Turkey and France to break off relations
On Thursday, December 22nd, the Senate of France ratified the bill on criminal prosecution for denying the Armenian genocide, CNN Turk reports. The bill presupposes one year behind bars and a 45 thousand-euro fine for those who deny that the events in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 were genocide. Initiators of the bill are deputies of the ruling party UMP, which constitutes the parliamentary majority.
It is obvious why Nicolas Sarkozy needs this bill at the moment: ahead of the presidential elections the French leader is trying to gain the votes of one of the most powerful lobbies in the country – the Armenian one. However, adoption of the law, which indirectly confirms the historic blame of Turkey, will set the 500 thousand Turks living in France against the current president.
However, Sarkozy thinks that he will benefit from the support of the Armenian lobby much more, as there are 1.5 million Armenians in France. And this step will certainly increase the president’s rating among Armenians, as for them the genocide issue is one of the most acute. Armenia has already achieved recognition of the genocide by the parliaments of several countries.
Turkey insists that it is an academic problem rather than political one. Ankara has many times suggested to Yerevan establishing a joint historical commission on analysis of the events 1915. Yerevan rejected this initiative.
Ratification of the bill by France could cause serious problems in relations with Turkey and the whole Turkic world. On the day of the vote thousands of people came out onto the streets of Paris protesting against the bill. A similar demonstration was held in Baku.
Ankara did its best to prevent ratification of the bill. Turkish President Abdulla Gul stated: “Turkey hopes that France won’t sacrifice the long friendship between Ankara and Paris in favor of small political accounts.” Prime Minister of Turkey Erdogan said that Turkish-French relations shouldn’t be a victim of a third side’s demands, and Turkey will respond by diplomatic means if the Senate of France adopts the bill. Paris didn’t react to Ankara’s diplomatic messages. President Sarkozy even refused to have a telephone conversation with Gul.
It is clear that now Turkey will recall its ambassador to France and break off diplomatic and economic relations with Paris.
Elmira Tariverdiyeva, Baku. Exclusively to VK