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Couchepin criticised for views on Armenian genocide

Pascal Couchepin is in trouble with the the Association Switzerland-Armenia for expressing sympathy for Turkey

(Keystone Archive)

The Swiss economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, has come under fire for expressing sympathy for Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide.

In a public letter, the Association Switzerland-Armenia accuses Couchepin of ignoring Turkish atrocities towards Armenians, which happened between 1915 and 1916.

During his three-day visit to Turkey last month, Couchepin said he respected "Turkey's sensibilities" and said the Armenian Genocide should be left to historians to discuss.

The "Young Turk" government of the Ottoman Empire carried out the Armenian Genocide between 1915-1916. Out of a total of two-and-a half million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, one-and -a-half million Armenians were killed.

Combating genocide

In their letter of April 22nd, the Association Switzerland-Armenia calls on the economics minister to define his position over protecting human rights and combating genocide.

The association also accused the economics minister of defaming the 114 parliamentarians, who signed a postulate for public recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and said his visit to Turkey would have been a good opportunity to show that the victim's dignity is as important as economic interests.

Couchepin's visit to Turkey on March 25 and 26, was mainly aimed at boosting trade relations between the two nations and assessing the state of economic reform within the country on the Bosporus.

swissinfo

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