PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed on Tuesday that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is inciting racism and Islamophobia in France in order to get re-elected in the upcoming presidential elections. Erdoğan said resorting to xenophobia, particularly Islamophobia, to win elections is very irresponsible.
Depicting a recent bill Sarkozy’s center-right UMP initiated seeking to penalize the denial of Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as an act inciting the French to xenophobia, Erdoğan said the current president adopted a more aggressive stance after the bill was passed into law but then overruled by the French Constitutional Council, which deemed it unconstitutional. Erdoğan said the council had corrected a historic mistake by cancelling the law.
Valerie Boyer, a deputy from the UMP, initiated the genocide bill criminalizing the denial of the so-called Armenian genocide in December 2011. The bill was approved in the lower house of the French Parliament and in the French Senate in January. However, the constitutional council deemed it unconstitutional, stating that it violated the freedom of expression.
“Sarkozy is making xenophobia a matter of domestic politics, and issuing threatening remarks against foreigners in his country. This is in violation of the EU’s universal values and fundamental principles,” Erdoğan said. The French presidential elections will take place between April and May.