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Statement Of The Spokesman Of The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Of Turkey, Tanju Bilgiç In Response To A Question Concerning The Decision Of The Constitutional Council Of France Regarding The “gayssot Act” That Criminalizes The Holocaust Denial , 09.01.2016

QA-1, 9 January 2016

The Constitutional Council of France dismissed on 8 January 2016 the application filed by a French citizen with the request of annulment of the “Gayssot Act”, which criminalizes the Holocaust denial. It is once again established that the events of 1915 cannot be equated with the Holocaust.

The Council disregards the allegations that the events of 1915 bear resemblance to the Holocaust and that, while the Holocaust denial is penalized, the lack of such legislation concerning the events of 1915 is against the principles of equality and prohibition of discrimination.

In this respect, based on law and freedom of expression, the Council’s attitude is well known. It should be recalled that the Council annulled a draft bill which aimed at the incrimination of challenging the genocide allegations about the events of 1915 in 2012.

The Council, in its new decision, once again withstands against exploitation of history and law for political motives.

It should be remembered that the European Court of Human Rights in the Perincek v. Switzerland case has determined that the events of 1915 is a legitimate matter of debate, ruled that it is under the protection of freedom of expression and underlined the historical and legal differences between the 1915 events and the Holocaust.

We deem the decision of the Constitutional Council of France as a significant development strengthening the legal gain achieved at the ECtHR and hope that necessary lessons are to be drawn from this decision.