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France’s Hollande urges Turkey to 'reconcile with its own history'

France’s Hollande urges Turkey to 'reconcile with its own history'

PanARMENIAN.Net - French President Francois Hollande, during what is being billed as an historical trip to Turkey, urged Ankara to “reconcile” with its own history and reaffirmed France’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Asbarez reported citing Le Monde.

During a joint press conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Hollande said, “uncovering history is always painful, but must be done” urging Turkey to address the issue of the Armenian Genocide on the eve of its centennial.

Hollande’s arrival marks the first time a French president has visited Turkey in 22 years.

Gul, on the other hand, said that the matter should be addressed by historians.

“Woes of 100 years ago are our common woes…. It is not right to pass these woes from generation to generation,” said Gul. “What should be done, instead of reviving these woes, is to leave these to historians. This issue can not be tackled unilaterally.”

On January 23, 2012 the French Senate passed the bill making it a crime to deny the Armenian Genocide. The bill envisaged 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.

However, the French Constitutional Council ruled the bill as anti-constitutional. In a statement the Council said the document represented an “unconstitutional breach of the practice of freedom of expression and communication

Later, President Hollande pledged to redraft the law criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial in France, stressing the need to ensure the legal framework to avoid censorship by the Constitutional Council.

Photo: Hurriyet Daily News
The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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