Today's Zaman , Turkey
Jan 3 2012


Turkish envoy to return to Paris to block Senate approval of genocide bill


January 2012 / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,


Turkey plans to send its ambassador to France, who was recalled to
Ankara for consultations in the wake of French Parliament's approval
of a bill seeking to penalize denial of the alleged Armenian genocide,
back to Paris to step up efforts to prevent the approval of the bill
by the senate, the Turkish media reported on Tuesday.
Reports citing Turkish diplomatic sources say Turkey's move to recall
its ambassador, Tahsin Burcuo─?lu, does not mean it is downgrading
diplomatic ties with Paris as he was recalled simply for consultation.
Since the bill has not yet been enacted, Turkey will make the utmost
effort to prevent the law from becoming law, the same sources said.

The lower house of French Parliament voted last month in favor of a
controversial bill penalizing those who deny that the 1915 killing of
Armenians by Ottoman Turks was 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 an action on par with denial of the Holocaust.

The measure now needs to be passed in the Senate, the upper house of
French Parliament, before it will come into effect. It is up to the
French government to either put the bill on the Senate's agenda or
not. If the Senate, which will take a recess on Feb. 22 for April's
presidential elections, does not discuss the bill until Feb. 22, the
fate of the bill will be dependent of the new government to be formed
after June's legislative elections.

The disputed genocide of 1915 has been a matter of a fuming discussion
between Turks and Armenians, as Armenians claim that Ottoman Turks
carried out a systematic mass murder of Armenians with the aim of
eradicating them in the country. Turks say Armenians were deported
when they took up arms against the state at a time of chaos as the
Ottoman Empire crumbled and modern-day Turkey's founders fought a
political and armed war against foreign forces trying to take over the
country. Turkey's asserts that most of the casualties occurred as
deported Armenians were en route to various destinations due to the
extreme circumstances, but Armenians allege that the deaths were
intentional.

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