Paris, France – The French National Assembly today — resisting intense pressure from the Turkish Government — adopted a measure publicly recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The French Senate had overwhelmingly passed the same resolution last November.
“We commend the French National Assembly for its commitment to human rights and historical truth in adopting the Armenian Genocide resolution,” stated an ANC of France (CDCA-France) spokesman. “Turkey’s condemnation of the resolution and immediate recall of its Ambassador point to their continued attempts to force their denialist policies on democratic countries like France.”
The resolution, which states that “France publicly recognizes the Armenian Genocide of 1915” was introduced by Rep. Francois Rochebloine, who joined some 20 members of parliament in speaking in support of the measure during the three hours of discussion leading up to the vote. According to Rochebloine, recognition of the Armenian Genocide opens the door to “respect for human rights and the establishment of trust” between Turkey and its neighbors. Other outspoken supporters of the resolution included Parliamentarians Martine David, Jean-Paul Bret, Patrick Devejian, Rene Rouquet, and Roland Blum. Over 1000 Armenians had gathered at the parliament building following a public appeal by the ANC of France (CDCA-France) and the April 24th Committee.
“With this vote today, we have reached a major milestone in the international effort to bring an end to Turkey’s failed policy of denying the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “As Armenian Americans, we applaud both houses of the French Parliament for setting a constructive example for other nations as they move toward official recognition of this crime against all humanity.”
In the days leading up to the vote, Turkish government officials applied heavy pressure on the Administration of French President Jacques Chirac and members of the French Assembly, threatening that French-Turkish relations would suffer if the Armenian Genocide resolution were approved. Following the adoption of the measure, the Turkish government condemned the vote, stating that a “serious and lasting” blow had been dealt to bilateral relations. The Turkish Ambassador to France was immediately recalled for “consultations.” According to Agence France Presse, the head of the Turkish trade chamber has called for a boycott of French goods in retaliation of the Armenian Genocide vote. However, the Turkish co-chairman of the Turco-French Business Council denounced moves of immediate economic retaliation. “We should not act hastily. It is easy to spoil relations, but rebuilding them is difficult,” he noted.
In a press conference following the vote, ANC of France (CDCA-France) Chairman Ara Krikorian noted that passage of the resolution would have two immediate implications. “First, it opens up the legal possibility of extending the Gayssot Law (condemning racist remarks) to include denial of the Armenian Genocide and provides the opportunity to expand the teaching of the Genocide within French schools,” noted Krikorian.
French President Jacques Chirac must initial the law within the next 15 days for it to have the full force of law.