No: 275, 15 October 2015, Press Release Regarding the Judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights on the Case of Perinçek v. Switzerland

In its judgment published today regarding the case of Doğu Perinçek v. Switzerland, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that the freedom of expression of Doğu Perinçek, who was convicted by Switzerland due to his statements as to the events of 1915 on grounds of “denial of genocide”, was breached.

This judgment which convicts Switzerland and that affirms the approval of the judgment passed by the ECtHR’s Second Chamber on December 17, 2013, is final.

Turkey, having intervened as third party from the beginning to the case, welcomes its conclusion in line with her views.

Based on the principles of democracy and law, we deem the judgment as a very strong signal against all efforts imposing the “genocide” allegation as the only and absolute truth along with attempts and practices which even forbid questioning it.

The judgment constitutes a significant legal gain from the point of democracy, freedom of expression and human rights and the policy Turkey has pursued in recent years with patience and moderation on the events of 1915.

According to the judgment, the events of 1915 is a matter of legitimate debate and different opinions relating to what happened during that period are under the protection of freedom of expression. Likewise, it is in no way possible to compare what happened in 1915 with the Holocaust.

The judgment has registered the fact that parliaments and leaders are not competent to rewrite history by going beyond their powers. It also acknowledges that courts could not adjudicate on history by disregarding the relevant judicial norms.

The judgment will establish a precedent for similar cases as a significant source of European human rights jurisprudence.

The judgment also sets an important turning point as it provides a reply to the exploitation of history and law for political motives.