Saturday Jun 16, 201204:21 PM GMT
France approves Armenian genocide bill
Members of the French National Assembly vote an amendment at the French National Assembly on December 22, 2011.
Members of the French National Assembly vote an amendment at the French National Assembly on December 22, 2011.
Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:20PM
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French parliament has passed a controversial bill that criminalizes any denial of the Armenian genocide by the Turkey's former Ottoman Empire, despite Ankara's pressure.

The bill approved on Thursday, envisages one year prison term and a fine of 45,000 euros for anyone who denies the fact that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians in Anatolia a century ago.

Turkey has warned France against passing the bill and says it will consider imposing sanctions on France if the bill is passed.

Ankara has also threatened to recall its ambassador and freeze ties with Paris if French lawmakers approve the bill.

Turkey says the measure, presented by a member of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's party is aimed at boosting support for the president ahead of elections next year, and would “harm Franco-Turkish relations”.

The 400,000-strong Armenian population in France is expected to play a major role in the French president's re-election battle in April 2012.

Last week, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly criticized France over the bill, saying, "Those who want to see genocide should turn around and look at their own dirty, bloody history.”

This is the second time the French parliament is attempting to pass a bill on criminalizing the denial of the genocide.

In 2001, France officially recognized the killing of Armenians as “genocide.”

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their people were killed during World War I by forces belonging to Turkey's past Ottoman Empire.

Turkey refuses to call the 1915-16 killings a genocide and says 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians, and at least as many Turks, died when Armenians rose up and sided with invading Russian forces.

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