Two Swiss Armenia’s Sue Turkish Organizations

YEREVAN(Noyan Tapan)–On September 4–in Bern–Switzerland–a court will consider the claim filed by two Armenian citizens of Switzerland. The 17 defendants in the case are representatives of eight Turkish organizations working in Switzerland.

At a September 3 news conference–one of the plaintiffs–Assistant Professor of the Zurich Architectural Institute Sargis Shahinian said that the claim was filed in accordance to the Swiss legislation–which stipulates the penalty for denying the facts of genocide and other racist crimes. According to Shahinian–the Swiss legislation allows Armenia’s to pursue their interests when the matter concerns the denial of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire.

"The particular importance of the legal proceedings is that our memory and history will be presented to the public at large. We must not forget that as a result of the Genocide we sustained not only material–but also intellectual–cultural and spiritual losses," stressed Shahinian. He pointed out that the people who suffered from the Genocide have until recently "tried to forget what happened," and the claim filed by two Armenia’s–who are actually representatives of different generations of the Armenian Diaspora–testifies that the memory is alive.

Shahinian pointed out that the Armenian community of Switzerland (5,000 to 7,000) must make every effort for recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Switzerland. At the same time he stressed that Turkey is exerting serious pressure on the deputies of the Swiss Parliament –because the Swiss have economic interests in Turkey.

Sargis Shahinian is optimistic that the forthcoming legal proceedings will serve as an important stepping stone for the Swiss authorities to come closer to recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

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