Today the French Parliament passed a bill making it a crime for anyone to deny that the tragic events of 1915 (which resulted in the death of many Ottoman Citizen and Armenians in Eastern Anatolia) as a genocide against the Armenian people. The Turkish people (descendants of the Ottoman Empire) adamantly deny such false conclusions (accusations??) and refer maters of unfounded allegations with differing views to historians and call for open debate and discussions.
This bill would impose a one-year prison term and 45,000 Euros (59,040 U.S. dollars) of fine to anyone (including American or Turkish citizens) whom would deny such a genocide claim or offer proofs to the contrary.
We believe that this is neither the sole decision of the French parliament nor in the benefit of the French people. It is remarkable that only 50 out of 557 members of the French National Assembly showed up in the assembly to vote for or against this bill. It gives a hidden message to the people in the world that there is lack of interest and legitimacy for the Armenian bill by the French Parliamentarians as taking side on a controversial issue which did not happen on a French soil in 1915.
We, the Turkic American Associations strongly condemn France (French Parliamentarians??) for promoting Turkophobia and passing such a bias, discriminatory and anti-Turkish bill which is clearly based on political motives and not on historical facts. This bill undermines not just our core American values of fairness and equality, but universal human rights and values. This ill-conceived bill sends a clear message to the peoples of the world that the French government holds political gains above and before human rights and values and would jeopardizes world peace and order (with Turkey and France being NATO members).
Influential French philosophers and statesman valued freedom of speech and expression as natural human rights during the Enlightenment in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and stressed the importance of the “individual” with each person having the right to think and speak freely leading to France’s declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789. France (French Parliamentarians) has now taken a step back to the dark ages and violated its own declaration that “the free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man….[and that every man] may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom….”
It is not a place of parliament or the courts to define historical truth. Michel Dienfenbacher, a member of the French Parliament said: “A parliamentarian’s role is not to write history and this resolution is not in favor of Armenians, either.”
Another parliamentarian, Francois Bayrou also spoke against the resolution and said: “There have been massacres in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Vandee. Are these going to come (before us), too? I think we’re entering into a dangerous road.”
We the Turkish Cultural Center strongly condemn France (French Parliament) for passing the “Armenian genocide bill” and invite France (French government) to retract this unfounded, unjustified, biased, and bigoted bill and return to the enlightened era.