French Senate Passes Armenian Genocide Bill; Turkey Outraged


Voice of America
Jan 23 2012

The French Senate has passed a bill making it a crime to deny that the
mass killings of Armenians by Turks nearly 100 years ago were genocide.

France’s lower house of parliament passed the bill last month, and
President Nicholas Sarkozy is likely to sign it into law.

It says anyone who says killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks is
not genocide faces a $60,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

Turkey calls the French Senate decision a great injustice and says it
shows a lack of respect for Turkey. Armenian Foreign Minister Edward
Nalbandian says the day will be written in gold in the history of
the protection of human rights.

Turkey had warned of what it said would be permanent sanctions if
the Senate passed the bill.

Turkey recalled its ambassador to France when the lower house passed
it. Turkey also banned the French navy from using its territorial
waters and restricted French military jets using its airspace.

The French foreign ministry called on Turkey not to overreact. It
says France considers Turkey a “very important ally.”

Armenia says troops of Turkey’s Ottoman empire killed 1.5 million
Armenians during World War I, constituting a genocide. Turkey says
the Armenians were killed along with many others because of civil
war. It also says the number of Armenian deaths has been exaggerated.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused France of
committing genocide in Algeria more than 60 years ago. He said French
colonialists massacred 15 percent of Algeria’s population starting
in 1945. He also accused Mr. Sarkozy of pandering to the hundreds
of thousands of French citizens of Armenian descent heading into his
re-election bid this year.

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