French firm wins digital passport bid

French firm wins digital passport bid

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
French firm wins digital passport bid

France’s President Sarkozy (L) visits a biometric passport office in Paris. REUTERS photo

A French firm won Turkey’s electronic passport tender Dec. 22, 2011, just two days after the French Parliament ratified the Armenian genocide draft law, according to daily Hürriyet. The French state owns an 8 percent stake in the firm.

French Parliament ratified Dec. 20, 2011, the Armenian genocide draft law. The day after the passing of the draft law, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to stop French companies benefiting from state tenders, adding that they would act accordingly for both existing and future contracts that the French were entitled to.

The result of the electronic passport tender was announced Jan. 12, according to daily Zaman, adding that Gemalto, the winning French company, will charge 7.7 million euros for the 5 million chips to be integrated into passport covers.

It was proved at an international conference that the system Gemalto developed for passport chips was not safe, said daily Zaman. If appeals lodged against the tender do not result in a change, a contract will be signed with the French firm, it said.

The news comes as the Turkish government considers a policy of altered relations with France after the French Senate recently approved the draft law penalizing denial of Armenian genocide.

During the last years of the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman forces reportedly deported or killed hundreds of thousands of Armenians living throughout Anatolia, based on the grounds that in their struggle for independence some Armenian groups were cooperating with the imperial powers that were at war with the Ottomans.

Armenians and people around the world have defined these events as genocide.