Turkey warns France ties could be hit by bill

3rd May 2006, Comments 0 comments

ANKARA, May 3, 2006 (AFP) - Turkey warned France Wednesday that bilateral ties could suffer if the French parliament adopts a bill that would criminalize any denial that Armenians massacred during World War I were victims of genocide.

ANKARA, May 3, 2006 (AFP) - Turkey warned France Wednesday that bilateral ties could suffer if the French parliament adopts a bill that would criminalize any denial that Armenians massacred during World War I were victims of genocide.

"In our meetings (with French officials), we stress that adoption of the bill could lead to irreparable damage in long-standing Turkish-French ties and that this should not be allowed," foreign ministry spokesman Namik Tan told a press conference here.

Tan said Ankara is doing everything it can to block the bill, adding that the French government is doing the same.

The bill, expected to be voted later this month, provides for one year's imprisonment and a 45,000 euro (57,000 dollar) fine for denying that Armenians were victims of genocide, according to Turkish press reports.

If adopted, it will follow a 2001 French decision that infuriated Turkey by acknowledging that the mass killings in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide.

Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings between 1915 and 1917 by Turks, as the Ottoman Empire, modern Turkey's predecessor, was falling apart.

Turkey categorically rejects the claims, saying 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with Russian troops invading Ottoman soil.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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