(AP) - Swiss authorities brought a third charge against a Turkish politician for allegedly breaking Switzerland's racial discrimination laws by denying that the killings of Armenians around the time of World War I was a genocide, police said Monday.
Dogu Perincek, the leader of the Turkey's Workers' Party, made the remarks Sunday in a speech in central Switzerland, Bern cantonal (state) police said in a statement. He already had been charged twice by Swiss authorities for two previous, similar incidents.
Denying that the Holocaust or other cases of genocide took place is regarded as racial discrimination under Swiss law, and can be punished by up to three years in prison and an unspecified fine.
"Based on the fact that, in the course of his address, Dogu Perincek denied the Armenian genocide and expressed prejudices against the western world, the Bern cantonal police has put down a complaint because of suspicion of racial discrimination," the police statement said.
Perincek will be questioned Tuesday by police in neighboring Vaud canton, where he already is under investigation for similar remarks made in May, Bern police spokeswoman Anastasia Falkner said. Swiss authorities launched a second investigation into Perincek in July for making similar remarks in northern Switzerland, and Perincek was briefly detained after that speech. Turkey called the Swiss ambassador to the Foreign Ministry to protest Perincek's detention and investigation.
Similar disputes have erupted in the past between Turkey and Switzerland. In June, a Turkish Cabinet minister postponed a visit to Switzerland to protest an investigation of a Turkish historian who denied in a separate speech that the killings were genocide. In July, Turkey canceled a proposed visit by Swiss Economics Minister Joseph Deiss because of "schedule clashes," Deiss's spokesman said.
In a separate development, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said Friday it "greeted with sadness" the passage by a U.S. congressional committee of two resolutions that denounce the deaths of Armenians early last century as genocide, and hoped U.S. legislators would not allow the resolutions out of committee.
"In the period ahead, we believe that members of the U.S. Congress will act with a responsibility befitting the Turkish-American relationship, and strongly hope that the resolutions will stay in the committee and not be carried to the floor," the statement said.