Turkey is furious and preparing new measures against France

Turkey vowed to take reprisals against France after the French Senate approved a bill making it a crime to deny that the massacre of Armenians in 1915 was genocide, further straining relations between Paris and Ankara and raising the prospect of a significant diplomatic rift between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies, the Wall Street Journal writes from Paris.

The French Senate passed an unprecedented bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial overnight.

Ankara reacted furiously when the lower house passed the bill last month, withdrawing its ambassador from Paris and freezing political and military relations.

The bill, which France's lower house of Parliament overwhelmingly approved in December, was passed Monday by a vote of 127 to 86. It will require President Nicolas Sarkozy's signature in the next 15 days in order to become law. The proposal is set to make the denial of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes that are recognized by French law punishable by up to a year in prison and a
45,000 EUR ($58,143) fine. The only two mass killings recognized by French law as genocide are the killing of Armenians during World War I and the Holocaust. Denying the Holocaust is already illegal in France.

The news fueled outrage in Turkey, which accused France of flouting international law and pledged to "take every step" to counter the "irresponsible" decision. "In case of the completion of the finalization process for the law, we will not hesitate to implement, as we deem appropriate, the measures that we have considered in advance," the Turkish foreign ministry said.

Similarly, AK Party Deputy Chairman Omer Celik said on Monday measures against France would be permanent, not temporary, if the bill passes, Zaman writes.

The sternest warning came from Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who said the government was ready to take new measures if the bill passed. The foreign minister also decided to stay away from a
Brussels meeting on Syria with the EU foreign ministers on Monday, signaling that the dispute could spread beyond Paris to affect broader EU ties.

EU-candidate country Turkey can't impose economic sanctions on France, because of its membership in the World Trade Organization and customs-union agreement with Europe. But the row could cost France profitable bilateral business contracts and would fuel diplomatic tension as Turkey takes an increasingly influential role in the Middle East.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was set to address his ruling AK Party on Tuesday in Ankara, where he is expected to detail his government's response, Turkish television reported.

For its part Armenia praised the move, and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian made a statement stressing that the day would "be written in gold 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 world-wide."

Related articles

Editor's choice
News
Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell underlined that the European Union will make every effort to support the peace process and to remain a committed partner to the Afghan people. "Of course, we will have to take into account the evolving situation, but disengagement is not an option.  We are clear on that: there is no alternative to a negotiated political settlement, through inclusive peace talks.
Editor's choice
News
Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers meet in Berlin as German diplomacy emerges out of the shadows to save the day for Europe

Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers meet in Berlin as German diplomacy emerges out of the shadows to save the day for Europe

German diplomacy has been in the South Caucasus from the day after the three countries declared their independence in 1991. Germany was the first country to set up embassies in the region, but generally German diplomacy has been low-key – preferring to let others, namely France, and later the EU, to do the heavy lifting when it came to issues like supporting the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process. This has changed recently. After the untimely intervention of French president Emanuel Macron in the process that was led by EU Council president Charles Michel in 2022, and given Azerbaijan’s refusal to negotiate in this framework because of what it claims is French bias towards Armenia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in 2022 reluctantly persuaded to engage with the process directly, and join the Macron-Michel tandem. Nothing at first seemed to have come out of that, and German diplomacy got overshadowed by some missteps in Paris and Brussels, not to mention some awkward phrases of its own foreign minister when she visited the region last year. But it seems that behind the scenes, German diplomacy persisted. Earlier in February Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, travelled to Munich to attend the annual security conference, and on the margins had a long-awaited meeting, bilaterally and later with Chancellor Scholz. At the meeting concrete decisions were taken on follow-up, and thanks to the usual German efficiency the foreign ministers of the two countries were in Berlin on Wednesday (28 February) for detailed talks about the peace treaty. Most of the discussions were in the bilateral format, but there was also a meeting of the Ministers with their German counterpart. The talks continue today. It is the latest episode in a long saga, but not an insignificant one. Germany is a political and economic heavyweight, and its direct involvement may just be what is needed to get the ongoing negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan across the line. At a time when other elements of European diplomacy appear not to be so effective the German intervention is also seen as saving the day for Europe, that needs to remain present and visible in the region.

Popular

Editor's choice
News
Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers meet in Berlin as German diplomacy emerges out of the shadows to save the day for Europe

Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers meet in Berlin as German diplomacy emerges out of the shadows to save the day for Europe

German diplomacy has been in the South Caucasus from the day after the three countries declared their independence in 1991. Germany was the first country to set up embassies in the region, but generally German diplomacy has been low-key – preferring to let others, namely France, and later the EU, to do the heavy lifting when it came to issues like supporting the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process. This has changed recently. After the untimely intervention of French president Emanuel Macron in the process that was led by EU Council president Charles Michel in 2022, and given Azerbaijan’s refusal to negotiate in this framework because of what it claims is French bias towards Armenia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in 2022 reluctantly persuaded to engage with the process directly, and join the Macron-Michel tandem. Nothing at first seemed to have come out of that, and German diplomacy got overshadowed by some missteps in Paris and Brussels, not to mention some awkward phrases of its own foreign minister when she visited the region last year. But it seems that behind the scenes, German diplomacy persisted. Earlier in February Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, travelled to Munich to attend the annual security conference, and on the margins had a long-awaited meeting, bilaterally and later with Chancellor Scholz. At the meeting concrete decisions were taken on follow-up, and thanks to the usual German efficiency the foreign ministers of the two countries were in Berlin on Wednesday (28 February) for detailed talks about the peace treaty. Most of the discussions were in the bilateral format, but there was also a meeting of the Ministers with their German counterpart. The talks continue today. It is the latest episode in a long saga, but not an insignificant one. Germany is a political and economic heavyweight, and its direct involvement may just be what is needed to get the ongoing negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan across the line. At a time when other elements of European diplomacy appear not to be so effective the German intervention is also seen as saving the day for Europe, that needs to remain present and visible in the region.