Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has received a phone call from France’s President Chirac regretting the fact his country’s parliament is voting through a law punishing Armenian genocide deniers. According to Erdogan, Chirac said he would “certainly prevent the bill from becoming a law”.
The bill has provoked sometimes violent popular protest in front of the French consulate in Istanbul, and a campaign to boycott French products is underway. However, there is another way of looking at the crisis which may add validity to Erdogan’s claims.
The bill has been promoted by a leading member of Chirac’s own party, who is of Armenian extraction, but who is also a right-hand man to presidential challenger Nicholas Sarkozy, who Chirac does not favour for France’s top job.