17 April 2014, Thursday
Today's Zaman

France ignores Turkish warnings, passes Armenian 'genocide' bill

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23 January 2012, Monday /TODAYSZAMAN.COM
French Senate voted late for Monday a controversial bill making it a crime to deny the 1915 killings of Armenians was a genocide, ignoring warnings from Turkey that passage of the legislation would lead to new sanctions.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned hours before the French Senate debate on the denial bill that runs a high risk of wrecking Turkish-French ties that the bill could provoke reactions from “hundreds of thousands” if it passes through the senate, pledging Turkey would reciprocate a senate approval in its own determined fashion. 

“We see tens of thousands of our brothers, our kin, gathered in Paris, which proves how strong a reaction the bill will receive [in the event it passes as law],” Erdoğan told reporters earlier on Monday, referencing demonstrations in France over the weekend against the bill. The bill seeks punishment for anyone who refuses to term the killings of Armenians in 1915 by Ottoman Empire as genocide, on the grounds that such a rejection is equal to making racist and xenophobic remarks and can spark hatred in French society.

“This decision is very wrong,” Tahsin Burcuoğlu, Turkey’s ambassador to France, said minutes after the vote. “We are not responsible for this. We did what we could,” he added, referring to impending damage to Turkish-French ties.

Turkey already suspended military, economic and political ties when the lower house of French parliament passed the bill last month.

Erdoğan announced on Monday that Turkey had “decisions to make in response to the decision the French Senate is going to make today,” signaling Turkey is readying to counter the French move with unspecified measures.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also had warned France that Turkey is ready to take new measures against Paris, in a last-ditch push to fend off the bill.

Turkey briefly recalled its ambassador to Paris and suspended military, economic and political ties when the bill was passed in France's lower house last month. Forty-thousand Turks from all over Europe gathered in Paris on Saturday to raise their voice against the Senate debate, hoping the Senate might drop the bill off the agenda or vote against it.

“The steps we will take in case the bill passes as law have already been determined,” Davutoğlu was quoted as saying by Anatolia, but he did not elaborate on what those steps might include.

"Turkey will continue to implement sanctions as long as this bill remains on the table," Davutoğlu stated. "We hope, however, this won't be necessary, and common sense will reign in the French Senate."

The foreign minister had earlier voiced late Sunday evening Turkey's determination to respond to the bill, saying his country would take “new and permanent” measures against France in the event French senators do not reject the bill. His message appeared to be a response to critics who claimed Turkey vowed measures against France in 2001 when the French Senate recognized the incidents of 1915 as “Armenian genocide” perpetrated by Ottoman Turks, but they didn't amount to anything. “Turkey is not what it was in 2001,” he noted, with clear reference to his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) assumption of leadership of Turkish politics in 2003, which changed the way the country behaved.

Similarly, AK Party Deputy Chairman Ömer Çelik said on Monday measures against France would be permanent, not temporary, if the bill passes. Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also stated, "It is clear relations between Turkey and France will not be the same," Anatolia reported.

The measure now needs to be signed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose party proposed it, to become a law, something seen by many a mere formality.

Contrary to the French argument, Turkey has been fighting the bill, saying that such a move would mean blocking freedom of expression in France and take away Turks' right to defend their ancestors against the alleged crime of genocide, a claim Turkey takes as an insult to its identity.

“The issue they [the French Senate] are debating now is foremost in denial of freedoms France has laid a claim on up until today,” Erdoğan was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as telling reporters, as he suggested the bill would also be contradictory to human rights and could spark demonstrations from “hundreds of thousands of people,” who would react to the French move.

Erdoğan may not visit France if bill passes

In response to reporters' questions, Erdoğan raised the possibility on Monday that his future visits to France might fall under question due to passage of the bill. A day prior to Erdoğan's remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç speculated the French bill could jeopardize visits from senior Turkish officials to France. Arınç rhetorically asked what French officials would do if Erdoğan said, “1915 is not genocide,” during a visit to France. French President Nicolas Sarkozy noted in a recent letter he sent to Erdoğan that the law would only affect French citizens and be applicable in France, to dismiss speculations senior Turkish officials might fall victim to the controversial bill during their visits to France.

