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On 4 April 2016, the Center for Eurasian Studies (AVİM) held a conference titled “An Evaluation of Armenian Claims in Light of the Verdicts of the Constitutional Council of France and the ECHR” with (R.) Ambassador Dr. M. Şükrü Elekdağ as the speaker.

On 8 January 2016, the Constitutional Council of France delivered its verdict on the case that was filed for the repeal of the Gayssot Act that outlaws the denial of the Holocaust. The plaintiff for the case argued that the act should be repealed due the fact that, despite criminalizing the denial of the Holocaust, the act does not criminalize the “denial” of the “Armenian genocide” or other similar events legally recognized by France.  Armenian activists in France and the French-Turkish “Association for Neutrality in Turkish History Education” (TTETD), which requests the removal of the Armenian genocide claims from school textbooks in France, joined the case as intervening parties. In its application, TTETD argued that the 2001 Act accusing Turkey for committing the “Armenian genocide” lacks a legal basis and therefore requested its repeal due to it being in violation of the Constitution of France. In its verdict, the Constitutional Council of France decided that the Gayssot Act does not violate the Constitution of France due to the fact that it foresees the penalization of the denial of crimes that have been ascertained by an international criminal court. In this respect, the Council confirmed that only a competent court may determine whether or not an action constitutes genocide. As a result of this, the Council’s verdict eliminated the potential effects of the 2001 act that recognizes the events of 1915 as genocide and also the possibility for the adoption of acts that criminalize the rejection or the “denial” of the “Armenian genocide”.

During the conference (R.) Ambassador Elekdağ shared with the audience his thoughts on the importance of the Constitutional Council of France and ECHR cases in terms of the Armenian claims and the Turkish-Armenian dispute.