Expert: French president’s statement a “slap against Turkey”
Expert Andranik Ispiryans says before Hollande’s visit to Turkey the authorities of that country had made optimistic predictions, mostly hoping that the tension of the recent years in the relations between the two countries would be mitigated, that they would try to reach certain compromise in terms of the law viewing the denial of the Armenian Genocide as a criminal offense and would try to mollify France’s position on Turkey’s ambitions to become a member of the European Union (EU).
“At least two of their expectations did not come true, meaning that both in terms of the bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial and the EU membership, Hollande manifested the same standpoint as he himself and his predecessors had stated before,” Ispiryan told the press on Thursday.
The tragic events of 1915 became one of the key topics during the French President’s state visit to Turkey this week. “Unveiling historical events is a painful process, but it is something that has to be done,” Hollande stated during the joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Abdulla Gul, expressing a strong conviction that facing its [Turkey’s] own history would, after all, lead to the two peoples’ reconciliation.
Hollande did not bypass the potential ratification issue of the bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial either: “In terms of criminalizing the genocide denial I can say that we will do what’s right, following the provisions of the law. Our goal is to establish the truth and we would like everyone to realize it,” he said.
The expert stresses as especially important the fact that Hollande has twice raised the Genocide issue in Turkey; the first time it was during his speech at Istanbul’s famous Galatasaray University, when he said that he cannot say anything different from the statements he had made in Paris concerning the Armenian Genocide. Hollande has repeatedly stated that the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 was genocide.
“In the presence of lecturers, professors, also state officials, Hollande reaffirmed his position urging them to face their own history. This can be viewed as a French slap against Turkey,” says Ispiryan.
Hollande is expected to pay a visit also to Azerbaijan in the nearest future. The expert believes that the French president, as the leader of one of OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries mediating for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh issue, will try to stay unbiased to show France’s peacemaking role in the conflict.