Turkey Condemns Passage Of Armenia Genocide Bill In France



Jan 24 2012

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey strongly on Monday condemned the French
Senate’s passage of a bill outlawing denial of the Armenian genocide,
slamming it as irresponsible and disrespectful while vowing to take
retaliatory steps.

“We strongly condemn this decision which is… an example of
irresponsiblity,” the foreign ministry said in a written statement,
adding that the government would not hesitate to swiftly implement
retaliatory measures.

The French senators on Monday approved the contentious bill that
criminalises any denial of the Armenian genocide, despite vows from
a furious Turkey that it would punish Paris with “permanent” sanctions.

When France’s lower house passed the bill last month, Ankara froze
political and military ties with Paris and promised further measures
if the bill was passed by the Senate.

The bill must now be signed by President Nicolas Sarkozy – whose
right-wing UMP party put forward the measure – for it to become law.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to publicise Ankara’s
possible retaliatory measures against Paris during an address to his
fellow deputies in parliament on Tuesday.

“The decision made by the Senate is a great injustice and shows total
lack of respect for Turkey,” Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin told the
CNN-Turk television in immediate reaction after the French Senate vote.

Turkey maintains the 1915 killings of Armenians during the Ottoman
Empire did not amount to genocide.

“France opened a black page in its history,” said Volkan Bozkir,
the head of the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee,
in a Twitter message.

The foreign ministry statement said bilateral relations between the
two NATO allies were the victim of political concerns, an apparent
reference to the upcoming presidential election in France.

“This is profoundly an unfortunate step,” it said.

“Politicising the understanding of justice and history through other
people’s past and damaging freedom of expression in a tactless manner
are first and foremost a loss for France.”

France has already recognised the killings as a genocide, but the
new bill would go further, by punishing anyone who denies this with
a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros (S$72,618).


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