The lower house of the French parliament has approved a bill on Thursday that would make it a crime to deny that the killings by Ottoman Turks more than 90 years ago were genocide.

"It's part of the French election campaign and it's unfortunate that Turkish frustrations have [fallen victim to] political aspirations. But I disagree that the new French law is a reflection of what already exists in European law because the French law is penalising or criminalising freedom of thought."

- Yusuf Kanli, Turkish columnist

The proposed sentence is one year in prison and a $59,000 fine.

Turkey vehemently rejects the term genocide and has withdrawn its ambassador because of the vote.

The dispute is expected to further harm Turkish-French relations - already strained by French President Nicolas Sarkozy's repeated rejection of Turkey's bid to join the European Union.

In this show we ask: What are the motives of the French move and to what extent is it politically motivated? And why is Turkey so angry?

Inside Story with presenter Mike Hanna discusses with guests: Claire Mouradian, an Armenian specialist at the Institute for Scientific Research; Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, a French political journalist and columnist for the Sunday Telegraph; and Yusuf Kanli, a columnist for the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News.

"As a French citizen, I think that the Armenian vote issue is a myth. There is no Armenian vote, there is no Jewish vote, there is no Arabic vote … and the time has come to finally recognise this issue. [In addition], the text of the bill is not quoting the Armenian genocide per se but quoting all genocides, and Turkey is not mentioned at all in there."

Claire Mouradian, a French specialist of Armenian history

 

Source: Al Jazeera