Turkey and France in growing confrontation over French ‘genocide bill’
Turkey and France traded barbs Thursday, with the Turkish ambassador recalled from Paris. Turkey also suspended all bilateral political, economic and military cooperation.
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"Laws voted in this chamber cannot be dictated by Ankara," said Jean-Christophe Lagarde, a deputy from the New Center party, the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reports.Skip to next paragraph
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The author of the bill, Valerie Boyer, a deputy from Sarkozy’s Union For Popular Movement Party (UMP), said her bill “is inspired by European law, which says that the people who deny the existence of the genocides must be sanctioned” and criticized Turkey’s threats, according to Today’s Zaman.
Although there is little consensus, Armenians say that about 1.5 million people were killed during the mass deportations of 1915-16. The Turkish government acknowledges the death of many Armenians, yet, it denies that Ottoman forces deliberately exterminated them. Turkey considers the numbers as inflated and says that Turks were also killed due to the upheaval that followed the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire.
"I condemn the French parliament, which passed this bill meaning betrayal of history and historical truth," wrote the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc on his Twitter account, Turkey’s Hurriyet reports.
"The French parliament... dimmed out history and truth by approving the bill," Arinc added.
The Armenian foreign minister, Edward Nalbandian, applauded the initiative, saying France "reconfirmed its high place of being the cradle of human rights and once again proved its commitment to universal human values," CNN reports.
"The French people showed that human rights are highest value, and today by adopting this bill, reconfirmed that crimes against humanity do not have a period of prescription and their denial must be absolutely condemned," Nalbandian said.
Zaman columnist Bulent Kenes said the bill constitutes a violation of universal freedom of thought and expression and urged France to first delve into her own history. Kenes, referring to Sarkozy said, “Given his now-well-established interest in creating dogmas via political and legal means over controversial incidents of the past, he should have turned a critical eye to France’s unquestionable colonial past instead of peering into Turkey’s dubious history.”