Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey
June 29 2012

Last December, this column announced the emergence of a new Turkish
jurisprudence on the Armenian genocide. Half a year later, the new
jurisprudence won an official seal of approval from the offices
of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet

The new jurisprudence, in plain coffeehouse patron's language, is a
powerful Turkish warning to the rest of the world precisely as I wrote
it in December: "'Dear members of parliaments of the world! From now
on, you can recognize the Armenian genocide and have perfectly normal
relations with us; but we'll get badly offended if you make genocide
denial illegal.' Will the U.S. Congress get the message? The Turks
should hope it won't. Sadly, the more than 20 countries in the world
whose parliaments have recognized the Armenian genocide stand like
an unpleasant reminder that the soft power Mr. Davutoglu loves to
assume Turkey possesses does not exist in the real world," (The new
Turkish jurisprudence on Armenian genocide, HDN, Dec. 23, 2011).

How did I know / how do I know? Simple. When did the French legislature
recognize the Armenian genocide? In 2001. What did Turkey do in
response? It threatened to freeze all economic and political ties with
France. How did the freeze go? Well, during the Turkish boycott/freeze,
the two-way trade volume rose from $4 billion in 2001 to nearly $15
billion in 2011, an increase of 275 percent! That's how Threat 1
was fulfilled.

>From December 2011 through to February 2012 Turkey threatened once
again to freeze all economic, military and political ties with France.

But was it not strange that the Turks were pledging to freeze something
they had pledged to freeze a decade ago?

Under Threat 2, somehow, we would freeze "all cooperation with the
French government and joint projects, introduce punishing restrictions
on French military vessels and aircraft passing through Turkish waters
and airspace or docking on Turkish soil." That would be the appropriate
response because the French bill that criminalized genocide denial,
according to Mr. Davutoglu, "dishonored our country and nation."

Fortunately, the French supreme court overturned the denial bill
and thus our country and nation was not dishonored. And this must
be Jurisprudence 2: We no longer think that our country and nation
would be dishonored when foreign parliaments declare our ancestors
as committers of genocide. And that... How do we know?

Because last week Mr. Davutoglu happily announced, under instructions
from Mr. Erdogan, that Turkey and France would now live happily ever
after... With all Turkish sanctions under Threat 2 now officially
dropped, everything will come up roses. C'est magnifique! And
that miracle happened just because Francois Hollande, France's new
president, met with Mr. Erdogan - not because either Monsieur Holland,
who has never hidden his firm commitment to the idea that there was
an Armenian genocide, or the French Parliament no longer believes
the tragic incidents of 1915-1919 amounted to genocide.

>From now on, if either Mr. Erdogan or Mr. Davutoglu claims that it
would dishonor our country and nation if a foreign Parliament were
to recognize the Armenian genocide, the members of that Parliament
may just suffer perpetual hysterias of laughter before they say
b...u...t... F...r...a...n...c...e!

But the Rover with Rolls Royce ambitions and the Crescent and Star
emblem will surely be speeding along down international highways. The
future, though, may bring in further Turkish jurisprudence on Armenian

For instance, Jurisprudence 3 may be about accepting genocide denial
laws but threatening to freeze economic, political and military
relations if they are enforced; and Jurisprudence 4 may be about
accepting a reasonable number of people sentenced under denial laws
but threatening to freeze economic, political and military relations
if too many people are sentenced.

Bonne chance, Mssrs. Erdogan et Davutoglu!