20 Steps Turkey Could Take to Worsen Relations with France After Genocide Vote

Harut Sassounian


Turkey’s leaders have been threatening France for months with various reprisals should the French government pass a law making it illegal to deny the Armenian Genocide.

Ignoring Turkish threats and blackmail, the French Parliament adopted a bill on December 22, 2011, criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide. The Senate followed suit on January 23, 2012, with a vote of 127-86, after a 7-hour debate. The new law, to be signed soon by Pres. Sarkozy, carries a one year jail term and a fine of $60,000 for anyone denying the Armenian Genocide. Every single member of the French legislature, even those voting against the bill, stated that they had no doubt whatsoever about the facts of the Armenian Genocide.

The hour of truth has now arrived. One wonders if Turkey’s leaders have the courage to carry out their bombastic declarations. We would like to ask them two questions:
1. Are you all talk and no action or, as the saying goes, is your bark worse than your bite? 2. Will you be taking short-term face-saving measures or more serious and permanent steps?

Unlike a month ago, the Turkish public will not be satisfied if the Ambassador is withdrawn, only to be sent back in two weeks. Also, Turks may not be too impressed by Prime Minister Erdogan’s announcement that he would no longer visit Paris.

While Turkish officials are recovering from the shock of the French vote, we wish to offer some tips on how Turks can make a bad situation even worse. In its fury, the Turkish government may take retaliatory measures not only against France, but also all countries that have recognized the Armenian Genocide. Such extreme, irrational, and self-defeating actions would contribute to Turkey’s isolation and hurt its own interests. Below are suggested ideas on how Turkey could settle scores with France and other perceived adversaries:

1. Withdraw the Turkish Ambassador from France and do not send him back until the French government renounces its acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide and the newly adopted French bill.
2. Expel the French Ambassador from Turkey and shut down the French Embassy.
3. Break all economic, military, cultural, and political ties with France.
4. Collect all French products such as chocolates and wines from store shelves throughout Turkey and dump them in the sewer; and ban French fries and French kissing!
5. Cancel all Turkish Airlines flights to French cities and do not allow Air France flights to Turkey. Place similar restrictions on French ships.
6. Prohibit teaching of French in Turkish schools and shut down private French schools in Turkey.
7. Forbid access to all French websites.
8. Discontinue Turkey’s efforts to join the European Union, in view of the expected submission of similar measures on genocide denial to all 26 EU member countries.
9. Cancel Turkey’s membership in the Council of Europe because in 1987 the European Parliament recognized the Armenian Genocide.
10. Withdraw from the United Nations because in 1985 the UN Human Rights Commission adopted a report recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
11. Ban all Turkish official visits to France.
12. Expel all French citizens from Turkey and demand that all Turkish citizens immediately leave the territory of France.
13. Do not allow French tourists and businessmen to enter Turkey.
14. Shut down French automobile factories in Turkey, causing the unemployment of thousands of Turkish workers.
15. Rename all French streets in Turkey to Algerian and North Korean names.
16. Adopt a resolution by the Turkish Parliament accusing France for the so-called Algerian “genocide.”
17. Deport all citizens of Armenia working illegally in Turkey. Deprive them of all food and water during their long march from Istanbul to Armenia or, even worse, to the Syrian desert!
18. Withdraw all private and public Turkish funds from French banks.
19. Blacklist all French books, movies, newspapers and TV programs in Turkey.
20. Arrest French citizens in Turkey in retaliation for Turks imprisoned in France for denying the Armenian Genocide.

The French Senate’s decision is part of the high price the Turkish government has been paying for the past 100 years for its persistent denial of the Armenian Genocide and the heinous crimes committed by its Ottoman predecessors. Until Turkey acknowledges its guilt and restores the Armenian lands and properties to the descendants of Genocide victims, it will continue to face serious challenges from other countries and will be denied a place in the family of civilized nations.

