French bill criminalizing denial of Armenian Genocide angers Turkey

The French parliament is considering criminalizing the denial of the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

But Turkish President Abdullah Gul is urging France to drop the bill that would slap citizens who deny the killings as genocide with a one-year prison term and a heavy fine, according to BBC News.

Turkey is warning French parliament that the legislation would gravely impact ties between the countries.

Between 1915 and 1923, 1.5 million Armenians died at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey disputes the genocide label, saying the deaths were caused by civil war and other factors

Ankara says Turks were also killed when Armenians rose up against the Ottoman Empire during World War I when Russian troops invaded eastern Anatolia, now eastern Turkey, according the newspaper.

In a statement, President Gul said the proposed bill denied Turkey the freedom to reject "unfair and groundless accusations".

-- Katie Landan, Times Community News

Twitter: @katielandan

To read the full article from BBC News click here

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