France votes punishment in new 'genocide' law

France votes punishment in new 'genocide' law

PARIS - The Associated Press
France votes punishment in new genocide law

Turks demonstrate next to the French National Assembly, at dawn on December 22, 2011 in Paris as the French parliament is today expected to approve the bill. AFP Photo

Lawmakers are in session right now to vote on a measure that would make it a crime in France to deny that the 1915 events amounted to a genocide, a measure that could put France on a collision course with Turkey, a strategic ally.

Turkey wants the issue to be left to historians and has lashed out at France, warning that it will withdraw its ambassador if the measure becomes law.

France formally recognized the killings as genocide in 2001, but offered no consequences for deniers.

The measure expected to pass in a lower house vote Thursday provides for a year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for those who deny the killings by Ottoman Turks were genocide.

The Senate also must approve the measure to make it law.