Chirac Ratifies Genocide Bill

PARIS (combined sources)–France ignored Turkish criticisms on Tuesday and published a law in the state gazette stating that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against the Armenia’s in 1915.

The law–adopted by parliament earlier this month–simply stated: "France publicly recognizes the Armenian genocide of 1915."

The bill was signed by French President Jacques Chirac–and by Prime Minister Lionel Jospin–both of whom have distanced themselves from the measure and sought to limit potential damage of relations with Turkey. Their signatures were required by law.

Turkey retaliated immediately with a statement from the State Grain Board saying that in response to the law–it would exclude French bids from grain tenders.

Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said the government will reconsider its ties with the French government. "We are doing what is necessary. We are reconsidering our political and economic relations," Ecevit told reporters.

The government warned that the French move would have serious repercussions on bilateral ties and threatened economic and political sanctions against France.

Ecevit said Chirac’s approval of the bill did not come as a surprise–but added: "We–as a nation–are facing a serious disappointment in our relations with France."

Defense Minister Sabahattin Cakmakoglu–who canceled Alcatel’s contract for a spy satellite last week–said his government will continue to take measures within the defense industry sphere and "not let France get away with this".

"There are French companies participating in ongoing tenders. Of course–the Armenian genocide bill will play a determining role in our evaluations," he told reporters in parliament.


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