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24.1.12

France Criminalizes Denial of the Armenian Genocide

(BBC, The Jerusalem Post).- The French Senate, after 10 hours of debate, approved the law Boyer to criminalize denial of the Armenian Genocide on Monday, January 23, 2012 by 127 votes against 86.
On Tuesday, France urged Turkey not to overreact. Speaking on Canal+, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who was personally against the move, said the new law was "ill-timed," but called on Ankara to remain calm.
The lower house had backed it in December, prompting Ankara to cancel all economic, political and military meetings with Paris and recall its ambassador for consultations.
"We need good relations with it and we need to get through this excessive phase," Juppe said. "We have very important economic and trade ties. I hope the reality of the situation will not be usurped by emotions."
President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to sign the bill into law before the end of February. It is reasonable to ask whether Juppe would remain on his post given his public opposition to a law impulsed by the president himself.
Turkey went into its habitual hysterical mode. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Turkish parliament in Ankara, ironically, that the bill "murdered freedom of thought." He went overboard by adding that "this is a racist and discriminatory approach and if you cannot see this, then you are deaf to the footsteps of fascism in Europe." Turkey, he added, hoped for the success of a French appeal against the bill to the constitutional commission. "We will wait and see the developments and decide on our reply to them," he said.
Earlier, the Turkish foreign ministry warned that Turkey planned to respond with unspecified measures against France.Turkey's ambassador in Paris, Tahsin Burcuoglu, said the vote would lead to a "total rupture" of relations between the two countries and Ankara could seek to downgrade its diplomatic presence in the French capital.

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