‘A new era of Inquisition’

Meanwhile, the European Democratic and Social Rally (RDSE) in the French Senate defined the bill as "dangerous and unnecessary," Anatolia reported on Monday. RDSE's group chairman Jacques Mézard and member Jean-Michel Baylet held a joint press conference on Monday and said they would vote "no" on the bill.

The bill sets a punishment of up to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for those who deny or "outrageously minimize" the killings -- putting such action on par with denial of the Holocaust.

France formally recognized the 1915 killings as genocide in 2001 but provided no penalty for anyone who rejected it.

Turkey maintains there was no systematic campaign to kill Armenians and that many Turks also died during the chaotic disintegration of the Ottoman Empire.

Turkey has argued the bill would compromise freedom of expression in France.

"European values are under threat," Davutoğlu said. "If each parliament takes decisions containing its own views of history and implements them, a new era of Inquisition will be opened in Europe."

"Those who voice views that exclude this view of history will be jailed," he said. "It would, unfortunately, be a great shame for France to revive this."

Baris you have spoken the truth. Most historians who are well aware of the details of the Armenians fate have stamped the mass murder of Armenians as GENOCIDE without a shread of doubt. What will it take Turkey to acknowledge its crime? Nothing, as much as I understand, becasue politically it would ...
Ask yourself 2 questions and answer how were formed all these numerous Armenian diasporas in all the countries of the world ? why all Armenians unite and fight so desperately when genocide issue is on the table ?
Armen from Armenia
Dear Turks some of you are right ! Yes. we could solve our issues without interfeering 3rd countries by dialogue, but what you are doing , you closed borders with us and setting unlogical preconditions before us (to give Artsakh back to Azerbaidjan (and repeat it 10 times a day),...
Armen from Armenia
hassan keith
Whenever you say to the westerner mind "fight turks", they feel good about themselves.You find that kind of attitute in school plays, books as well. That's the only time, they feel connected with each other, adrenaline rushing over their body. That's insane. France's stand on the subject and draftin...
The sad thing is, instead of taking the initiative and bravely confronting her past, Turkey has allowed opportunists like Sarkozy to dictate the events for his own political gains. Facts speak for themselves. Armenians no longer live in the lands they've occupied for millenia because every man woman...
@Me ... wasting time is, i guess, another way of putting things off. the lack of urgency may be a cultural thing but i tend increasingly towards the view that this government is not sincere about key issues. it actions or lack of action have become a sort of populism.
tehlikeli yabanci
So they passed a bill in France. So what? This bill is as false as the ignorant people who passed it.
Turkey still slave of deep state
I think we should stop the recognition of France altogether. What an absolutely disgusting act of provocation. I for one will boycott any products or services French and I hope all Turks around the same do the same. The reaction from our government needs to be strong and decisive.
Oh my enemy! The day needs to the night I also needs to you.. Turkey will continiu to rise with the wind of Sakozy.. Short Sakozy's capricious and complex will convert to gangrene..! :)
Denying the Hodjali genocide, Algerian genocide and saying that the Armenian massacre was a genocide should be punished the same way in Turkey (up to 1 year prison and 45 000 E). None can condemn Turkey afterwards for doing that, after recent developments.
@ Mark LOL! Here comes the Israeli argument eventually, now it is getting really really ridiculous!
@Avik, you claim that the French bill is correct if you take into account that Turkey has a bill like 301. I think this is a backward understanding. Aren't they Europeans to urge Turkey such 301 bill should be remove in its penal code to be European? What about this stupid bill by French politicians...
@ Adam! I want a divorce! I can make up with many things, but not with dumbfold men!
@ Mark LOL! I knew somebody would bring in the Israeli as the real players of the strings! This argument is even a 1000 times moree stupid than the acting of the Turkish gov! If it was true you should be well advised to make peace with such an important and mighty nation as Israel! Shalom!
This is a bold move against the EU membership of Turkey. Noone try to propose to Turkey should bring this matter to ECtHR. They would not want to deal with such an issue despite France and find a way to urge Turkey to do so.
Tarkan Çetin
Its funny to listen to the greywolfs in Ankara that this law is a crime against freedom of speech and expression, while the same time hundreds of journalists in turkey are jailed just because they have done their job, lit. expressed their opinion or confessed the armenian genocide. turkey needs some...
I can't understand where the big fuzz is? Penalizing the denial of a genocide is the same as criminalizing the confession of a genocide (see turkish law). 2 sides of the same coin. The law passed the senate yesterday, says that denying any genocide which is recognized by the assembly is a crime. Thi...
michael furtwängler
@Hakan... okay okay, WHATEVER you say, 95% of the world historians are uneducated and stupid and you are the smart guy. You don't have a clue even for your OWN HISOTRY. Do you even know how Armenian nationalism was born? Do you think one day Armenians said lets become nationalists and raise arms? ...
Dear Mr. Sarkozy, please kindly withdraw your ambassador from a country which committed a so-called "genocidal crime" against so-called "poor" and "innocent" Armenians according to your purely biased and reactionary law. Thanks, Metin
Kindly withdraw your ambassador
I can only thank France for a very bold action. Thank you, we love you.
Actually lets let these miserables do whatever they want and wait to plead Turkey in comming days about middle east and their collapsing economy. it is The dwarf's last chance to be able to survive:)
It is amazing the French Senate did not chicken out. Turkey's shrill bullying behavior these days wins no friends in the West. And Obama plays Erdogan for a fool by stroking his enormous ego.
Bravo France. Finally someone has the nerve to show the world that Turkey can not dictate their policies. These pathetic and childish threats Turkey has been making over and over again is proof that Turkey does not deserve a place in Europe, does not deserve a place in the civilized world. Grow u...
So it is ok in France (and Western Europe as a whole!) to insult Rasulullah (Peace be Upon Him) under the banner of 'free speech' yet to discuss a clearly subjective (at best!) issue id now banned by law? 'Napoleon' Sarkozy is practically 'yesterday's man' in France. The French should have been far...
This shocking law puts an end to the French revolution, which has always been considered as perfect but was actually a series of occassions where lots of intellectuals were killed by arrogant French citizens. Europe is going through inevitable end both economically and diplomatically. Not even 500 t...
Now, let us see what atrocity France committed in north Africa, west Africa, and with the North Africa soldiers in the French army, do I need to say more. If your house is made of glass don't throw people with stones. Watch out France the Turks are coming. cheers!!!!!!
Who do the french think they're kidding? They committed genocide in algeria (they murdered over one million algerians), had a role in the genocide of the Native Americans, had a role in the slave strade, had a role in the genocide in rwanda, etc.
Viva La France and viva those countries whose decisions are not just politically and economic motivated!
Time for healing our strained relationship with our Armenian neighbors. My country has "every right" to complain about the passing of this bill, however, France a sovereign nation in Europe has every right to pass any bill at will, they don't have to answer to answer to our prime minister, nor our f...
Mine Ozcelik Bagrationi
In other news, "Number of skulls found in Diyarbakır rises to 19"... Hmm...
Turkey has nobody but themselves to blame for items like this. By refusing to confront the events of 1915 in an open way, by continuing the century of denial, Turkey has made themselves a target for seekers of truth in the world. The chickens have all come home to roost in Turkey, but it's nobody's ...
What I am having diffuculy to understand is that why 70 million of Turks is less importand then a 500k armenian living in the country all that hard work time and money spend to stop the bill was wasted in conclusion I would say this is big faulire for Turkish EU relation and beyond....
Given that the EU is bankrupt and the only countries that are keeping it up are France, Germany and England-this bill will make it much harder for France. It has lost billions in revenue thanks to interfering in historical events that don't involve it. Bad move Sarkozy.