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  1. JOHN said:

    21. Get rid of french lingerie in Turkey
    22. get rid of French made medicine.
    23. deport all French poodles.

    • Just as I see it... said:

      Do you mean: “freedom lingerie,” “freedom made medicine,” and “freedom poodles?!” You see, the French (Freedom!) have already p’d off the American conservatives and well, that is about the worse segment of any given population to tick-off! 😉

  2. Heghapokhagan said:

    It is Ironic or is it? that The French Government adopts this bill on the 121st Anniversary of Armenian Revolutionary Federation!

  3. Heghapokhagan said:

    I would like to add: #21
    Return back Western Armenia that you have stolen.

  4. volkan said:

    onece again I am really proud of being a turkish citizen after reading your ridiculous column.As our prime minister,Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that France decision means only “NOTHING” for us.We know why some countries such as france have attacked TURKEY.it is because that our economical power and political power have been growing day by day.Also,Turkey’s positive influence from arabic countries to african countries even on some europen countries has been raising.it means that Turkey is becoming one of the most important country in world politician such as in the past ( ottoman empire ).For that reason,I easily understand you and your ridiculous thoughts.Please continue to behave like this,but I want to say that one day ( not so long) you will see that France will have to appologise us for their stupid decison taken by their stupid leader.

    • JOHN said:

      Once Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide, then France may amend the penalties for deniers.

      • Just as I see it... said:

        …perhaps they’d consider amending the penalty to read: “anyone so denies, shall thenceforth be known as John!” 😀 (I’d go on, but I’ve to go to the john…) 😉

    • Kevork Hagopian said:

      Volkan, are you crazy or what? My parents were born in Adana and Marash. I learned Turkish from my grandmother. She was an eyewitness to the massacres of Armenians. My father went back to Marash and found the house where he was born. There are thousands of old churches all over Turkey…….Do you want more? You probably have Armenian blood in you since between 3/5 million people living in Turkey now have Armenian blood in them. Many were forced to become Muslims/Turks as children and orphans. Why are the Turks afraid to accept the Armenian Genocide? We might forgive you and accept you as our neighbors (pending the decision of the people). The truth can’t be denied. Armenians were living in Anatolia/Byzantine Empire before the arrival of Tuks/Mongolians/Seljuks to Anatolia. You need to read more books on your origins to improve your knowledge. Turks were not white/caucasian five hundred years ago. They became/look white because they forcefully married white girls (Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Albanians, etc.)

      To make a long story short Armenia is becoming the 2nd Israel in the world with its technology, advances and laser/neuclar discoveries. You must also know that tiny Armenia gave the former Soviet Union four Marshalls (5 star generals) during W.W.II out of a total of 11 in the whole Soviet Union. Armenia also won the war against Azerbaijan and took over 30% of the land. This means that future Armenia will be able to burn Ankara and Konya with laser beams/weapons from far away Armenia. This is a true story such as David and Goliath. Good Luck, Kevork Chavoush

      • Haluk said:

        u are totally in delusion and ur so-called genocide allegations are made up.If we had applied genocide as u say,today there would not have been any armenians in this territory..U executed innocent civillians in Hocali with the help of Russians.U are right about one thing, we are mixed with different races and don’t have prejudices against any race ,otherwise lots of armenians wouldn’t have migrated to Turkey and live in peace.

      • Just as I see it... said:

        “…future Armenia will be able to burn Ankara and Konya with laser beams/weapons from far away Armenia.” That is until James Bond (007) shows up and destroys your dreams of world domination?!

        By the way, whats with the “race” related stuff?! You do realize that doing so leads to a slippery-slope, right?

    • HRAIR said:


  5. Just as I see it... said:

    How the Turks respond to France and what they do is strictly a matter for the Turks to decide. I seriously doubt that they either desire or will heed your opinions in this matter…

    For Sarkozy, this is mostly a political decision; a proverbial monkey-wrench he can throw in to the “works,” to frustrate the Turkish-EU accession process. In this way, Sarkozy can gain additional votes and keep the Turks out of the EU, killing two-birds with one stone. (Not to mention that the affair serves to remove some internal attention from the troubled French economy!) For him, it is a win-win situation.

