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Archive for Friday, October 13, 2006

Lawmakers approve Armenia genocide bill

October 13, 2006

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— Infuriating Turkey, a thin turnout of French lawmakers Thursday approved a bill that would make it a crime to deny that mass killings of Armenians in Turkey during the World War I era amounted to genocide.

In Ankara, angry Turks threw eggs at the French Embassy amid growing calls to boycott French goods, although the bill could face an impossible struggle to become law, or even make it to the upper house for further discussion.

"No one should harbor the conviction that Turkey will take this lightly," Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said.

Armenia accuses Turkey of massacring Armenians during World War I, when Armenia was under the Ottoman Empire. Turkey says Armenians were killed in civil unrest during the empire's collapse.

France already has recognized the killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1919 as genocide; under Thursday's bill, those who contest it was genocide would risk up to a year in prison and fines of up to $56,000

The bill passed 106-19, but the majority of the 557 lawmakers in France's lower house did not take part in the vote.

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