The French parliament is expected to pass a bill Thursday dealing with the 1915 killing of Armenians in present-day Turkey. Any denial could result in a one-year jail term and a $58,000 fine. Turkey is furious.
(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
Nearly 100 years have elapsed since the killing of thousands of Armenians, but the wounds seem far from healed.
The French parliament is to vote on a bill on Thursday making it illegal to deny that the 1915 killing of Armenians during World War I was genocide. The bill, which is expected to pass, provides for a one-year prison term and a fine of $58,000 (45,000 euros) to anyone who publicly denies it was genocide.
The vote in the French National Assembly has stirred a diplomatic frenzy and French and Turkish politicians are jumping into the fray.
“This proposed law targets and is hostile to the Republic of Turkey, the Turkish nation and the Turkish community living in France,” Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister wrote in a letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Reuters reports.
Turkey maintains that the proposed bill is a political ploy by Sarkozy's political party to win the votes of 500,000 Armenians in France ahead of next year’s parliamentary and presidential elections. Sarkozy has also been an outspoken opponent of Turkey desire to join the European Union.