France warned of permanent sanctions
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily NewsTurkey continued yesterday until the very last moment in an attempt to prevent the passage of a controversial bill penalizing the denial of the Armenian genocide. Top Turkish politicians severely warned France that the government was determined to impose permanent sanctions against Paris with an attitude that suggested its reaction would not be limited and temporary.
“Turkey’s response to the adoption of the bill had long been decided. These measures will stay in place as long as the law stays in force,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters before the bill was voted on at the Senate. Davutoğlu’s statements were later backed by Ömer Çelik, deputy leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). “An action including permanent sanctions was on the table” to be imposed in the event of the bill’s adoption, he said.
Turkey unveiled its first set of sanctions against France following the French Parliament’s initial approval of the bill on Dec. 22. “Turkey is not the Turkey of 2001. To expect that certain measures would be implemented and then reconsidered points to a poor familiarity with today’s Turkey,” Davutoğlu said, referring to Turkey’s ineffective sanctions against France after it recognized the 1915 incidents as genocide in 2001. “European values are now in great jeopardy” he said. “If the bill is passed, the whole world will afterwards see that it is impossible for this law to survive.”
No visit to France
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also hinted yesterday that he would avoid visiting France because he did not want to travel to a country that had adopted a bill that completely ran contrary to freedom of expression and human rights. “This is against human rights and the universal declaration on human rights. It also contradicts with the French-Turkish relationship,” Erdoğan said, slamming French President Nicholas Sarkozy for trying to distort history for the sake of gaining political capital. “We also have a decision to implement in line with the results of the vote.”