Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Turkey to punish France for genocide bill

Thousands of Turks from across the Europe rallied in Paris to protest the law, January 21, 2012.

Source: Press TV

Turkey has threatened to punish France with "permanent" sanctions if the French Senate passes a bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian genocide.

The threat comes as French senators are preparing to vote on a controversial bill on Monday which threatens with jail and a heavy fine anyone in France who denies that the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks amounted to genocide.

Turkey says it has already prepared its response.

"We have previously determined the steps to be taken if the bill is finally adopted. No one should doubt it," state-run Anatolia news agency quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as saying, a move would not help Turkish-Armenian relations.

"From now on, European values are under a great threat. I hope ... good sense prevails in the French Senate,” Davutoglu said.

Following the threat of sanctions, Paris appealed to Ankara for calm, saying that Turkey was an important ally of France.

Ankara froze political and military ties with Paris after the French lower house approved the controversial bill last month.

On Saturday, thousands of Turks from across the Europe rallied in Paris to protest the law.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose right-wing UMP party introduced the bill, is accused of using the bill to win the support of France's estimated 400,000-strong Armenian Diaspora for re-election in April.

Ankara rejects the term genocide and instead says the 300,000 and 500,000 Armenians, and at least as many Turks, who perished between 1915 and 1917, were the casualties of World War I.

Armenia, however, says that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed. France recognized the killings as genocide in 2001.

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