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Turkey Calls On France To Abandon 'Genocide Law'

Turkish President Abdullah Gul
Turkey's President Abdullah Gul has called on France to abandon an Armenian "genocide bill."

The lower house of the French parliament will debate on December 22 whether to criminalize the denial that the killings by Ottoman Turks during World War I amounted to "genocide" with a punishment of one year in prison and a $59,000 fine.

That would bring legislation in line with how France treats denial of the Holocaust.

France's Foreign Minister Allain Juppe reminded a delegation of visiting Turkish parliament members of President Nicolas Sarkozy's call in October for Turkey to "make a gesture of memory" and recognize its history, just as France has done by recognizing the role of the French state in the Nazi deportation of Jews during World War II.

Turkey vehemently rejects the term genocide.

It insists the deaths occurred during civil unrest as the Ottoman Empire collapsed and that there were losses on both sides.

compiled from agency reports

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