US Armenians hail French ‘genocide’ law

US Armenians hail French ‘genocide’ law

The largest and most influential U.S. Armenian group late Dec. 22 welcomed a vote in French Parliament’s lower house to criminalize the denial of what it calls the “Armenian genocide.”

Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), hailed the move, saying that “today’s overwhelming vote by the French National Assembly reinforces the growing international consensus and the mounting pressure on Turkey, for a truthful and just resolution of the Armenian genocide.”

Hamparian urged the U.S. administration and Congress to move in a similar way. “Closer to home, France’s stand underscores the need for our own American president and Congress to finally reject Ankara’s gag rule on the proper condemnation and commemoration of this still unpunished crime against humanity,” he said in an ANCA statement. “We mark this occasion by urging President [Barack] Obama to honor his pledge to recognize the Armenian genocide and the House [of Representatives] leadership to bring the Armenian genocide resolution... for a full [House] floor vote.”

Armenians say the killing of their kinsmen in the World War I-era Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide. Turkey immediately announced that it was withdrawing its ambassador to Paris, Tahsin Burcuoğlu, after the French assembly’s decision. Turkey has also warned that its bilateral relations with the United States will deteriorate in a major and lasting way in the event either the U.S. administrative or legislative branch endorses an “Armenian genocide” move.

The U.S. Congress has declined to formally approve “Armenian genocide” resolutions in recent decades. In the latest such effort, the U.S. House of Representatives declined to hold a vote on a genocide resolution last year. The French Senate, Parliament’s upper chamber, is expected to vote on the genocide denial bill early next year. The Turkish government already has warned that it will retaliate seriously if France formally endorses the latest bill.