The Talat Paşa Committee, a Turkish nationalist organization aiming to counter recognition of the the Armenian Genocide, has been refused entry to Athens, where it had gone to issue a statement in protest at a recently approved Greek bill, Horizon Weekly reports.
The members of the committee left for Athens on Jan. 9 with the aim of making a statement in front of the Greek Parliament.
The committee wanted to protest and demand the withdrawal of a controversial bill approved by Greece’s parliament in September that stiffens penalties for racially motivated crime and criminalizes the denial of genocide and war crimes.
The delegation of 13 people was intercepted by police at the airport and prevented from entering the city for “security reasons.” They were sent back to Turkey on the next flight.
The Greek Parliament adopted by a vote of 54 to 42, on Sept. 9, 2014, an anti-hate crime law — Combating Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Racism — making it illegal to deny the Jewish Holocaust, and genocides recognized by international courts or by the Greek Parliament, i.e., the genocide of Pontus Greeks, the genocide of Asia Minor Greeks, and the Armenian Genocide. Those violating this new law would be fined up to 30,000 euros, and imprisoned for up to three years.
The Greek law stems from the European Union’s 2008 “Framework Decision against Racism and Xenophobia,” which urged all EU states to adopt laws that punish racism, xenophobia, denial of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.