Hollande to put bill for genocide back on table

Hollande to put bill for genocide back on table

Hollande to put bill for genocide back on table

Turkish PM Erdoğan (R) is welcomed by the French President Sarkozy in Paris in this 2008 photo. Bilateral ties between two countries had deteriorated during Sarkozy-era. AFP photo

New French President François Hollande is set to put a new bill on the table to criminalize denials of the 1915 events as genocide despite improving Ankara-Paris ties following previous Turkish anger at a similar motion by Hollande’s predecessor.

France will present a new law punishing denial of the alleged Armenian genocide in the fall, the head of a group representing Armenians in France said a day after Ankara issued cautious messages on the latest developments.

Franck Papazian, co-president of the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations of France (CCAF), told Agence France-Presse he would meet with Hollande later in the month to discuss the bill, “which will be prepared by the government and proposed in the autumn.”

Hollande on July 7 confirmed plans for a new law criminalizing denial of the alleged Armenian genocide.
Elaborating on Hollande’s remarks yesterday in Ankara, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said that in his bilateral meeting with the new French president, they agreed to move Turkish-French relations forward and strengthen ties while taking mutual interests into account. Turkey will follow the outcome, Gül said, adding that they would not act on speculation.

There may be political motives behind the French president’s latest remarks supporting a new draft bill criminalizing the denial of Armenian allegations regarding the incidents of 1915, Turkish European Union Minister Egemen Bağış said yesterday. “As the rate of the votes Mr. Hollande received in elections is close to the number of votes he could not collect, he may be seeking to expand his political ground,” Bağış said. Turkey will now monitor the steps to be taken by France, he added.

 The Turkish Foreign Ministry is also paying more attention to a statement from French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius made in a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers on July 5 in Paris, a ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News. During the joint press conference, Fabius recalled that an earlier attempt to penalize the denial of the genocide allegations was annulled by the French Constitutional Council and severely hurt bilateral relations. He added that a fresh attempt in Parliament would mean experiencing such bitter times again.

Turkey has ended its sanctions against France thanks to Hollande’s positive approach toward Turkey in a restoration of ties that had deteriorated under the rule of former French leader Nicholas Sarkozy.
The decision to end eight measures – mostly military – was made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after he met with Hollande in Brazil last month.