The French Senate today approved a controversial bill making it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide in what many see as a political ploy ahead of elections this spring.
But Turkish reaction was not especially calm.
After the French Senate voted in the late hours Monday to criminalize a denial of the 1915 Armenian genocide – punishable with a year in jail and a $58,000 fine – Turkey’s ambassador to France said he will leave.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today called the new law “discriminatory” and “racist” and a “massacre of free expression,” and pointed out that French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ancestors had once sought refuge in Turkey.
Something’s definitely out of whack in this diplomatic fallout. But it isn’t entirely Turkey’s inability to face its Ottoman past, which includes the killing or deporting of some 750,000 to 1.5 million Armenians during World War I.
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