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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Sarkozy is Satan: Turks respond angrily after France approves genocide law on Armenia

Turkey threatened the France with retaliation after a controversial bill to make it a crime to deny the mass murder of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks moved a step closer to becoming law.

A man touches a newspaper on January 24, 2012, featuring the headline:
Fury: Turkish press branded Sarkozy Satan as relations between the two countries become more strained
Turkey sees the allegations of genocide in 1915 as the Ottoman Empire imploded as a threat to its national honour, insisting estimates of the scale of the killing is exaggerated.
And the country reacted furiously when France's parliament approved the legislation on Monday.

Sarkozy, whose party supported the bill, is now expected to sign the bill into law by February.
Turkish press headlines slammed Sarkozy: ‘(He) massacred democracy,’ read the banner headline of the leading Hurriyet newspaper while the Sozcu daily blasted ‘Sarkozy the Satan.’
The law has also risked more sanctions from Turkey and is complicating an already delicate relationship with the rising power.
Turkey has already suspended military, economic and political ties, and briefly recalled its ambassador last month when the lower house of parliament approved the same bill.
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech to present his New Year wishes to the world of culture in Marseille January 24, 2012.
Support: President Sarkozy's signature making the controversial bill law is considered a formality
Turkey's Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the decision, saying the law should not be finalized to ‘avoid this being recorded as part of France's political, legal and moral mistakes.’
If the law is signed, ‘we will not hesitate to implement, as we deem appropriate, the measures that we have considered in advance,’ Turkey's Foreign Ministry said. It did not elaborate on the measures.
Armenians believe about 1.5 million Christian Armenians were killed in what is now eastern Turkey during the First World War and this was part of a deliberate policy of genocide ordered by the Ottoman Turk government.

The majority of Turks argue that there was a heavy loss of life on both sides during the fighting in the area, and that mass killing was inevitable result of newly industrialised warfare.
The debate surrounding the measure comes in the highly charged run-up to France's presidential elections this spring, and critics have called the move a ploy by Sarkozy to garner the votes of the some 500,000 Armenians who live in France.
‘It is further unfortunate that the historical ... relations between the Republic of Turkey and France have been sacrificed to considerations of political agenda,’ Turkey said. ‘It is quite clear where the responsibility for this lies.’
Turkish riot policemen stand guard in front of the French consulate during a demonstration in Istanbul, January 24, 2012.
Protection: Simmering tension between the two countries saw Turkish riot police stationed outside French consulate during a demonstration in Istanbul
Officials in Sarkozy's conservative government were in damage-control mode on Tuesday, appealing to Turkey's government to keep its calm.
‘As foreign minister, I think this initiative was a bit inopportune. But the parliament has thus decided. What I'd like to do today is call on our Turkish friends to keep their composure,’ Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Canal Plus TV.

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