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MEHMET ALİ BİRAND

mab@hurriyet.com.tr

MEHMET ALİ BİRAND > Sarkozy is ruining a precious relationship

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Politics is this kind of a thing: Politicians may think everything is permissible to be elected. 

There is no reasonable approach to the Armenian resolution (the draft bill for criminalizing the denial of Armenian genocide allegations) expected to be voted on in French Parliament today. If it passes in Parliament and then if it is also ratified in the Senate, Turkish-French relations will enter a new and dramatic era. 

In the case that this motion is accepted, if anybody in France says, “I do not accept the Armenian genocide allegations,” then that person will both be sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros. 

In France, a champion of the freedom of expression, this law poses a shameful situation.

Can you imagine? What they want is for everybody to think the same way without allowing any debate and they do not want diverse ideas to be voiced. This has nothing to do with democracy or fundamental rights. It is a stance that is totally contrary to the principles France cherishes, such as equality and providing the opportunity for everybody to express his or her thoughts. 

Moreover, let us not forget that France has even made peace with Germany after World War II, a country it regarded as its archenemy. It founded the European Union. It left behind old hostilities. It is a country that has demonstrated that wounds of the past should be forgotten. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is now preparing to easily throw away such a significant past belonging to his country. 

Why? 

Because Sarkozy’s situation is far from good for next year’s presidential elections.

The Socialist candidate Francois Hollande is leading. Some polls even show the daughter of extreme rightist Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine Le Pen, ahead of Sarkozy. 

There are 400,000 French people of Armenian origin living in France, of which around 300,000 vote. It is these figures that make Sarkozy’s head dizzy. The same motion was proposed in 2008 too but was rejected by the same Sarkozy. Moreover, Sarkozy had informed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of this stance with a letter. Now, he is going back on his own word. 

What a pity, isn’t it? 

Maybe it is very easy to destroy a friendship between countries that date way back, but once demolished it is very difficult to rebuild it.

December/22/2011

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sam stevens

12/23/2011 2:02:58 PM

Yeah so precious Erdogan throws it away, with friends like that who needs enemies ?

Christoph

12/22/2011 5:19:46 PM

Turkey sells far more products in France than France does in Turkey. Erdogan's threats of economic sanctions carry no water and the French know it.

Ararat Ararat

12/22/2011 3:22:21 PM

This is not about Armenian votes. Turkey just got a taste of its own medicine. Turkey has no right to speak of freedom of speech when itself enacted a bogus law in 2005, article 301 of criminal code, which already cost Hrant Dink his life.

Red Tail

12/22/2011 9:48:54 AM

If a relationship is ruined, it is because of both parties. If for example my wife cheats on me, it is still up to me to decide how I will react. Turkey also is perfectly capable of thinking and taking action, and determine the future relationship.
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