France’s parliament has passed a bill last Monday making it a crime to deny the 1915 killings of Armenians was a genocide, sparking outrage from Turkey.
Turkey, which sees the allegations of genocide as a threat to its national honour, suspended military, economic and political ties with France and briefly recalled its ambassador last month when the lower house of parliament approved the same bill.
Turkey had already threatened more measures if the bill passed. The debate surrounding the measure comes in the highly charged run-up to France’s presidential elections this spring, and critics have called the move a ploy to garner the votes of the 500,000 Armenians who live in France.
This domestic gamble could have major international consequences as France’s relations with Turkey are already strained due to Sarkozy’s opposition for Turkey’s entry into the European Union. The law will no doubt further sour relations with a NATO member that is playing an increasingly important role in the international community’s response to the peace negotiations in the Middle East.