EUROPE > French senate approves bill criminalizing 'genocide' rejection


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The bill was accepted by 127 votes.

The bill was accepted by 127 votes.

The French Senate has approved yesterday a bill that criminalizes the denial of Armenian genocide claims despite a furious Turkey vowing to punish Paris with “permanent” sanctions. 

France’s lower house voted to make such denials a crime last month, prompting Turkey to suspended military, economic and political ties. 

The bill is now on the fast track to becoming law after 127 senators voted in favor it. The bill needs formal approval by French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s signature. After Sarkozy approves the bill, it will be released in the official gazette and will then enter into force. 

French Minister of Relations with Parliament Patrick Ollier said the bill complied with French and EU laws. Ollier said two “genocides” are recognized by France. “Denial of Jewish genocide is penalized, [what we are doing here is to] make this possible for the Armenian genocide as well,” said Ollier. 

Constitution Commission head Jean Pierre Sueur said the bill is against the constitution speaking after Ollier at the Senate before the voting. 

“I am not speaking here on behalf of a party, I am addressing you on behalf of the commission,” said Sueur, adding that the Constitutional Commission agreed that this bill was unconstitutional with 23 votes against nine votes. Sueur recalled a former decision of the Senate which rejected a similar bill last year. He also said a research report released by Parliament in 2008 saying that the parliaments should not write history. He referred to prominent French historian Pierre Nora’s statements stating that “the parliamentarians cannot write history,” Anatolia news agency reported.  

Turkish people demonstrate against vote session for a bill
criminalizing the denial of the Armenian genocide. ABACA 

Senator Isabelle Pasquet, who made her speech on behalf of Communist group in the Senate, said the Constitutional Commission had only one week to write its report, adding that this was done by the ruling party with concerns of the elections in mind, NTV news channel reported on its website yesterday. 

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their forebears were killed in 1915 and 1916 by the forces of Turkey's former Ottoman Empire.

France has already recognized the killings as a genocide, but the new bill would go further, by punishing anyone who denies this with a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($57,000).

Modern Turkey is extremely sensitive about the issue, and has accused France of attacking freedom of expression and free historical enquiry. 

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused France of hypocrisy and Sarkozy of pandering to the vote of France's estimated 400,000 voters of Armenian origin three months ahead of a tough reelection battle.
"I hope the Senate will not make France a country contradicting its own values," Erdogan said. "This is a debate which is entirely against the freedom of thought. This is merely a step taken for the upcoming elections."

Around 15,000 Turks from France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg rallied peacefully on the streets of Paris on Saturday to protest the law.
Turks and Armenians had gathered to stage demonstrations outside the Senate ahead of the debate, set for Monday afternoon, with police keeping them some distance apart.


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Notice on comments

Karlota karla10

1/26/2012 6:36:43 PM

Why attack Turkiye now and not before, obviously France resent the fact that Turkey became part of the European Union.France is attacking Turki out of fear and desperation just like they did with Algeria. They fear the risen of Turkiye because Islam.

aslan seckin

1/26/2012 4:37:39 AM

Is France trying to improve its image / gain popularity in one way or another by using sensitive issues as if they cared so much ? Or perhaps she is opening the wounds and the scars she gave in its own past history?

aslan seckin

1/26/2012 4:24:08 AM

"INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY." Why don't they open the history books or what ever information needed and do the necessary research etc, in front of the world media. How come great or low French law makers are not able to think this simple method?

siddiq Ghouse

1/24/2012 7:43:51 PM

'The Prisoner' dont forget once Turkey was called "the sick man of Europe" but now she is the "miracle of Europe" while other European countries including France(with its downgrading by S&P) and UK are in financially dire straits.

mara mcglothin

1/24/2012 6:40:54 PM

DOGAN They do have at least 70% of the worlds wealth, but it is the Kings and rulers who hold the money from their own people. Turkey can't do much about the kings and princes of the arab world.

mara mcglothin

1/24/2012 5:56:09 PM

There is a huge difference in recognizing genocide and passing a law that makes it illegal to deny it publicly. Turkey should do away with 301 and then they can boast that they are more democratic that France.

The Prisoner

1/24/2012 10:54:08 AM

The French will ensure (along with Germany) that this bill becomes EU law. Along with the sanctions they intend to take against the UK this will ensure that there are no dissenters within the bloc and that everyone dances to the Franco/Prussian tune.

dogan kemal ileri

1/24/2012 9:58:06 AM

1.5 billion Muslims in the world should enjoy 75% of the world's wealth but don't.They are amongst the poorest and least educated to boot.They also have no representation in the UN.Time for Turkiye to create the world's biggest economic union.

The Prisoner

1/24/2012 9:51:26 AM

By reacting so violently to the French vote, Turkiye has once again shot itself in the foot. The UK at one end and Turkiye at the other are fast becoming the pariahs of Europe ! Both countries seem to want conflict with the EU!

Sevak Mkrtchyan

1/24/2012 7:12:44 AM

Viva La France and viva those countries whose decisions are not just politically and economic motivated!
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