Turkish President Urges France not to Adopt Armenian Genocide Bill

Published November 10th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer has urged the lower house of the French parliament not to give final approval to a Bill recognizing the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, a presidential aide said Friday. 

"Our expectation is that the assembly does not repeat the (French) Senate's mistake, which could harm bilateral ties, and that common sense prevails," Tacan Ildem told a news conference here. 

The controversial Bill, adopted by the French Senate on Wednesday, triggered condemnation from Ankara and warnings that its ultimate passage through parliament would harm the traditionally warm relations between Turkey and France. 

The measure must be passed by the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, to become law. 

Sezer sees the Senate's approval of the resolution as a "regrettable development," Ildem said. 

"There is no genocide in Turkish history. There is no possibility to approve claims of genocide which distort historical facts," he added. 

Meanwhile, a group of protestors laid a black wreath Friday in front of the French embassy in Ankara to protest the Senate move. 

"We strongly condemn this ugly resolution," said a spokesman for the protestors, members of an association grouping ethnic Turkish immigrants from Bulgaria, according to Anatolia news agency. 

"France appears to have forgotten the oppression and brutality to which it subjected the people of its colonies in Africa," he added. 

Ankara rejects genocide claims as a distortion of history and maintains that some 300,000 Armenians and thousands of Turks were killed in what was internal fighting in the dissolution years of the Ottoman Empire. 

Yerevan, however, says 1.5 million Armenians were killed in 1915 -- ANKARA (AFP)  

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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