France Making It a Crime to Deny Armenian Genocide

Turkey expected to withdraw ambassador
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2012 1:30 PM CST
France Making It a Crime to Deny Armenian Genocide
Turkish citizens in France demonstrate in front of the Senate in Paris yesterday, to protest against a law that would make it a crime to deny "genocide" in Armenia.   (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

If you are in France and deny that Turkey committed "genocide" against 1.5 million Armenians in 1915-1916, be prepared to be fined $57,000 and spend a year in jail. Actually, the new legislation applies to genocide denial in general, but it is the law's application to the mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey nearly 100 years ago that has Turkey furious—and Armenia elated, of course—reports the BBC.

"This day will be written in gold not only in the history of friendship between the Armenian and French peoples, but also in the annals of the history of the protection of human rights," says the Armenian foreign affairs minister. Turkey is expected to withdraw its ambassador to France in protest. (Sound familiar?) "France opened a black page in its history," tweeted the head of Turkey's foreign relations committee. Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to sign it into law next month. (Read more Armenian genocide stories.)

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