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06 11 21 - British Deputies Launch Campaign Against French Armenian Bill
INTERNATIONAL11.21.2006 Tuesday-ISTANBUL 22:31 - (From Annette M.)
British Deputies Launch Campaign Against French Armenian Bill
By Selcuk Gultasli, Brussels

In a written declaration, three British deputies in the European Parliament have harshly criticized France’s draft Armenian genocide bill, which was adopted in the parliament on Oct. 12.

For the declaration, a joint initiative by British Labor Party deputies Michael Cashman and Richard Howitt, and British Liberal Andrew Duff, to become a resolution, it has to be signed by 367 deputies.

Cashman asserted that the French draft bill was aimed at undermining Turkey’s EU bid and Howitt noted that the French parliament’s decision was hypocritical and provocative.

The written declaration states its regret for the French Assembly’s decision and noted that this contradicted the principle of freedom of speech, a universal right and one born in French enlightenment.

The declaration said that the genocide bill would impede the efforts of those who have been working on the amelioration of Turkey’s freedom of speech record.

Furthermore, it would not make any contributions to relations between Turkey and Armenia, and called on the French Senate to reject the draft.

The declaration also called on the EP President to transmit this document to the French Assembly, French government, European Council and European Commission.

Duff: The Ottoman State was not Strong Enough to Commit Genocide

Speaking to Zaman, British Liberal EP member Andrew Duff said that most EP members opposed the French Parliament’s decision, but it was not clear how much support their declaration would garner.

Asked whether he was hesitant to be labeled by the Armenian lobby and their supporters a “denier,” Duff recalled that they had already declared him one.

He said Turks should be able to face with their history: “However, I do not think this would mean the acceptance of the allegations. At its dawn, the Ottoman State was not strong enough to commit genocide. There were massacres; however, genocide is a strong expression to describe what had happened.”

Duff also said that it was not fair to force Turkey to accept the existence of an Armenian genocide while most European countries had a dark history of their own.


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