ZURICH (Reuters)—Swiss prosecutors will drop a criminal probe against Turkey’s EU affairs minister, instigated after he denied Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians, because he is protected by diplomatic immunity.
Zurich prosecutors began investigating Turkey EU Minister Egemen Bagis after comments he made at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, and also at a concert in Zurich. Swiss anti-racism legislation outlaws genocide denial.
Turkey summoned the Swiss ambassador in Ankara to complain after the investigation was launched.
“After consulting with the Swiss foreign ministry, the prosecutor has concluded that criminal charges against Egemen Bagis cannot be pursued because, as a Turkish EU minister, he enjoyed immunity during his entire stay in Switzerland,” the prosecutor said in a statement on Monday.
Swiss authorities have taken legal action against several people who have denied the Armenian Genocide. The most prominent case is the conviction of Turkish politician Dogu Perincek, who was fined 3,000 Swiss francs in 2007.
In January, the French Senate approved similar legislation, prompting an angry response from Turkey.