    He of course knew how the Turks would react and yet, keeping the Turks out of the EU for him is a “personal” matter and damn the consequences!

    Sarkozy is a little man with big dreams and one could say that in his Sarkozy-skewed mind, he views himself as a big-time international player. While he does have influence and a say within the EU, things are not so clear-cut outside of the EU. France has a somewhat troubled presence in Africa, as well as the Middle-East and though the Turks too, were a colonial power in these areas, they were much more palatable than the French. Lacking the well-known French condescension to “all things not French,” surely the Turks will realize some success in their competition with the French.

    Surely, at some point, there will be predictable economic consequences to France, whether it is in way of lost contracts, throughout the Middle-East and elsewhere (due to dogged Turkish competition with “all things French”) and/or through Turkish soft-reprisals within Turkey and the Turkish sphere of influence, towards French companies.

    Can the French weather such a thing?! Well, they made it through the German occupation of the Second World War, and as they say, “this too shall pass…” (One regrets that the French were not so “passionate” about the Jews, as they readily handed over their Jewish populations to the occupying Nazi’s!) However, it will be sometime before things fully normalize between the two countries…

    Armenia in turn, will find herself in the same circumstances she is currently mired in…

    Personally, I think there needs to be an impartial, nonaligned examination of all surviving records by a selected, well established team of historians concerning this matter. The Armenians and the Turks would have to agree, prior to the start of such examination, to abide by the findings, whatever they may be! In turn, the historians can then decide if this is another Holocaust or a distinctly different event all together.

    I’ve noted considerable resistance by Israel in recognizing an Armenian Holocaust. While one could be tempted to do so, this cannot simply be explained away through claims that Israel does so to placate the Turks, and to keep the Turks as an ally (something they currently lack in the Muslim world.) There’s more to the picture! I do not think this is due to their desire to keep the Holocaust as a Jewish only occurrence either. I think they know that this situation is not as clear-cut as the Holocaust in Germany (and throughout her occupied territories.)

    Personally, even one innocent killed is one too many and the Turks will have to acknowledge at least that, an event similar to the American “Trail of Tears” took place, at the time of Ottoman Empire, when the Ottoman Turks were engaged in World War One.

    To paint the Turks as stereotypical cartoonish evil monsters, savoring the drinking of human blood and the taste of innocent newborns does great disservice to history and would be a fallacy.

    • Avery said:

      “To paint the Turks as stereotypical cartoonish evil monsters, savoring the drinking of human blood and the taste of innocent newborns does great disservice to history and would be a fallacy.”

      Show us where in Mr. Sassounian’s article – or in any Asbarez article – that sort of outrageous, libelous reference has been made.

      And this paragraph of yours clearly shows who and what you are: another AG Denialist who is regurgitating shop-worn phrases from [The Standard Turkish Manual of AG Denial Phrases, Excuses and Explanations]
      “Personally, I think there needs to be an impartial, nonaligned examination of all surviving records by a selected, well established team of historians concerning this matter……the historians can then decide if this is another Holocaust or a distinctly different event all together.”

      I’ll give you the same advice you gave Mr. Sassounian: what we do is our own affair. You can pickle your personal opinion and enjoy it on April 24, 2015.

      • Just as I see it... said:

        Avery – Where does one get the so called “The Standard Turkish Manual of AG Denial Phrases?” Do you happen to have a copy?! 😉

        As for “April 24, 2015,” thats too far ahead to plan and am not a big fan of “pickled opinions,” sometimes they just go stale, (like yours,) in a very short time.

        Since you’re into advice giving mood, here’s one for you: You do not get a dialog going by ignoring the other side completely. Both sides have to be able to sit down and discuss things like “adults.”

        What is so unreasonable in suggesting that a well-respected international panel of historians take a look at things?! Or is there a reason why the Armenian side would have to fear such a process?

    • V.K said:

      “Personally, I think there needs to be an impartial, nonaligned examination of all surviving records by a selected, well established team of historians concerning this matter. The Armenians and the Turks would have to agree, prior to the start of such examination, to abide by the findings, whatever they may be! In turn, the historians can then decide if this is another Holocaust or a distinctly different event all together. ”

      I don’t know where your head has been all these years but the historians already came to a conclusion when the international assosciation of Genocide scholars,IAGS, concluded that it was indeed a Genocide..

