ANKARA, BAKU—Official Turkey and Azerbaijan voiced condemnation over Monday’s passage by the French Senate a bill that criminalizes the denial of the Armenian Genocide.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking at his party’s congress Tuesday, said that Turkey regarded the French Senate’s Jan. 23 approval of a bill criminalizing the denial of Armenian genocide claims as “null and void.”
Erdoğan said Turkey had previously warned France against the “mistake” of passing the bill and added that the government hoped France would make amends for the mistake.
The Turkish prime minister called on “right-minded” members of the French Parliament and French intellectuals to oppose the bill and said the approval of the law was outright racism and destroyed free speech.
It is up to citizens of France to judge French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his associates, Erdogan said.
“Those who fall silent against such measures [such as the approval of this law] will be turning a deaf ear to the footsteps of approaching fascism in Europe,” Erdogan said.
Erdoğan said the Turkish government was waiting patiently for the legal process in France to run its course before it would share its plan of action against the law with the public.
Official Baku also chimed in by denouncing the French decision.
“The Republic of Azerbaijan deplores the law adopted by the French Senate to criminalize the denial of the ‘Armenian genocide’ and expresses strong protest over this,” the foreign ministry in Baku said in a statement.
The move was “against the principles of democracy, human rights, freedom of speech and expression”, the statement said.