Turkey accuses Sarkozy of breaking promise on genocide bill
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Ali Babacan. AA PhotoTurkey's deputy prime minister Sunday accused French President Nicolas Sarkozy of breaking a promise that the parliament would not pass a bill criminalizing the denial of Armenian claims of genocide.
French lawmakers voted Thursday to jail and fine anyone in France who denies that the 1915 events amounted to genocide, prompting Turkey to suspend political and military cooperation with Paris.
Sarkozy had given assurances to Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the bill would fail, according to deputy prime minister Ali Babacan.
"I myself heard that during the meetings we had together. What happened last week then? Where is the promise?" he asked.
"(Keeping) a promise is very important in politics. If this promise is being made by a statesman, then this binds the state and the country," Babacan said.
France recognised the 1915 killings in of Armenians as genocide in 2001.
On Thursday the National Assembly approved a first step towards a law that would impose a jail term and a 45,000 euro ($60,000) fine on anyone in France who denies the claims.
The bill will now go to France's upper house, the Senate, and could become law next year.