      Do some research before repeating pointless arguments.

      • Just as I see it... said:

        V.K., I once saw a PBS documentary and things got “emotional” in quick-time and the historian that was trying to discuss a different scenario was shouted down in no time! This is no way to air things.

        As for your: “I don’t know where your head has been all these years but the historians already came to a conclusion when the international assosciation of Genocide scholars,IAGS, concluded that it was indeed a Genocide..” comment; anyone can form a group and call it what they want! Again, I stated: “a selected, well established team of historians.” Is there a reason why you personally would be afraid of such an impartial group of well-known, well respected panel of scholars?

    • HRAIR said:


      • Just as I see it... said:

        Hrair, I think what you’re advocating has to be settled once for all; again, by an international panel of well-known, well established panel of historians! (A “who’s who” of scholars!)

        You can direct your anger or whatever it is that is boiling in your heart, towards me; yet, I’ve had nothing to do with this issue and no one in my family has had any hand in anything remotely approaching what you’re advocating and if anything, I’ve had a grandfather and a great-uncle who were both gassed, during WW1, by the Germans!

        All I am saying is that the Turks said they’d be interested to settle this issue, once for all and I would think this is something you’d want as well, right?! Why be afraid of such a mediation?

        By the way, if this is such a clear-cut issue, why is Israel so hesistant in calling it a Holocaust-like event?! (We know why Sarkozy is doing it and it has little-to-nothing to do with the actual “truth!”)

        If the panel I advocate that indeed a genocide took place, then the Turks would have to agree to this finding (Again, I stated that BOTH sides would agree to accept the findings of such a commission!) Why is this so unreasonable?

  6. David said:

    The law is not specific to the Armenian genocide. In fact, nowhere is there mention of Armenian anything.

    The law is general and uses very specific language suggested by the European Union.

    There is widespread misunderstanding of this law, and the international press has done its usual rotten job of reporting it.

    • Just as I see it... said:

      David, at the same time, it seems clear that Sarkozy is using this issue for political gain and to distract the French public from their own economic crisis… Doing so, of course ensures that there’s yet another obstacle for the Turkish entry into the E.U. (No matter that it would be to Armenia’s benefit to have the borders of E.U. next to them…)

  7. Alexander said:

    I am a Turkish Armenian and i second the above comments, this is not a situation that helps Armenia nor Turkey not to mantion France who feels guilty for not keeping their promise when the war was on to Armenians,so All Armenia and diaspora be a a hero by grabbing THE BULL by the horns and if you really are telling the truth and you are truly correct then sit on the same table with the Turks and argue head on and state your evidance and win the argument and close this case ONCE and FOR ALL please.I just donr understand why you dont do it, What are you all afraid off???

    • Just as I see it... said:

      Alexander, I agree with you completely. Both sides have to sit down and settle this issue once for all. I wish people on the both sides viewed things as logically.

  8. Haik Azad said:

    Dear Kyor-oglu just as I see it-you seem to see things from MIT point of view:`the turks were much more palatable in the middle east as a colonial power`-right on,dear allahtan-the turks killed millions of armenian,assyrian,kurdish,bulgarian ,greek and any other civilian population from the region,which makes them so palatable to their Shamerican sponsors.You are very good in talking turkey,presenting history from the turkish -shamerican point of view-now if you read the wild turkeys and azeri posts on RFE/RL-a us propaganda radio you shall see who does the disservice to history,but that wont fit your crooked way of seeing things thru a glass darkly-a few years ago here was a mad cow disease in Europe-and now the cold turkeys and their puppeteers seem to have caught the mad crow disease-it comes from too much talking turkey and hanky panky in the turkish bath.Salaam aleikum to your colleagues in Langley,MI5,MIT or wherever they are,and thank you dear socialist asbarez editors for printing the turkye fata morgana perverted side of the matter as if they dont have enough outlets to do it.Amot,amot,amot!!!

