Today's Zaman, Turkey
Jan 2 2012

Turks in Russia condemn French bill

0 2 January 2012 / TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES, ?─?░STANBUL

Dozens of people from Turkey and the Azerbaijani diaspora living in
the Russian city of St. Petersburg staged a protest outside the city's
French Consulate-General on Saturday to protest the French
parliament's vote on a bill criminalizing denial of the alleged
Armenian genocide, the Cihan news agency reported Monday.

Close to 100 protestors waved placards and banners with messages
condemning France's decision to pass the bill and chanted slogans
condemning French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Armenian President
Serzh Azati Sargsyan.

The protest, which was organized by the International Diaspora Center
(IDC), was supported by minorities in St. Petersburg from a number of
Turkic-speaking nations, including Turkey, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan
and Uzbekistan.

Speaking at the protest, the group's chairman, ?─?░smail A?─?ayev, said the
group had gathered to defend their freedom and condemn France's
decision to pass such a bill. `We want to make a show of solidarity
and friendship with our Turkish brothers,' he said.

Protestors also demanded that France be removed as one of the
co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group. The OSCE Minsk Group, which was
created in 1992 by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE) to encourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the
conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the landlocked region
Nagorno-Karabakh, is currently co-chaired by representatives from
France, the US and Russia.

At the end of the protest, which passed uneventfully, protestors
issued a letter of complaint and condemnation to a representative of
the consulate.

From: Baghdasarian