French parliament votes to outlaw denial of Amernian genocide

French nationals of Turkish originFrance’s parliament voted on Monday to make it a crime to deny that a 1915 massacre of Armenians civilians by Ottoman Turks amounted to genocide.

The Turkish government reacted furiously to the Senate vote, and warned of “permanent consequences” if President Nicolas Sarkozy signs the bill into law.Last month, Turkey briefly recalled its ambassador to Paris and froze its political and military ties with France in protest at the law.”France is in the process of losing a strategic partner,” an embassy spokesman said.

The bill was proposed by Mr Sarkozy’s centre-right UMP party.Critics said it was designed to win over the 500,000 Armenians who live in France ahead of the presidential election in the spring. The bill was approved by a vote of 127 to 86 and empowers the courts to jail anyone who denies the genocide claim.While Armenia claims that 1.5 million of its people died under the Ottomans, Turkey says the figure was closer to 500,000 and that an equal number of Turks were killed in the fighting. – Thetelegraph