Ankara cool to French move on ‘genocide’
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius met Paris last week. AP photo
French President François Hollande’s promise to the strong Armenian diaspora to pass a law penalizing the denial of the Armenian genocide is seen an attempt to alleviate their concerns in the wake of the normalization of ties between Ankara and Paris.
“We pay more attention to the statement of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius,” a Turkish foreign ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday, obviously referring to a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers on July 5 in Paris. The meeting between Fabius and Ahmet Davutoğlu marked a new beginning between the two allies after their relations ruined during Nicholas Sarkozy’s presidency.
During the joint press conference, Fabius recalled that earlier attempt to penalize the denial of the genocide was annulled by the French Constitutional Council and severely hurt bilateral relations. He added that a fresh attempt at the Parliament would mean re-experiencing these bitter times.
Hollande confirmed on July 7 plans for a new law criminalizing denial of the Armenian genocide allegations, showing the rift between Elysee and the Cabinet. Hollande’s conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy had pushed ahead with a bill to criminalize denial of the Armenian genocide allegations, which passed the National Assembly in December 2011, but was canceled by a top constitutional court.
The Elysee Palace confirms
Hollande has clarified in a talk with representatives of the Armenian community from the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations of France (CCAF) that he will propose a similar law, the group said on July 7. “François Hollande has again expressed his willingness to propose a bill designed to curb the denial of the Armenian genocide, as he had said during his campaign and even before,” said the group.
The Elysee Palace confirmed the telephone conversation and told Agence France-Presse: “The president expressed his commitments during the campaign. He will keep them.” “There is no change, although we must find a path, a road that allows for a text that is consistent with the Constitution.”
“We are closely following the developments,” Turkish official said. “We have never thought that Socialists would ever consider bringing a similar law to the Parliament. They too would think of using it as a domestic political tool as this issue has already turned into an internal political issue.”