The millions of Turks across Europe and particularly in France need to openly reject the genocide bill in protest. What are the French going to do? Fine and imprison 40,000 Turks? I'd like to see that happen!
There is time to speak and there is time to act. Turks have spoken, france ignored every argument. Now it is time to act for Turkey. Punishing thought in Europe is a huge crime and it is not moral. Turks have the right to take any action.
I think this law is stupid... but I'm glad its passed. NOW Turks can see and feel how it is to be politically and racially pressured. All that you have done to other minorities such as the Armenians, Greeks and KURDS now will be played back at you. It seems like only now you can see how stupid your ...
Comments by the Turkish officials are ironic and comical... In Turkey, they imprison journalists yet they talk about the importance of freedom of speech in France. Remember, when you're pointing a finger at someone, how many fingers are pointed towards you...
Merci La France!!!
If the outcome that is the stated desire of the Turkish MFA was what they said they wanted, the approach to France would have been very different. The AKP will try to boost it Nationalist credentials at the cost of resolving the underlying issues. The longer resolution waits, the higher the cost.
Jack Kalpakian
This is the victory of Armenians, voice of the Genocide victims, All human rights loving peaceful people, overall it is ALSO the victory of Turks who are wise, those who have human conscience and heart, and know the history objectively and not fabricated by denialist successive Governement, and thos...
Truth can not be killed! Armenian Genocide is an establish fact. Does Turkey expect that foreign politicians and historian visit the city of Van in east Turkey to talk to the local Armenian population and convinced them that promised reforms being implemented?? Turkey is acting sullen, childish an...
The Truth
Turkey must come clean with her past history and rewrite it for the sake of her own population. Turkish people should know about forced Turkification of Armenians, Massacres they committed and destructions they caused. So why not to recognize and make an apology.
Kaj vardan
What would happen, if the Turkish President says 1915 is not a genocide?
think about
While Turkey has drawn Western praise as a model of Muslim democracy, particularly in the wake of the Arab Spring, Turkish human rights advocates worry that the government has increasingly sought to repress freedom of speech and the press, jailing dozens of journalists, publishers and distributers, ...
Don't go off the deep end folks. There is a lot of idiots out there with idiot opinions. Be strategically professional not emotional. Let them play their game, be patient.
Turkish Canadian
In Turkey, the public affirmation of the Armenian genocide is treated as a crime, on the premise that it is an insult to Turkish identity. In March, the writer Orhan Pamuk was fined about $3,670 by a Turkish court for his statement in a Swiss newspaper that Turkey had killed “30,000 Kurds and one mi...
I categorically refute and deny any genocide against the Armenian's. I have studied it from different viewpoints and perspectives, so although I am biased, I still maintain that I have made an informed decision. However, our (Turkish) response to the French has been bullying and attempting to influe...
For almost 100 years you could deny the Armenian Genocide in France and now you still can but if you do you will pay a fine and might end up in jail because you are denying a fact. In Turkey, you will go to jail under article 301 or get killed like Mr. Dink for mentioning the fact of the Genocide fr...
Saaten Maagar
Behind this bill was Israel, and Israel wants Turkey to have siplit in Nato,and if Turks show retaliation than French company who is building the sattalite GokTurks with Italians will be cancelled that what Israel wanted all alone, this is a war started by way of deception against Turksy by Israel n...
Well done France!!!!!!!
Serouj Baghdassarian
in many ways i think a good poke in the eye is what Turkey's leadership needs. maybe they did not get it that they were gonna look like mice over their failures to apologize over Uludere and their mealie mouthed excuses over the Hrant Dink murder verdict. instead of baying like dogs over this french...
tehlikeli yabanci
