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Turkey moves to lobby against Armenian genocide denial French bill

 
 
 
 
 
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A Turkish delegation has met with French officials in a last-minute attempt to prevent the passing of a bill by the French parliament that would criminalize the denial of the Armenian genocide, Press TV reports.

The Turkish delegation including lawmakers and businessmen held talks with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and President Nicolas Sarkozy’s foreign policy advisor Jean-David Levitte on the controversial bill.

They argued that the bill was an attempt to win support among voters of Armenian origin during the next French presidential election due in April next year.

The French parliament is expected to vote on whether to punish people who deny the mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during the World War I. If the bill becomes a law, deniers could face up to a year in prison and a fine of EUR 45,000.

Turkey says there has been no genocide, noting that the 500,000 of people who died between 1915 and 1917 were the casualties of World War I.

Armenians, however, insists the Ottomans deliberately perpetrated genocide and killed 3 times more than the figure.

France’s ruling party which is behind the bill has not changed its position since 2006 when a similar law without punishments came into effect.

“The question of the genocide is so strong, the proofs of the genocide are also so strong,” said Patrick Devedjian, a lawmaker of the governing UMP party in France.

Ankara has warned France against passing the bill, saying the country would retaliate by beginning to recount the colonial history of France to the world.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strongly criticized France over the bill.

Erdogan, in a news conference last week, said that “those who want to see genocide should turn round and look at their own dirty, bloody history.”

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  • Damien

    Armenians, who lived within Turkish borders for hundreds of years, decided to take advantage of weakened state of Turks at the end of the WW1 and start an uprising to burn villages and kill Turks, mostly woman and children. Even they deserved to be killed for what they done, Turks decided to move them away. Surely it wasn’t easy to move all of them in hard conditions of the winter and some (maybe most) died. Now they think Turks were unreasonably brutal to make that decision. And now they are making it a law to punish people that deny it was a hollocaust. Like Turks killed them systematically, just like Germans did to Jews. What am I missing here? Does this seem fair? Or the word fair has different meaning when treating people from other cultures, religion?

  • greg

    No law should ban freedom of speech.

    No one in today’s Turkey is to blabe for tha mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Soldiers (under commands of an Ottoman and German general).

    Armenian armed guerrillas have murdered (during WW-I in 1915) as many innocent Turks and Kurds.

    Armenia has a population of 1.5 million and this number was 500.000 in 1915. Armenians killed in 1915 is near 300 thousand.

    The number of Turks killed around WW-I is over 3.5 million.

    I dare you for making similar comments on the massacres of azeri Turks by Armenians, muslims by Sirbs, Palestinians by Jews etc.

  • Ohan Karagozian

    Libel is not a form of free speech that should be protected and libel should be punished. Denial of the Jewish Holocaust during WWII, the rotation of the planets around the Sun or the willful genocide of 1.5 million Armenians can only be argued to be false by people who are in denial. I believe that the utterance of nonsense, especially in light of overwhelming proof to the contrary, is a form of libel with intent to harm and should be punished.

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