes a law, it would prevent the dialogue and debate that are necessary for reconciliation," and highlighted that the recognition of “genocide” is not a Copenhagen criterion. The EU Commission emphasized the significance of leaving the matter to historians and researchers. By implication, the EU has become the supreme arbiter of what kind of laws should and shouldn’t be made in the Member States. Self-evidently, that is worrying in the extreme…..

3 comments:

gitanodemurcia said...

as an Armenian i say. well done to the French socialists

C4' said...

To be fair to Turkey (though what I am about to comment on should not be taken out of context), it was the old Ottomon Empire, not the successer state that was responsible for the Armenian Genocide.

However, this is no excuse for the way Turkey has and continues to treat its minorites such as the Kurds.

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