Turkish opposition Labor Party leader Doğu Perinçek left for Strasbourg yesterday where he will attend an appeal hearing by Armenia over his denial of the Armenian Genocide, Daily Sabah reports.
Perinçek was cleared of charges of racial discrimination and genocide denial by a Swiss court where he made remarks defining the Armenian Genocide as an “international lie.” Armenia decided to be a co-plaintiff in the case at the next hearing on January 28.
The politician was found guilty by a Swiss court in 2007 after he made a speech calling the genocide “an international lie” during an event in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2005. A Swiss court ruled that his remarks had racist motives, pointing to anti-racism laws in place that criminalize the denial of genocide.
In a 2013 decision in favor of Perinçek, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Swiss legislation criminalizing the denial of genocide violated the principle of freedom of expression. However, the ECtHR approved an appeal by Switzerland to the ruling last June, much to the chagrin of Ankara, which described the move as “politically motivated.”
Speaking at the airport in Istanbul as he left for Strasbourg, Perinçek, accompanied by 200 members of his party and opposition Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Masum Türker, said he expected the court to uphold the previous ruling.