ANKARA (Hurriyet Daily)—Turkey has said it is confident that the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will stick to the court’s earlier decision, ruling that punishing public denial of the Armenian Genocide constitutes a violation of freedom of expression.
The statement came late Tuesday, following the Court’s agreement to hear Switzerland’s appeal on the ruling in Perincek v. Switzerland, made on Dec. 13, 2013.
“We are confident that the Grand Chamber will be guided by exclusively legal considerations when hearing the case. One cannot imagine an outcome different than the judgment of December 17, 2013, considering the jurisprudence of the ECHR and the fundamental principles of law,” the Foreign Ministry of Turkey said in a written statement.
“While the ECHR’s judgment of Dec. 17, 2013, endorsed the principle of ‘the protection of the freedom of expression which is the fundamental element of societies committed to freedom, democracy, and the rule of law,’ Switzerland has brought the matter before the Grand Chamber on entirely political motives,” it added.
“Thus, once again,” the statement read, “this will be an adequate response against initiatives attempting to politicize history and law, and will strongly confirm that freedom of expression, which is the building block of democratic societies, is under protection.”
The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (ANC of Europe) strongly condemned the decision of the ECHR when it was made in December of 2013. Considering the ruling to be a direct assistance to the wave of denial orchestrated by Ankara, the EAFJD said in Dec. 2013: “The European Court undermines with this infamous decision the right to dignity of the victims and descendants of the Armenian genocide.”
The EAFJD further noted that the decision will “undoubtedly strengthen extremist movements” and undermine the voices calling for justice from within Turkey.
“Moreover, by declaring that ‘it would be very difficult to identify a general consensus’ on the Armenian genocide, the Court aligns itself with Perincek’s statement that the Armenian genocide is an ‘international lie.’ The Court’s approach that ‘clearly distinguished the present case from those concerning the negation of the crimes of the Holocaust’ is also deplorable. How can such a distinction be made by the highest human rights court in Europe?” the EAFJD said in a statement following the Dec. 2013 decision of the ECHR.
Turkish Workers’ Party Chairman Dogu Perincek, who had described the Armenian Genocide as an “international lie” in a series of lectures throughout Switzerland, sued the Swiss government after being charged with genocide denial.
Issued on Dec. 17, 2013, the ECHR ruling stated that “the free exercise of the right to openly discuss questions of a sensitive and controversial nature is one of the fundamental aspects of freedom of expression and distinguishes a tolerant and pluralistic democratic society from a totalitarian or dictatorial regime.”