Demirel Asks Chirac to Halt French Genocide Bill

ANKARA (Reuters)–President Suleyman Demirel has asked his French counterpart Jacques Chirac to intervene to halt a bill accusing Turks of carrying out genocide against Armenia’s during World War I.

"I believe it would be effective if you used your influence on the legislative bodies," Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Necati Utkan quoted on Thursday a letter from Demirel to Chirac as saying.

The French National Assembly last week adopted a bill stating: "France publicly recognizes the Armenian Genocide of 1915." The bill is due to be discussed this month in the Senate–the upper house of the French parliament.

"It is a historical fact that great losses were inflicted on both sides in 1915," Demirel wrote. "Ignoring this fact is contrary to political ethics and the principles of law."

Turkey has warned of grave damage to trade and political ties between the two countries if the bill becomes law.

Armenpress Istanbul correspondent reported that during a reception for the Turkish American Cooperation Assembly–Demirel stated Wednesday–that "several Western circles are aiming to revitalize the treaty of Sevres–however–their efforts will be futile."

He expressed hope that the French Senate would not ratify the Genocide resolution.

Demirel also criticized the so-called anti-Turkish activity in France–saying "26 nations were created from the Ottoman Empire. Only two were unable to be created: Armenia and Kurdistan and they should not be created."

According to Demirel the Armenia question was resolved with the establishment of the Armenian Republic–immediately following which Turkey recognized that country and began friendly relation. However–Demirel added–"their first job was to instigate war in the Caucasus."

Turkey has never recognized Armenia–but rather announced a blanket recognition for the Commonwealth of Independent States. Turkey and Armenia do not have diplomatic relations.

Demirel warned that the Armenian Diaspora was making a grave mistake in inciting enmity toward Turkey–because although certain elemen’s have not forgotten Sevres "Turkey is a strong nation and has the ability to defend itself. Even if the entire world unites and begins enmity toward us–Turkey will counter that–as well."

Also on Wednesday–French Ambassador to Turkey Daniel Lacatrier–once again threw the ball in Turkey’s court by announcing that the following the adoption of the Genocide resolution–"the future of relations between Ankara and Paris depend on Turkey’s posturing."

Meanwhile Azeri President Haydar Aliyev on Wednesday blasted the French parliament’s decision to recognize the 1915 killings of Armenia’s by Turks as genocide.

"This is an unfair decision," Aliyev told a visiting French delegation led by industry minister Christian Pierret.

"In Azerbaijan there have been illegal acts by Armenia’s against Azeris. The whole world knows of the Khojalou tragedy but that genocide is forgotten," Aliyev said.

He was referring to an alleged massacre of Azeri civilians in 1992 in Khojalou.

Aliyev said the French parliament’s move was all the more reprehensible because Paris is one of the main mediators in the Karabakh conflict.


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