Ankara hopeful French Senate will decline bill
ISTANBUL / PARIS
Turkey still hopes the French Senate will reject a bil criminalizing ‘genocide’ denial, says Bozkır. AFP photoThe head of Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said yesterday he thought French Parliament would most probably adopt a resolution on Armenian allegations regarding the incidents of 1915 but was hopeful the Senate would have a policy in line with Turkey’s influence.
Volkan Bozkır said it seemed French Parliament would pass the Armenian “genocide” law. “However, there is a Senate stage and I guess politics will be affected with our contacts and messages,” Bozkır told reporters in Istanbul when he returned from Paris. “If the Senate adopts the resolution, then it will seriously harm France and Turkish-French relations,” Bozkır said, Anatolia news agency reported.
Bozkır headed a Turkish parliamentary delegation that held talks in the French capital to prevent Parliament from adopting the resolution criminalizing the denial of Armenian “genocide.” Bozkır complained about the role of French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the bill, referring to Sarkozy’s refusal to talk to Turkish President Abdullah Gül on the phone Dec. 20 when Gül attempted to call him to personally convey his message over the bill. “There is no use of meeting with [Sarkozy] if he’s firm in his mind not to respond to our phone calls,” Bozkır said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the French bill was a “nonsensical” attack on freedom of expression, Agence France-Presse reported. “This bill is nonsensical from the start. A state that dictates to society what it cannot say is equally dictating to society what it can say and this is where the real danger lies,” Davutoğlu said in an opinion piece published in the French daily Liberation. “If [France] adopts this bill up for debate, the French National Assembly will be taking a measure aimed at hushing history by condemning it to show only one side of the story and penalizing freedom of expression,” Davutoğlu said. He questioned whether France would punish thousands of Turks if they rally in France with slogans denying the “genocide.”
The Turkish delegation met with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, arguing the law was an attempt to win support among voters of Armenian origin. “Mr. Alain Juppe reminded his guests that Turkey is for France a friend and ally, with whom it has always sought dialogue,” the Foreign Ministry said.