Sunday, October 15, 2006

Interpretation of History and the law

French Lawmakers Approve 'Armenian Genocide' Bill

Disputed History

Historians estimate that between 1915 and 1922, up to 1.5 million Armenians living in Ottoman Turkey died during mass slaughters and deportations.

Turkey does not dispute that fact that many Armenians died during that period, although it puts the total number at some 300,000.

Ankara says, though, that the deaths were a general result of World War I, in which all sides suffered. Ankara says an equal number of ethnic Turks perished and it has steadfastly denied that there was ever a policy of genocide against Armenians.

One deputy, Michel Piron, spoke for those who opposed the bill, when he said government or judicial institutions had no business interpreting history.

"History is not an object of the judiciary," Piron said. "In a free state, it belongs neither to parliament nor to the judiciary to define what is historic truth. Must one re-read [the Soviet novelist and dissident Aleksandr] Solzhenitsyn to remind ourselves of the type of regimes where the law dictates history, shapes memories, leaving behind peoples exhausted by lies and submitted to the worst manipulations?"radio free Europe

Turkey's chief negotiator in EU membership talks, Ali Babacan, said: "This is violating one of the core principles of the European Union, which is freedom of expression."

"Leave history to historians," he added.BBC

via Meine Sache

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