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Turkey Warns France Not to Make Denial of Armenian Genocide a Criminal Act


Turkey has warned France that ties between the two countries will suffer what it called "irreparable damage" if French lawmakers approve a measure making denial of the Armenian genocide 90 years ago a criminal offense.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman, Namik Tan, told reporters in Ankara his country's views on the issue are being conveyed to French officials. The proposed bill would provide fines and imprisonment for denying that Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were victims of genocide during World War One

If adopted, the bill would follow a 2001 French parliament decision that the deaths of one and a half million Armenians amounted to genocide.

That vote infuriated Turkey, which acknowledges the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians but insists that as many Turks also died in civil strife and a Russian-backed Armenian uprising against Ottoman rule.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, Reuters.