Turkish president urges France to drop genocide bill
ANKARA - Agence France- Presse
Turkish President Abdullah Gül made an appeal to France on Tuesday to drop a genocide bill on Armenian claims as soon as possible, saying that the planned legislation was unacceptable.
"It is not possible for us to accept this bill which denies us the freedom to reject unfair and groundless accusations targeting our country and our nation," Gül said in a statement.
His remarks came as the French parliament prepares to vote Thursday on a law making it illegal to deny Armenian claims of genocide during the 1915 events.
Gül urged France to abort this initiative as soon as possible as it will block any objective research of the 1915 events.
"I want to hope that France will not sacrifice centuries-old Turkish-French friendship, common interests and bonds of alliance for small political calculations," said Gul, drawing attention to the timing of the bill ahead of next year's elections in France. The Turkish leader called for common sense to reign in France, saying that history should be written by historians.
If the law is passed as expected, anyone in France who publicly denies the genocide claims could face a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($58,000).