New “Armenian genocide” law by France a blow to democracy
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 24 / Trend S. Agayeva /
The law on the criminalisation of the "Armenian genocide" events adopted by France is a blow to free speech and democratic principles, Azerbaijani political analyst and member of Trend Expert Council Fikret Sadikhov said.
"France is doing everything it can to be treated as a country that tramps on the principles of democracy and freedom of speech," he told Trend today, commenting on the bill criminalising the denial of the so-called "Armenian Genocide" adopted by the French Senate. "It is impossible to regard this any differently."
The French Senate - Upper House of parliament adopted the bill. Some 127 senators voted in favour, while 86 were against on Jan.23.
He said the vote in the Senate first showed that there are still sensible politicians in France who are concerned about the credibility and image of the country. Not everybody implicitly considers it necessary to adopt a law on the criminalisation of the 1915 events.
Earlier, this bill was adopted by the minimum number of votes of those members present at the voting in the lower house of French Parliament, the National Assembly. The Senate committee even raised the question that the project contradicts France's interests.
He said that there are sensible public figures and politicians in France who understand the damage from adopting similar laws, but apparently the pressure is too strong.
"Of course, it is necessary to take into account the fact that the leadership and political elite in France are actively connected with the Armenian lobby," he said. "It is not a secret that France is not very pleased with Turkey's growing economic and military potential, its significant role in the Islamic world and a serious authority on the international arena.
"All this is stipulated in France's reluctance to see Turkey in the EU ranks. Of course, this is a depressing fact, but I think that this is not the last word of French politicians and public figures."
He recalled that at present, the law on criminalising the denial of "Armenian genocide" was approved by the Constitutional Court and the French President.
He said that the consideration of the issue in the French Constitutional Court will not be easy, because there are sensible jurists and politicians who must be aware of the document they adopt.
"Otherwise, the final approval of the law will hit a serious blow to France's image and prestige, which is always positioned itself as a freedom-loving country where freedom of speech has always been a priority," he said. "In fact, France is doing everything to be treated as a country, which tramples on the principles of democracy and freedom of speech. It is impossible to regard this differently."
The bill demands about a year's imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros for denial of the so-called "Armenian genocide".
Turkey discusses imposing additional sanctions against Paris in connection with adoption of a law criminalizing denial of the "Armenian genocide" by the French Senate, the Milliyet newspaper reported.
In particular, according to the newspaper, the Turkish authorities discuss reducing diplomatic relations with France to a minimum level and recalling the country's ambassador from Paris.
Other considered sanctions include banning the French companies from participating in tenders in Turkey, closing the Turkish sea and air space for ships and military aircraft of France. Turkey also intends to use all opportunities of the international law to repeal French parliament's decision, Milliyet reported.
It is expected that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will announce the list of sanctions against France.
Armenia and the Armenian lobby claim that the predecessor of the Turkey - Ottoman Empire had committed the 1915 genocide against the Armenians living in Anadolu, and achieved recognition of the "Armenian Genocide" by the parliaments of several countries.