[JURIST] Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] told fellow members of his country's ruling party Saturday that French President Jacques Chirac [official profile, in French; BBC profile] has apologized to him for the French National Assembly's passage [JURIST report] on Thursday of a bill [text, in French] making it a crime to deny that mass killings of Armenians in Turkey during World War I [ANI backgrounder] constituted genocide. The disclosure of the apology came a day after the European Union [official website] condemned passage of the bill [JURIST report]. The French Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the bill is unlikely to become national law, as it is not expected to be ratified by either French Senate or Chirac. Reuters has more.
French lawmakers first attempted to pass the bill [JURIST report] in May, but the legislative session ended before parliament could agree on its terms. When the debate came up again earlier this month, the Turkish parliament [official website, in Turkish] threatened retaliation [JURIST report] with lawmakers considering an analogous similar bill [JURIST report] labeling as genocide the colonial killings of Algerians [JURIST report] by the French, and making it illegal to deny French as culpability. France is home to thousands of Armenians and has already recognized the 1915-1919 killings as genocide. Turkey denies the genocide label [JURIST comment], claiming the killings took place during a partisan war in which many Muslim Turks died as well.