June 21, 2012 - 19:34 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkey has agreed to restore all ties with France, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said following a breakdown in relations last year prompted by a dispute over a bill criminalizing Armenian Genocide denial in France.
As he noted, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had ordered the sanctions imposed after France's lower house of parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a draft law be lifted after a positive meeting with France's new President Francois Hollande at a world summit in Brazil.
"The prime minister gave the necessary instructions after meeting with Hollande. Because of this new attitude from France, these sanctions will be dropped," Davutoglu said.
Davutoglu said he would travel to Paris on July 5 for bilateral meetings where they would discuss taking additional "positive steps" in the future.
Here’s a little glimpse of past events: on January 23, the French Senate passed the bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide.
The bill envisaged imposing a 45,000 euro fine and a year in prison for anyone in France who denies this crime against humanity committed by the Ottoman Empire.
Turkey reacted furiously when the Senate approved the law. Ankara halted political and military cooperation with France and was threatening to cut off economic and cultural ties if the law took effect.
Later, the French Constitutional Council ruled that a bill adopted by the French Senate making it a crime to deny the Armenian Genocide was unconstitutional.
In a statement the Council said the bill adopted by parliament on January 23 represented an “unconstitutional breach of the practice of freedom of expression and communication.”
Immediately after French Constitutional Council ruling, then President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged, if re-elected, to submit a new text of Genocide bill in June.
However, this time, he failed to persuade the Armenian community, as a similar scenario was played out during his first election race, yet failed to yield results.
Further, the presidential hopeful and current French leader Francois Hollande reiterated his pledge to adopt a bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial in case he comes to power. Well, things are still where they started.
One could only make a guess about additional “positive steps” between France and Turkey. Perhaps France persuaded Turkey that the issue of the draft bill will be frozen till next elections. Or, may be, Turkey hopes to have intimidated France with sanctions, and France decided against messing with it.
The only thing left is to wait and see if Hollande will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Sarkozy, making hollow promises, or will actually fulfill his pledge, just recalling the fact that it does not behove to a superpower like France to keep fooling its citizens.