French historian in legal struggle with ASALA over defamation

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 20.10.2017 20:21

French historian Maxime Gauin, who researches Turkish-Armenian cases and supports Turkey's cause, filed a lawsuit against two members of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) terrorist organization currently living in France on defamation and insulting.

Gauin, an academic at the Center for Eurasian Studies (AVIM), filed a lawsuit against Ara Toranyan and Samuel Tilbiyan for humiliating and insulting him. Gauin says he is seeking justice against people who tried to stop him from publishing his work because his writing is pro-Turkey.

Asserting that he is seeking his right of freedom of expression, Gauin said: "Due to pressure in France, I was obliged to leave for Turkey in 2011. I started speaking about Turkey's just case everywhere." He added: "This situation annoyed Armenian diaspora nationalists. Thus, I had to file a complaint against threats and attacks by ASALA militants." Gauin said that Armenian nationalists in France have been attempting to suppress freedom of expression in relation to the events of 1915 for a long time.

Gauin told Daily Sabah that the Armenian diaspora has been trying to tilt French politics in a bid to deteriorate Turkish- French relations. "The main activities of Armenian nationalists in France have focused during the last 15 years on attempts to penalize free speech concerning 1915, on support for Armenians and the self-proclaimed Republic of Karabakh and on the deterioration of bilateral relations with Ankara, " Gauin said. "My suit is the new step in this regard," he added.

Gauin went on to say that he had been compared to Holocaust deniers in France following pressure by Armenian lobbies. "In 2010, I won a case against a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation who compared me to the fascists sending Jews to Auschwitz. Now, I have a case with Ara Toranyan and Sam Tilbiyan. They try to accuse me of denying the genocide of Jews," Gauin said. He asserted: "Holocaust denial is a crime in France, but my historical theses are not." He said that he is optimistic about the future on the grounds that "the Constitutional Council and the European Court of Human Rights (Perinçek v. Switzerland) made a clear distinction between Holocaust denial and rejection of Armenian genocide allegations." He said that he expects a new victory for free speech. The decision has been adjourned until Nov. 28.

ASALA arranged a number of attacks against Turkish diplomats in foreign countries between 1973 and 1986, when 31 Turkish diplomats were murdered. In addition, nine, including a German, an American and seven Turkish citizens, were killed in a terrorist attack at Ankara's Esenboğa Airport in 1982.

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