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POLITICS > Ankara urges Paris not to take dangerous step

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News

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Turkey called on France yesterday to refrain from taking a dangerous step in a fresh warning ahead of a vote at the French Senate on the bill outlawing the denial of Armenian “genocide.” 

“I hope France will not take a dangerous step,” said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to a group of reporters at Parliament. The French Senate is set to discuss Jan. 23 the bill which was earlier approved by French Parliament. The Senate will either drop the bill from the agenda or will pave the way for a vote before its recess in late February. 

The Turkish government has launched fresh efforts to kill the bill at the Senate as in 2006. Turkish Ambassador Tahsin Burcuoğlu was recalled for consultations after the initial approval of the bill, which stipulates a one year jail sentence and a 45,000 euro fine for those who deny the 1915 events amounted to genocide. 

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the government will communicate with French investors based in Turkey to discuss ways to stop the process in France. In addition to eight sanctions Turkey has imposed against France, Turkey is planning to issue more measures, including economic and trade measures. 
The government and Foreign Ministry will increase their pressure on the French government to kill the bill at Senate. However, it is believed the bill will much more likely be approved by the Senate this time as both the ruling and oppositional parties cannot dare oppose the bill. 

In the meantime, the Ankara Municipality’s assembly has approved a proposal to rename Paris Street, where the French Embassy is located, to Algeria Street. It will also rename De Gaulle Street after an Algerian national hero and erect a monument dedicated to the Algerian “genocide” near the French Embassy.

Erdoğan yesterday responded to a recent warning from the Algerian prime minister that Turkey should not use the French colonial era of Algeria as political capital. Erdoğan said he has no intention of launching a polemic with the Algerian government. “The Algerian people know very well what Turkey means. And the Algerian opposition expressed this very well. What is appropriate for a government is to listen to its people’s sentiments.” 

January/11/2012

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