The approval by the French parliament of the Armenian Genocide bill has received a virulent reaction in the Turkish press, and among the public. While some may know the official Turkish version of events in the early 20th century may not be the whole truth, being lectured to by a third party is seen as an affront to national pride: “The Turkish nation from now on should have a better view of our future, we should think hundreds of times more about our EU membership” said one man. “We should boycott French products. I will. I won’t be buying any French cosmetics, cars, or food, I simply won’t buy them”, added a female shopper.
Demonstrations outside the French embassy yesterday were noisy and violent, and even the Armenian Patriarch in Turkey called the French vote a “sabotage” of ongoing efforts at dialogue between Turks and Armenians. The new law goes beyond France’s 2001 recognition of the genocide, and now imposes similar criminal penalties for saying it never happened to those that exist for Holocaust deniers.