Turkish Envoy Back in France after Armenian Genocide Row

World | January 9, 2012, Monday // 19:28|  views

Turkish ambassador in France, Tahsin Burcuoglu gives a press conference in Paris, France, 22 December 2011 after being recalled by the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. EPA/BGNES

Turkey's ambassador to France, Tahsin Burcuoglu has returned to Paris, it was confirmed Monday, 19 days after being recalled to Ankara following the French National Assembly approving a bill criminalizing the denial of Armenian genocide.

A spokesman for Turkey's Foreign Ministry confirmed to DPA that Burcuoglu had flown back to France on Saturday.

The ambassador is now expected to lead Turkey's efforts in lobbying against the bill being passed by the French senate, the next step before it can be passed into law.

More than 15 countries have recognized the slaughter of up to 1.5 million Armenians during the break-up of the Ottoman Turkish Empire as genocide.

Turkey admits that hundreds of thousands of Armenians died, but denies there was a systematic policy to eliminate them.

France Info public radio reported last week that the French government is planning to hurry through the adoption of the bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide, at the risk of incurring further sanctions from Turkey.

According to the broadcaster, the government plans to put the controversial bill on the agenda of the senate by the end of January.

The bill was adopted by the lower house of parliament on December 22, prompting a furious reaction from Turkey, which recalled its ambassador.

In addition Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a list of additional measures including the ceasing of all bilateral political consultations between the two countries, the cancelation of all bilateral military visits and drills and requiring French military planes to apply for permission to make overflights.

If the bill passes the French Senate, as is expected, people who deny that the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I constituted genocide will face a one-year jail term and a fine of up to EUR 45 000.

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Tags: France, turkey, Paris, Armenian Genocide, Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Turkey, World War I


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