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Turkey hails French senators' move to block genocide bill

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan praises move by group of French senators to block law banning Armenian genocide 'denial'

AFP , Tuesday 31 Jan 2012
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Photo: AFP)
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Turkey on Tuesday welcomed a move by a group of French senators to ask the constitutional council in Paris to block a contentious bill outlawing and punishing denial of the Armenian genocide.

"This move is in keeping with what we would expect from France. I hope the constitutional council will do what is necessary," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying by private NTV television.

Erdogan wholeheartedly thanked, on behalf of the Turkish nation, the French parliamentarians who opposed the bill.

In a move that sparked a furious reaction in Turkey, the French Senate last week approved the measure which threatens with jail anyone in France who denies that the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turk forces amounted to genocide.

The left-wing group of French senators said Tuesday they had gathered 72 signatures from senators opposed to the law, more than the minimum 60 required to ask the council to examine the law's constitutionality.

President Abdullah Gul was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency: "I have no doubt that the constitutional council will eventually make an appropriate decision."

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also hailed the French senators' move, saying that with this step France embraced its own values.

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