Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has welcomed a move to overturn a French law that makes it illegal to deny the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.
A group of senators have asked France’s constitutional court to quash the legislation, which sparked anger in Turkey.
“I hope the constitutional council will do what is necessary,” said Erdogan, while Turkish President Abdullah Gul added that he was “not expecting the French from the very beginning to let their country be overshadowed” by the law.
France already officially recognises the killings as a genocide. The new law would go further by punishing anyone who denies this with up to a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($57,000).
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their ancestors died in 1915 and 1916 at the hands of Turkey’s former Ottoman Empire.
Turkey disputes the figure, arguing that 500,000 died, and denies this was genocide.
It says the deaths were due to fighting and starvation during World War I.