Switzerland Refuses Turkey’s Request for the Official Celebration of the Lausanne Treaty

GENEVA–Citing security concerns–Swiss authorities have rejected two requests by the Turkish Foreign Ministry to permit the official celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Lausanne Treaty which was signed at Palais Rumine in Lausanne on July 24–1923.

Swiss authorities also turned down Turkey’s invitation to join the celebration. Conseil d’Etat (State Council) of Canton Vaud with its capital in Lausanne arrived at this decision after consultations with the Federal Swiss Government in Bern. Turkey had wished the Foreign Ministers of France–Britain–and Russia to join the celebrations.

Reporting about these decisions in its June 5 issue under the title "The State Council of Vaud Offends Turkey," the Geneva daily Le Temps cited the Turkish Ambassador to Switzerland Taner Baytok as stating "Lausanne is a very important town for us–known by every Turkish child. But since the Vaudois authorities do not care for our presence in Palais Rumine–we will not do anything official in Lausanne. We will be satisfied with events of private character."

Head of the Foreign Relations of the Vaud State Council Livio Huerzeler recalled the killing of a Kurdish demonstrator in front of the Turkish Embassy of Bern in 1993. The shots–which also injured a policeman–were fired from the Turkish Embassy.

In a similar move–the Mayor of Lausanne Jean-Jacques Schilt–rejected a Kurdish request for public gran’s for a conference which the Kurdish organizations were planning to hold in Hotel Beau-Rivage on July 24-25. The cantonal and city authorities met on June 8 to discuss security measures in view of possible riots in the city and have used this opportunity to reaffirm their previous decision.

Not reported in the article were the letters of protest against the Celebration of the Lausanne Treaty which were sent to Lausanne’s–the canton’s and the federal authorities by the Forum of Armenian Associations in Switzerland.

Expressing the concern that the approval of such a request would be a tacit consent to the Genocide–the Forum urged authorities to reject the request. In a May 6 letter to the Forum–the Canton Vaud informed that the State Council had taken notice of the letter and handed it over to the Foreign Relations Office of the Vaudois Government. Similar Armenian organizations from France–Britain–Germany–Italy–Belgium–Sweden–Russia–and the US have expressed their solidarity to the request of the Swiss Armenia’s.

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