A Swiss court has opened a preliminary investigation against Turkish Minister for EU affairs, Egemen Bagis, for allegedly denying the 1915 genocide of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks.
According to various media, the Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Egemen Bagis, commenting on the French senate’s decision to make the denial of the Armenian Genocide illegal, had said that there was no Armenian genocide.
"Now we are in Switzerland and I announce that events of 1915 are not genocide. Let them come and arrest me", he lashed out at the French parliament, which was debating a genocide denial bill that was passed in January 2012.
Since an article in Switzerland’s criminal code provides for the punishment of acts of racism, including public denial of genocide, being in Switzerland was apparently not as safe as Bagis thought, and the Swiss authorities came instead.
Bagis' comments were allegedly made late last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos and repeated later at a concert in Zurich.
Zurich prosecutor Christine Braunschweig said that the Switzerland-Armenia Association had informed the Swiss authorities on the Turkish Minister.
Note that the court must also resolve the issue with his diplomatic immunity.
Meanwhile, Turkey summoned the Swiss envoy on Monday to complain about the Swiss court’s decision.
Ankara strongly opposes laws that make denial of the Armenian Genocide illegal, claiming that they are against freedom of expression and that they hurt Turkish-Armenian relations.
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