President Omar al-Bashir didn't say anything new. The Associated Press reported on Thursday that the chief executive of Sudan denied that his regime was carrying out a genocide, yes, a real genocide, against the blacks of Darfur, saying, in any case, that the number of dead was less than 300,000? Omar, sorry. Was it 250,000? Or do you want to keep the number down to no more than 200,000?

Bashir also promised to hold "free and fair" elections, just like those held in other Arab countries, I suppose.

Now, recall that Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of mass murder to exterminate a separable cohort of the population of his country. It is true that many, maybe most of Afrca's governments (and many, maybe most of the world's Arab governments, too) object to this indictment. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, a man who doubtless knows something about genocide, has announced that his country "will not be party to this new type of colonialism, slavery and imperialism." He doesn't mean the genocide. He means the charges brought by the I.C.C.

So what is new? What is new that Bashir made his comments in Turkey where he arrived as a guest. He could not enter the countries of Europe without risk of arrest. Does Turkey really want to be a member of the European Union, the member countries of which would not allow Bashir to step one inch on their sovereignty without arresting him?

Or is Muslim solidarity with genocidalists the ethical and legal standard that Turkey most respects? This is an urgent question for Istanbul and for Europe.