Turkey warns France ties could be hit by Armenian genocide bill

Agence France Presse -- English
May 3, 2006 Wednesday 11:08 AM GMT

Turkey warned France Wednesday that bilateral ties could suffer if
the French parliament adopts a bill that would criminalize any denial
that Armenians massacred during World War I were victims of genocide.

"In our meetings (with French officials), we stress that adoption
of the bill could lead to irreparable damage in long-standing
Turkish-French ties and that this should not be allowed," foreign
ministry spokesman Namik Tan told a press conference here.

Tan said Ankara is doing everything it can to block the bill, adding
that the French government is doing the same.

The bill, expected to be voted later this month, provides for one
year's imprisonment and a 45,000 euro (57,000 dollar) fine for denying
that Armenians were victims of genocide, according to Turkish press
reports.

If adopted, it will follow a 2001 French decision that infuriated
Turkey by acknowledging that the mass killings in the dying days of
the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide.

Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in
orchestrated killings between 1915 and 1917 by Turks, as the Ottoman
Empire, modern Turkey's predecessor, was falling apart.

Turkey categorically rejects the claims, saying 300,000 Armenians and
at least as many Turks died in civil strife when the Armenians took
up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with Russian
troops invading Ottoman soil.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress