French President Nicolas Sarkozy is working on a new “genocide” bill after the Constitutional Council threw out one currently under consideration.
The law would make it criminal to deny several massacres – including a 1915 mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks – were genocide.
The ruling has been welcomed by Ankara.
“We were expecting this decision,” said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. “It is an important decision and development. The French Constitutional Court made the right decision from the view of international law, human rights and European values which all of us defend.”
The Council says the bill infringes freedom of expression enshrined in France’s founding documents.
But Armenians are furious. They took to the streets of Paris claiming Turkey – which froze economic and military contacts with France over the affair – was dictating French law.
“This is a political decision,” said Ara Torianian of the Council of Armenian Organisations in France. “The Constitutional Council has effectively ceded to pressure from Turkey and the pressure from the military industrial lobby.”
Turkey accepts many Armenians died in 1915 but denies Ottoman forces were committing genocide, arguing there were massacres and counter massacres on either side.