Turkey slams France over Armenian genocide bill

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Niccolo and Donkey
Turkey slams France over Armenian genocide bill


December 17, 2011

Turkey's prime minister on Saturday sharply criticized France for a bill that would make it a crime to deny the World War I-era mass killing of Armenians was genocide.

Saying France should investigate what he claimed was its own “dirty and bloody history” in Algeria and Rwanda, Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted Turkey would respond “through all kinds of diplomatic means.”

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks as their Empire collapsed, an event many international experts regard as genocide and that France recognized as such in 2001. Turkish leaders reject the term, arguing that the toll is inflated, that there were deaths on both sides and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

On Dec. 22, the lower house of French Parliament will debate a proposal that would make denying that the massacre was genocide punishable by up to a year in prison and €45,000 ($58,500 U.S.) in fines, putting it on par with Holocaust denial, which was banned in the country in 1990.

Mr. Erdogan lashed out at France during a joint news conference with Mustafa Abdul-Jalil — the chairman of Libya's National Transitional Council — saying there were reports that France was responsible for the deaths of 45,000 people in Algeria in 1945 and for the massacre of up to 800,000 people in Rwanda in 1994.

“No historian, no politician can see genocide in our history,” Mr. Erdogan said. “Those who do want to see genocide should turn around and look at their own dirty and bloody history.”

“The French National Assembly should shed light on Algeria, it should shed light on Rwanda,” he said, in his first news conference since recovering from surgery three weeks ago.

France had troops in Rwanda, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame has accused the country of doing little to stop the country's genocide.

There was no immediate reaction from France. Ties between the two countries are already strained by French President Nicolas Sarkozy's opposition to Turkey's bid to join the European Union.

Mr. Erdogan's criticism comes a day after an official said the Turkish leader had written to Sarkozy warning of grave consequences if the Armenian genocide bill is adopted. A Turkish diplomat said Turkey would withdraw its ambassador to France is the law is passed.

“I hope that the (French Parliament) steps back from the error of misrepresenting history and of punishing those who deny the historic lies,” Mr. Erdogan said. “Turkey will stand against this intentional, malicious, unjust and illegal attempt through all kinds of diplomatic means.”

Mr. Erdogan called the proposed bill a “populist” act, suggesting it was aimed at winning the votes of Armenian-French in elections in France next year.

A Turkish parliamentary delegation is scheduled to travel to France on Sunday to lobby French legislators against the bill.

Turkey has long argued that parliaments should not be left the task of deciding whether the killings constituted genocide, insisting on the creation of a joint independent committee of historians to look into the events that started in 1915.

Several countries have recognized the killings as genocide, including Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Russia, Canada, Lebanon, Belgium, Greece, Italy, the Vatican, Switzerland, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Poland, Lithuania and Cyprus.

In 2007, a Swiss court convicted a Turkish politician under its anti-racism law and fined him for denying that the killings of Armenians was genocide. The case caused diplomatic tensions between Switzerland and Turkey.
Niccolo and Donkey

Erdogan recently apologized for the Dersim Massacre, and pinned it on his Kemalist rivals because it was their predecessors who did it. It was smart because Tunceli is one of the last of the CHP's bastions, it also worked to earn Kurdish and Shia favor for the AKP.

The good in this is that Jews are losing their monopoly on claims to suffering, in the West. It will also remind French Muslims that their government is the enemy. Turkey should demand that France outlaw denial of French atrocities, and name them.

It is strange that this is happening now, they are the two NATO members most in favor of swatting Assad. That Erdogan choses to protest France at a conference with the visiting chairman of the NTC is a statement to the EU that the Maghreb is a vilayet.

Team Zissou
France had troops in Rwanda, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame has accused the country of doing little to stop the country's genocide.

It's whitey's fault when Africans chop off each other's limbs.
Niccolo and Donkey
Niccolo and Donkey


Turkey Withdraws Ambassador from France

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