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Turkey accuses Sarkozy of breaking promise on genocide bill

Turkey accuses France of breaking promise to drop bill criminalising the denial of genocide in Armenia by Ottomans in 1915

Sunday 25 Dec 2011
Views: 815
Views: 815

Turkey's deputy prime minister Sunday accused French President Nicolas Sarkozy of breaking a promise that the parliament would not pass a bill criminalising the denial of genocide in Armenia.

French lawmakers voted Thursday to jail and fine anyone in France who denies that the 1915 killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide, prompting Turkey to suspend political and military cooperation with Paris.

Sarkozy had given assurances to Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the bill would fail, according to deputy prime minister Ali Babacan.

"I myself heard that during the meetings we had together. What happened last week then? Where is the promise?" he asked.

"(Keeping) a promise is very important in politics. If this promise is being made by a statesman, then this binds the state and the country," Babacan said.

France recognised the 1915 killings in of Armenians as genocide in 2001.

On Thursday the National Assembly approved a first step towards a law that would impose a jail term and a 45,000 euro ($60,000) fine on anyone in France who denies this.

The bill will now go to France's upper house, the Senate, and could become law next year.

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