Hollande Stands By Armenian Genocide Law


Eyewitness News

July 9 2012

PARIS – French President Francois Hollande will stand by a campaign
pledge to make it illegal to deny that the killing of Armenians by
Ottoman Turks in 1915 was genocide, his office said, days after his
foreign minister said the law had been abandoned.Relations between
Paris and Ankara had begun to thaw after a decision in February by
France’s constitutional court to strike down the genocide denial
law as contrary to free speech.Turkey had cancelled all economic,
political and military meetings with France in December after the
French parliament voted in favour of the draft law.At a joint news
conference last week, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said
the law was unlikely to be resurrected and Turkish Foreign Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu hailed the opening of a warmer phase in relations
with France.But Hollande’s office said on Monday the president
would stand by his pledge, made to French Armenians while on the
campaign trail ahead of his election in May.”The position is very
clear, the commitment will be met,” a source at Hollande’s office
said.Asked about Hollande’s decision, Turkish President Abdullah Gul
said Ankara was not prepared to act on unconfirmed reports and said
recent meetings in Paris had been positive.”We will follow it and
let’s see what the result will be,” he said.Given the likelihood that
the constitutional court would reject a new law, weekly newspaper
JDD reported that Hollande’s government was examining alternative
legal means, including penalising denial via official decree.Armenia,
backed by many historians, says about 1.5 million Christian Armenians
were killed in what is now eastern Turkey during World War One in a
deliberate policy of genocide ordered by the Ottoman government.Turkey
says there was heavy loss of life on both sides during the fighting
in which Armenian partisans supported invading Russian forces. The
Ottoman Empire collapsed after the war. Successive Turkish governments
and the vast majority of Turks feel the charge of genocide is an
insult to their nation.Turkey hopes Hollande’s election might mean
France is more open to its joining the European Union than under his
conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, but has so far received no
public support for its EU bid from Paris.


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