Great work France! Turkey, threatren all you want, you cant tell other democracies greater or smaller than you what to do. If you want to be respected, learn how to respect first. You are not boss of world, nobody is. Get rid of 301, stop suing and jailing journalists, speak truth and maybe then you...
FRance did not pass the bill. The democractically elected members of the senate did, in a democratic fashion, and there were about 85 that opposed the bill. This is real democracy, and it is something Turkey needs to come to terms with if it aspires toi join EU.
Jew President of Christian France serve ISRAEL..!
France crashes in the hands of a capricious madman..!
why is france interested with ARMENİA problems?? if france wants to give democracy.... so what about ALGERİA? france we all know that u do this for elections.. armenia can deal with problems itself... no need you!!!!
ilda cakmakciyan
Why is the AKP wasting valuable time "planning" how they will react to France, when there is plenty to do at home--new constitution, Kurdish issue and on and on...
Armenian nationalist killed their neighbours in east Turkey, like Serbs massacred Bosnians. When the Ottoman army withdraw from before the arrival of Russian army, the radical ARMENIANS killed and murdered poor muslim citizens in east Turkey..why because of their greed for Land.. Besides France h...
Turkey has made a big fuss of this issue thus making the situation worse for its image in the world. If you followed the discussion in the French Senate ( the way I am following the debate live now) you would see the impact it is making on the French public opinion.The threats made by Turkey this ha...
Revolution ala France....a new revolution is happening in France... A LIE A PROPAGANDA OF RADICAL ARMENIAN NATIONALIST, will be imposed upon FRENCH PEOPLE. this only in possilbe in France...great..let us do true and real LAWS..let us pass the genocide bill of our poor beloved ALGERIAN PEOPLE, letter...
Turkey should close the Renault Plant in Bursa Turkey. Nobody with any sense should be buying that kind of junk anyway, French design and French owned!!!
Turkey invests great time and effort, issues many threats and ultimatums, trying to avoid responsibility for a Genocide which most of the world has accepted as fact. Do you have any idea how these statements from Davutoglu are perceived in the rest of the world? It is long past time for Turkey to 'c...
Erdogan needs to learn that his threats will damage Turkey more than it already has. The man does not know how to speak and is beginning to sound the same as Iranians.
This is so incredible insane that one wonders when PM and FM of Turkey will be forced to resign. Europe is NOT the recipient of Turkeys orders and blackmail is one of the ugliest methods to be applied!
And what about French history? What about the French genocide of 2 million Algerians? or the fact that it tried to reintroduce slavery in Haiti after it was abolished. What about the torture techniques it used on North Africans to gain control of Algeria
I suppose the french and European politicians are sitting idly by and not considering their own retaliatory measures. I think there is much more thinking power in France and the EU states than there is ever likely to be in Turkey. Let's start first with tourism and then with immigration!
There are always problems, but those who admit and solve are better than dictaor murderers -- like Zain Abdin of Tunisia, Musharaf of Pakistan who sold the nation to the crusaders, or Mubarak the servant of Israel. They ruled and ruling for the last 30 years but no improvement in the lives of the pe...
muradali shaikh
I traveled in Eastern Turkey last year. I went thru at least three different cultures Turkey has real ethnic and freedom of religion problems. As long a person does not actually have freedom speak or practice their religion as they will or open churches the attempt by the current Turkish government ...
Douglas West
When Davatoglu is issuing a warning like this, I hope that he has really thought through a) how long will this be valid? b) how will this effect how Turkey is viewed by France and the rest of the world and c) what potential problems can this conflict lead to for Turkey in the future if we make enemi...
Chess player
Mr Davutoghly, it is a universal true that only that person must be blamed for his successes and failures. How come the country's FM who fails to find out the true organisers of Hrant Dink murder and still having Article 301 in the panel code can blame others for "... thretened European values"?
the only thing that i can say nobody can tell to france what to do (viv la france)
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