A vote in France’s parliament has sparked fury in Turkey. The lower house has approved a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered a genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks. In Ankara, protesters hurled eggs and insults at the French embassy. Armenia says 1.5 million of its people were systematically killed in 1915 – something Turkey vehemently denies.
Turkey’s chief EU negotiator Ali Babacan said the vote would inevitably have consequences: “What has happened in France is now going to raise a lot of questions, not only in Turkey but also in other countries about EU values. What are the core values of the EU? Fundamental rights? Democracies? Freedoms? Rule of law? And what happened in France today is not in line with the core values of the European Union.”
With many Turks already angry at the deep scepticism in Europe over the country joining the EU this was the last straw. “We have to cut all our relations with France,” said one man. “There is no need to visit that country. Turkey should boycott French goods.”
“There is no genocide in Turkish history. Why do we have to accept that vote, it is not true. It is wrong,” added another protester. But while the vote stirred up anger in Turkey, Armenians have welcomed it, saying now the country’s victims are finally receiving respect.