By Baidzig Kalayjian
This extremely emotional appeal was uttered publicly by French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a mass public rally of several thousands, which had been organized in connection with his meeting in Yerevan with Armenian president Serge Sargisian. During the rally, Sarkozy stated that if Turkey didn’t take serious steps toward accepting the Armenian Genocide by year’s end, then the French republic would pass a bill, according to which the denial of the Genocide will become criminally punishable throughout France.
Although this statement and Serge Sargisian’s subsequent speech in Marseille, which undoubtedly was the logical continuation of, or concluding tie-in to, Sarkozy’s, were received with popular rejoicing, they didn’t meet with unequivocal reaction, however, in various political circles.
To be sincere…numerous promises had been given, which hadn’t been respected by various states. For that reason, in turn, the concerns of those, who regarded that critical statement by Sarkozy with reservation, were quite understandable.
It was difficult, particularly when the Turkish political elite and the information services catering to them threatened France with the employment of various punitive measures, which also included certain foreign policy spheres, besides the economic, military and tourism realms.
One can immediately say that Sarkozy and the French National Assembly honored their promise right down to the final hour and passed the bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide by an overwhelming majority of votes, thus remaining faithful to their high calling. Furthermore, in the process, they gave a most solemn lesson to the leaders of certain states, whose promises fail to materialize.