    • Just as I see it... said:

      Haik, I think both sides have to realize that anger and personal passions will resolve nothing in the end. Let’s assume for a moment that Turkey turns away from the EU (or that the EU turns away from Turkey.) What good is this to you?! Is it not logical that having the EU at their borders will benefit Armenia? Will it be better to have a resentful neighbor (which will likely place part of their rejection on you,) which will keep you bottled-up as a nation? Or is it better to have a nation that comes under the umbrella of the EU (having to abide by the rules and the laws that all EU members have to adhere to!)

      In the end, do what you wish…

  9. Pingback: New & Views (Jan 30, 2012)

  10. Haik Azad said:

    Dear Just as…its OK for you to `kill`the anger and personal passions`of people who have had a million of their own civilians killed willfully and systematically,not as soldiers fighting on the field of battle,but as civilian citizens of a country which is obliged to protect them-it didnt happen to you ,your friends,relatives or your countrymen,didnt it?the wild turkeys want to become a part of the EU,without giving up their primeval fallacies of schizoid greatness-in their cold turkey state of mind they are still living in their great ottoman empire and with the financial and military help of the west-the Pandarus of the turkey concubine they willnever giveup their evil ways-forgive me the passion and anger.The Turkeys will never never change-their gray wolf mentality-such is the nature of the beast-it will never become vegetarian to join any EU or other union-they have their own mongrel mongol one and are proud of it.The wont change even when the oil runs out-it will take a very bloody conflict for them to change and they,being the original talebans wont change peacefully.You have no personal experience of these people ,all your knowledge and rational pragmatic US reasoning comes from books and even there you can find Kipling`s The east is east and west is west-the twain shall never meet.Yes,Armenia would like to have all its neighbors abiding to EU laws,problem is nobody else wants it.In the end do what you wish-sorry,mister,there is very little the armenians can do against the interests of the super-duper powers that be-Shamerica,Russia,or Israel.What are suggesting for starters-the armenians to shut up and help the turkey crow eaters get into the EU???

  11. Just as I see it... said:


    I don’t think there’s really anything that I can say to you that would make a difference. Lives are lived not through “hatred,” but through forgiveness and love. I think a third-party solution to this dilemma is the only way to go; then again, it is just my opinion… I do not know if you can ever move-foreward, with so much in your heart (and I do not imply that all of that is hatred!) yet, this is for you to answer…

    • Haik Azad said:

      Dear Just if you say something of any substance,it can make a difference but your point of view is not new,its the turkish one-you say` forgiveness and love`-are you trying to make the armenians christian-would you advocate this to your politicians who instigated the muslim brothers` arab `springers`?I shall send you all my shirts to you to distribute them ,as you seem fit.Meanwhile send all my love to my enemies,I forgive them all,as I know God forgives all those who dont know what they are talking about.I hope that you forgive the backward armenians

    • hrair said:

      to just as i see it, you just make me sad at your malice agenda, by using the turkish delay tactict to leave it to historians!!, , the world genocide historians have made their decision that TURKEY HAS COMMITED GENOCIDE AGAINST THE ARMENIANS, the world knows, and many in turkey known that it was genocide.stop acting like you are ignorant of the facts. please don’t think you are being clever…. Armenians do not hate people but they hate and abhor the GENOCIDE THAT TURKEY COMMITTED AGAINST THEM AND TO THIS DAY DENIES. YOU SEEM LIKE AN EDUCATED PERSON, BUT SADLY YOU ARE INTENTIONALLY AVOIDING. THE TRUTH FOR YOUR OWN AGENDA.THE TRUTH IS STARING YOU IN THE FACE,SADLY YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE..sorry but you have a denialist agenda.Israel and Israelis know that it was genocide it is discussed openly in their Keneset and newspapers, because of economic reasons they are hesitant.believe me i am not angry at you but your agenda. just simply study the facts like Tanar Akcam &many other turkish scholars and they will lead you to the truth.just do your own research as unbiased person, you will certainly find the truth.