THE FRENCH ATTITUDE TOWARDS ARMENIAN CLAIMS
Recep Guvelioglu

The New Anatolian, Turkey
May 15 2006

The French Parliament is set this Thursday to debate a bill to
criminalize denial of the so-called Armenian genocide. The one-article
bill aims to impose prison terms of up to one year and a 45,000 euro
fine for deniers of the so-called genocide claims. In France it's
already an offense to deny the Holocaust of World War II.

France has been a haven for the Armenian diaspora for almost a
century. That's why almost every French government, whether leftist
or rightist, has tried to be sympathetic to the diaspora to get
their votes. As a result, the French public has been influenced by
Armenian propaganda without questioning the case. In 1920, when Aram
Andonian published the so-called "Official Documents on the Armenian
Massacres" (Documents Officiels Concernant les Massacres Armeniens,
Imprimerie H. Turabian, Boulevard Raspall, 1920, Paris), the French
public accepted them as real evidence of an Armenian "genocide." But
in the 1980s it was proven that the letters which are the basis of
the book's claims were false and mere fabrication.

Even though French soldiers were eyewitnesses to the Mt. Musa incident,
exaggerations in the book "The Forty Days of Musa Dagh" (Werfel
Franz; Die vierzig Tage des Musa Dagh, Paul Zsolnay Verlag A.G.,
1933, Berlin) were disregarded by the French. French administrations
have been proud of themselves for erecting genocide monuments. French
governments sometimes went too far, even supporting terrorists. They
supported the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia
(ASALA). But after an ASALA bomb blast in front of a Turkish Airlines
(THY) office at Orly Airport which claimed eight lives (four of them
French) and wounded 60 on July 15, 1983, and their occupation of the
Turkish Consulate General in which they murdered the security officer
and wounded the consul general, the French government realized that
supporting terrorism doesn't help anything. There were many reasons
at the root of all this, but I would like to address four of them.

The first reason is classic Christian solidarity. The second was
quite interesting: The French government, during World War I,
like the Russians and British, provoked the Armenian quest for an
independent state just to dissolve the Ottoman Empire. But the French
didn't help the Armenians after their revolt. To a certain extent the
French betrayed the Armenians. This isn't my own idea; it's found in
pro-Armenian books. Armenian villagers died not for their own cause,
but for the realization of the Alliance's plans. They squeezed the
juice out of the orange and then threw it away. After the massive
Armenian immigration to France, the French government started
supporting them just to save face.

The third reason behind the French governments' stance was and is to
gain leverage against Turkey. The fourth is to seek Armenian votes as
a part of domestic politics. I would like to make some comments on
the last reason. Many people think that the Armenian lobby is solid
and powerful in France. But it's not. There are many French citizens
of Armenian origin who think that there have been falsifications in
the thesis of the "genocide" story. Because of oppression from the
diaspora's leaders, these poor people haven't been able to say anything
or reject some claims. Some of them think that a continuation of the
genocide claims won't help anyone, especially the Armenian state,
where economic conditions are bad and the population is falling
rapidly. Some of them believe that the diaspora's leaders are working
for some Armenian families which for the most part live in the U.S.,
and that their main cause is compensation from U.S. insurance companies
if Turkey accepts the "genocide."

Now I'd like to ask the French legislators some questions. Do you
really believe that you're going to secure all the Armenian votes if
you approve the bill?

How will you implement the bill? Are you considering creating a
sort of examination at the border gates to check at passport control
whether Turkish citizens above all believe in the Armenian "genocide"
or not? Do you believe that anti-Semitism is over because it's a
crime to deny it in your law?

Which massacre would be the next to criminalize? That of the
Algerians? I'd like to take this opportunity to like to express my
humble gratitude to the Bulgarian Parliament for last week rejecting
a bill on "genocide" claims.