Turkey must respect our views: Sarkozy
ISTANBULFrench President Nicolas Sarkozy called on Turkey to respect the French National Assembly’s decision to pass a bill penalizing the denial of Armenian genocide allegations.
“I respect the views of our Turkish friends – it is a great country, a great civilization – and they must respect ours,” Sarkozy said in Prague. “France does not lecture anyone and France does not want to be lectured. France decides its policy as a sovereign nation. We do not ask for permission. France has its beliefs [on] human rights [and] a respect for memory,” Agence France-Presse reported.
In a response to Sarkozy, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey was respecting the convictions of other nations but “it was outdated to turn historical interpretations and intellectual debates into a conviction and a dogma” through his tweeter account. Back in France, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe admitted that France’s vote on the genocide law had “without doubt been badly timed.” He urged calm and said “certain declarations have been excessive.” “What I hope now is that our Turkish friends do not overreact,” he added. A French bill criminalizing denial of the 1915 events as genocide is a “disgusting decision” and mere electioneering, according to a French politician and member of the European Parliament. “I am very angry with the [Nicolas] Sarkozy government. They are using people’s sorrow for the elections,” deputy Helene Flautre told daily Hürriyet. Criticizing Sarkozy’s “hostile attitude” toward Turkey, she said: “No country is in a position to give history lessons to another country. Besides, this cannot be a politician’s job.” When a law recognizing the 1915 events as genocide was first debated in France 10 years ago, Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink told her that he would come to France to yell “There was no genocide” in the interests of defending free speech. “I understand Dink better now,” she added.