Sarkozy already reportedly asked his government on Tuesday to draft a new version of the law. The French Constitutional Council ruled on Tuesday that the law, which had soured relations between Paris and Ankara, ran against the principles of freedom of expression written into France's founding documents.
“The President of the Republic considers that [genocide] denial is intolerable and must therefore be punished,” his office wrote in a statement. “He has asked the government to prepare a new draft taking into account the decision of the Constitutional Council.”
According to the French media, his socialist rival, Hollande, also said he promises to bring the bill back onto the agenda if he is elected president. Noting that drafting a new bill is currently difficult as presidential elections approach, he added, however, that he is determined to keep his promises and draft a new bill if elected.
Stating that Armenians in France expect the approval of such a bill, Hollande also said Turkey should not think of the bill as targeting it.
Armenia, backed by many historians and Parliaments in several countries, says about 1.5 million Armenians were killed in what is now eastern Turkey during World War I in a deliberate policy of genocide ordered by the Ottoman government. The Ottoman Empire dissolved after the end of the war, but successive Turkish governments and the vast majority of Turks take the charge of genocide as a direct insult to their national pride. Ankara argues that there was a heavy loss of life on both sides during fighting in the area.
In Ankara, Turkish President Abdullah Gül told reporters on Wednesday that French Constitutional Council’s decision regarding the genocide-denial bill “rescued France” and its prestige.
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said in Ankara that the council corrected what he said “coup to French history.”
“We have witnessed rule of law, ethic values in France. ... [Constitutional Council] did what it was supposed to do,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters on Wednesday.