Genocide Bill Angers Turks as It Passes in France

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PARIS — Relations between France and Turkey dipped to a nadir as the French Senate approved a bill late Monday criminalizing the denial of officially recognized genocides, including the Armenian genocide begun in 1915.

Turkey’s prime minister, anticipating the bill’s passage, called the move “incomprehensible” and pledged to “take steps.” Turkey has already suspended military cooperation, bilateral political agreement and economic contracts with France over the bill, and on Monday raised the possibility of withdrawing support for Euronews, an international news network based in France, in which Turkey’s national radio and television network holds a 15.5 percent stake.

After lengthy debate, the Senate voted 127 to 86 in favor of the legislation, while hundreds of Turks and Armenians demonstrated outside. If signed into law by President Nicolas Sarkozy, the legislation would call for up to one year in prison and a fine of about $58,000 for those who deny an officially recognized genocide. The bill does not make specific reference to the estimated 1.5 million Armenians slaughtered under the Ottoman Turks, but France recognizes only those deaths and the Holocaust as genocides and already specifically bans Holocaust denial....

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