France, Turkey appear set to clash over new Armenian genocide law
France and Turkey are heading toward a showdown this Thursday, as France moved to make denial of the Armenian genocide a crime punishable by a 45,000-euro fine and a year in jail - and an apoplexic Turkey threatened to retaliate if the sensitive matter was dealt with in this fashion
“This proposed law targets and is hostile to the Republic of Turkey, the Turkish nation and the Turkish community living in France,” Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan wrote in a tersely worded letter to President Nicolas Sarkozy last week.
“I want to state clearly that such steps will have grave consequences for future relations between Turkey and France in political, economic, cultural and all areas,” he said.
Back in Turkey, Erdogan has gone further, threatening to raise France’s own “dirty and bloody history” in Algeria and Rwanda and take “all kinds of diplomatic” action in response to the bill, which will be brought to parliament for a vote Thursday.
Armenia, backed by many historians and parliaments, says some 1.5 million Christian Armenians were killed in what is now eastern Turkey during World War One in a deliberate policy of genocide ordered by the Ottoman Empire.