ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)–Zurich’s Court of Appeals confirmed Tuesday the initial verdict of a Swiss district court that ruled three Swiss citizens of Turkish descent were guilty of denying the Armenian Genocide, the daily Vatan reported Wednesday.
The defendants, Ali Mercan, Hasan Kemahli and Ethem Kayali, had called the Armenian Genocide a lie at a meeting in 2007 in the Swiss district of Winterthur. Mercan is the foreign representative of the Turkey-based Workers Party, while Kemahli and Kayali are members of the Ataturkcu Dusunce Dernegi, a Turkey-based think tank.
In March 2007, Dogu Perinck, the leader of the Workers Party, was similarly found guilty by a Swiss district court of conscious violation of Swiss laws against genocide denial with a racist motivation and was fined 12,000 Swiss francs (17,000 Turkish Liras). The verdict was confirmed by the Vaud cantonal appeal court on June 19 of the same year, and by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland on Dec. 12, 2007.
“We knew the decision would come out like that,” said the lawyers of the defendants, according to the report by daily Vatan.
Meanwhile the Swiss government is mediating between Turkey and Armenia for a historical normalization of relations. Turkey, which officially denies it’s Genocide of the Armenians in 1915, severed ties with Armenia in the early 90s and has been blockading the Caucasus country since.
The two countries signed protocols last October to end the nearly two decade blockade. Yet the process has hit the rocks since the Armenian constitutional court’s ruling that the interpretation and application of the protocols should be in compliance with both the Armenian constitution and declaration of independence, which call for the international recognition of the Armenian genocide.
Though the court ruled the protocols to be legal, Turkey has reacted angrily to the decision, threatening to pull out of the rapprochement talks. It argues the ruling constitutes a prejudice in the workings of a historical commission outlined in the agreements. Ankara has made no secret of its intentions to use the historical commission to question the veracity of the Armenian Genocide.