Gul Criticizes France over Bills Proposing Jail Time for Genocide Denial

(Combined sources)–Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul met his French counterpart Philippe Douste-Blazy in an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia last week.

During the meeting Minister Gul sharply criticized France for five bills in the legislative proposing jail sentences and fines for denying the Armenian genocide. Turkey asked France to stop these resolutions–which were submitted to the French parliament by the Socialist Party with the aim of punishing those who deny the Armenian genocide.

Gul asked the French minister–"If I visit France and say there is no Armenian genocide–will you imprison me too?"

The minister went on to ask if the French government would imprison Turkish politicians paying an official visit to France and they deny the Armenian genocide to reporters. "Will you put these politicians in jail? If our president or prime denies the Armenian genocide in France–will you imprison them too?"

Gul stressed that if these proposed resolutions are enacted–they will create problems with the political and economic relations between Turkey and France. The French parliament will debate the resolutions on May 18.

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