Cyprus Criminalizes The Questioning Of The Armenian Genocide

Cyprus is following the precarious path of countries like France and Russia in criminalizing one side of the historical debate over the genocide of Armenian Turks by Turkey. It is now a crime to deny that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenian Turks a century ago, according to a resolution passed Cypriot parliament. While a French court later struck down its law, the addition of Cyprus among countries criminalizing historical debates is chilling and disconcerting.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targets with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).

Chillingly, the criminalizing of speech is something that was the subject of celebration in Cyprus. The Speaker of parliament Yiannakis Omirou declared “Today is a historic day. It allows parliament to restore, with unanimous decisions and resolutions, historical truths.” Of course, it depends on whose “historical truths” we are talking about . . . or who decides what the truth may be. The problem with such laws is that it creates an insatiable desire to support other “truths.” Ironically, Erdogan government in Turkey shows just how such an appetite for repression of contrary thoughts and views can overwhelm a nation. Erdogan is now the world’s leading advocate for the suppression of free speech and the free press.

11 thoughts on “Cyprus Criminalizes The Questioning Of The Armenian Genocide

  1. This is not a freedom of speech issue, rather a denial of genocide issue. Among Western historians the Turkish genocide of the Armenian Christians is generally accepted. The Turks have been either deny or trying to cover it up since the end of WWI.

  2. The genicide of Armenian Christians by the Islamic Turks is no more of a “debate” than than Holocaust. It is a historical fact.

  3. Some nation states have some issues which get glossed over. I was reading about some thing which happened in America which is called: The Trail of Tears. I read some other book about Andrew Jackson by a Sainted American author who remain unnamed here and can tell you that there was no mention of those Trail of Tears words in the book and not in the index at the rear of the book. The author is one of those Harvard Yale dorks with a bow tie.

    So we have ways of glossing over historical events in our own country. We have some laws outlawing free speech. “Black Lives Matter” is ok to say. “Where da white women at?” is not sanctioned speech anymore. Erdogan just wants, down the road when he is long gone, the same sort of treatment which Andrew Jackson gets by historians in America. In a hundred years a kid in Turkey will ask his father: “Papa? What was a Kurd? And why do you refer to the as ‘turds’?”

  4. “crime to deny that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenian Turks a century ago,”

    Am I reading this wrong? This is NOT a crime to believe in the genocide by the Turks. It’s a crime to DENY the genocide took place. Criminalizing speech is still the core issue but it appears this law is intended to punish anyone that wants to DENY the Armenian genocide by the Turks.

  5. An Ottoman Turk should not be confused with an America Sea Otter. Never the Twain shall meet. Nor should Thanksgiving, which is referred to as Turkey Day, be considered an Ottoman holiday or Turkish festival. The Turks give Tanks that the Russians did not invade after WWII. They call that TanksGiving Day, and it occurs on April 1. They sing a song entitled: A Turk in a Tank is a Turk All The Way!

  6. I do believe the Armenian Genocide took place. The Armenian community still keenly feels the pain of it, especially because the Turks won’t admit it.

    But this is about Free Speech. The erosion of rights can insidiously occur with the best of intentions. Before you know it, government controls accepted speech, and there is no guarantee that government will remain benevolent. Cyprus’ government, in fact, appropriated the savings accounts of its own people in a confiscatory sweep, impoverishing those counting on that money to retire, and that would hardly be deemed benevolent.

    The Holocaust obviously happened, but there are those who deny it. Can you imagine if we jailed every recent immigrant (or citizen) who was misinformed growing up about the Holocaust, 9/11, Armenian Genocide, who discovered America, the Moon landing, the assassination of JFK, human evolution…

    Geez, our jails are crowded enough as it is without cramming in everyone who held beliefs that are not generally accepted. Monsanto has its tentacles into every governing body regarding food, it appears. So with our luck, it would become criminal to question GMOs.

  7. It all depends on what the definition of genocide is. If you take the least restrictive, then almost anything becomes genocide. The more common sense definition to my mind is establishing camps as the Nazis did or simply murdering great numbers, over 500,000, of people because of some distinguishing trait such as race, religion, or other national id. It also requires orders to do such things by some authority. The Armenian genocide while terrible, is not remotely comparable to the Nazis crimes. So that is why I object to call what happened to them genocide. Of course, my opinion will put me in prison now in Cyprus, but this is only the Greeks there who passed this, and is just another way to stick it to the Turks.

    • randyjet – the Turks were trying to kill all the Armenians in Turkey. That is genocide. Using your scale, Hitler is nothing compared to Stalin and Mao.

  8. randyjet:

    I’ve known a lot of Armenians. Every one that I have known reacted in a visceral way to the topic of the genocide. It’s still taught to the kids in Armenian school here in CA.

    http://www.armenian-genocide.org/genocidefaq.html

    The Armenians weren’t just evicted from the country. Over 1.5 million of them were murdered, because the Turks wanted ethnic purity. They were slaughtered, or sent out in droves to the desert with no water to die. Their women were raped and often murdered, too. Their possessions and lands were confiscated. And they were indeed sent to concentration camps. It all started on April 24 when the male leaders of the Armenian community were rounded up and killed.

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