Turkish-Azerbaijani Union Chair Convicted of Anti-Armenian Statements in Holland
THE HAGUE/ALMELO, Netherlands—A Netherlands court on Friday convicted the chairman of the Turkish-Azerbaijani Cultural Association Ilhan Askin for inciting violence against Armenians. The Armenian community in the Netherlands, namely the Dutch Armenian Committee for Justice and Democracy (Armenian National Committee of Netherlands/ANC-Netherlands) an the Federation of Armenian Organisations in the Netherlands (FAON) welcomes the verdict, as it puts a halt to the aggression against the Armenian minority in the Netherlands and elsewhere.
He was prosecuted for making anti-Armenian remarks “Karabakh will be the grave of the Armenians” during a Turkish rally in the Netherlands city of Almelo.
The court decided to convict the man with a more severe punishment than the prosecutor had demanded. He was sentenced with 120 hours of community service and one month of suspended imprisonment with probation of 2 years. The prosecutor demanded 80 hours of community service and a suspended imprisonment of 2 weeks with probation of 2 years.
The more severe punishment is necessary according to the court, because of the seriousness of the crime and the way that it occurred. Askin also referred to the fact that he stands by his statement and did not show any insight in the case. Furthermore, there is a danger of recidivism.
On June 1, 2014 a Turkish demonstration took place in Almelo against the Genocide memorial erected on the churchyard of the Armenian Apostolic Church in that city. The Armenian community, spearheaded by the ANC-Netherlands and the FAON, had filed a police report against the statements made during the demonstration.
“We welcome this conviction by the Dutch court to punish Ilham Askin of the Turkish-Azerbaijani Union. Chants like ‘Karabakh will be the grave of the Armenians’ have no place in the Netherlands, in Europe. This is a clear message to those who call for violence and hatred, be it in Sweden, in the Netherlands, or elsewhere. We will be very vigilant on this matter,” Chairman of the Kaspar Karampetian, President of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) told the Armenian Weekly.
“No Azerbaijani or Turk can make such anti-Armenian calls under the pretext of freedom of speech. We can congratulate our partners in Netherlands for bringing this issue to the court and finding a solution to that,” Karapetyan said.