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Turkey condemns Argentina Armenian genocide bill

[JURIST] The government of Turkey has officially condemned an Argentinean bill that refers to the mass killings of Armenians [BBC Q/A] in Turkey around the time of World War I as genocide and establishes a day of annual commemoration on April 24. Turkey [CIA factbook, JURIST news archive] has asked the Argentine government to block the draft law which last week passed the Chamber of Deputies [official website, in Spanish], the lower house of the Argentine parliament, with 175 votes in favor and 2 abstentions. The Turkish government claims the draft not only disregards the historical facts, but is in violation of international law [Turkish Daily News report]. Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday that "The expulsion decision made in May 1915 by the Ottoman Empire was a legitimate precaution taken purely on security motives against certain Armenian groups who were in collaboration with invading forces." Turkish Daily News has more.

Argentina's proposed bill follows closely on the heels of controversial French legislation touching on the same issue. In October, the French National Assembly approved a bill [JURIST report] criminalizing any refusal to characterize the Armenian as genocide, but it still needs approval by the French Senate and President Jacques Chirac [official profile, in French] to become national law. Many believe that will never happen, however, as both President Chirac and the European Union have separately and publicly denounced the bill, and many French observers view it as a direct violation of the nation's tradition of free speech. President Chirac has already offered an apology [JURIST report] over the bill to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [official website; BBC profile].

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