Turkey Slams, Threatens France over Armenian Genocide LawWorld | January 24, 2012, Tuesday // 07:22| views
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to outline possible retaliatory measures against Paris in parliament on Tuesday. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Turkey has angrily slammed France for approving a bill making it a crime to deny genocide was committed by Ottoman Turks against Armenians during World War I.
"France opened a black page in its history," said Volkan Bozkir, head of the Turkish parliament's foreign affairs committee, on Twitter.
Turkey's ambassador to France, Tahsin Burcuoglu, said the vote could cause a "total rupture" of relations between the two countries.
The foreign ministry statement hinted that the decision was influenced by looming presidential elections in France. An estimated 500,000 ethnic Armenians live in the country.
"We strongly condemn this decision which is... an example of irresponsibility," the statement said.
"Turkey is committed to taking all the necessary steps against this unjust disposition which reduces basic human values and public conscience to nothing."
The Turkish government argues that judging what happened in eastern Turkey in 1915-16 should be left to historians, and that the new French law will restrict freedom of speech.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to outline possible retaliatory measures against Paris in parliament on Tuesday.
France has already recognised the killings as a genocide but the new bill means anyone denying it faces a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros (,000).
The bill will now be sent to President Nicolas Sarkozy to be signed into law, which he is expected to do before the end of February.
Armenia says that up to 1.5 million people died in 1915-16 as the Ottoman empire split.
Turkey rejects the term genocide and says the number was much smaller.
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