International Islamic News Agency IINA
Dec 28 2011

Caucasus/Turkey: Caucasian Muslims Office: French decision targets
whole Turkic world
By IINA- December 28, 2011

BAKU, 2 Safar/28 Dec (IINA)- The Baku-based Caucasian Muslims Office
has said a recent decision of the French National Assembly to penalize
deniers of Armenian claims of genocide targets not only Turkey but the
whole Turkic world.

Caucasian Muslims Office Chairman Sheikh-ul-Islam Haji Allahshukur
Pashazadeh issued a written statement on Wednesday in which he
strongly criticized last week's French move to make it a crime to deny
that the World War I-era mass killings of Armenians constituted
genocide. Stating that the decision was taken against not only Turkey
but also Azerbaijan and the whole Turkic world, he said the approval
of the bill, `which was taken under the influence of the Armenian
lobby in France, is dangerous and against democracy.'

Noting that the decision `fails to strengthen peace and justice,
distorts history and plants seeds of hate,' he said the French move
would `lead to gross damage and tragedy.'

Stating that the decision cast a shadow on France's impartiality in
the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute as a member of the Minsk Group, he called
on France to approach such issues objectively.

France, along with the US and Russia, co-chairs the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group, which has
been trying to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute since the 1990s but
has thus far failed to provide a viable solution to the issue.

Pashazadeh also called on French President Nicolas Sarkozy and members
of the senate to strike down the bill.

The lower house of the French parliament voted last week in favor of
the controversial bill penalizing the denial of the alleged Armenian
genocide, ignoring massive Turkish protests against the measure.

The bill sets a punishment of up to a year in prison and a fine of
45,000 Euros ($59,000) for those who deny or `outrageously minimize'
the alleged genocide of Armenians in eastern Anatolia during the final
years of the Ottoman Empire, putting such action on par with denial of
the Holocaust.

The measure now needs to be passed in the senate, the upper house of
parliament, before it will come into effect.