The French senate is to vote today on a bill making it illegal to deny that the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks nearly a century ago was genocide. If it passes it will further inflame tensions between France and Turkey over the issue. The lower house’s backing of the draft law in December provoked a furious backlash from Turks in France.
Since then the bill has been watered down to some degree, by outlawing the denial of any genocide. But that has done little to appease Ankara.
After weeks of Turkish lobbying some analysts believe the outcome of the Senate vote could be close.
Zeynel Lule, journalist and expert on Turkish-French relations told euronews: “There’s going to be presidential elections within four to five months and many people predict that Sarkozy will lose his place to the socialists. I believe that if this is the case, the socialists will try to repair the damaged relations between the countries.”.
Turkey, which says the mass killings were part a bloody conflict in which both sides suffered heavy losses, is watching the debate closely.
Our correspondent in Istanbul, Bora Bayraktar, said:
“Ahead of the French senate vote, Turkey is waiting silently. The question is: how long this silence will continue? We will see this tonight here in front of the French consulate (where protests are expected).”