Turks protest bill making it illegal to deny Armenian genocide

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Published at : 12 Dec 2020
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(22 Dec 2011)

1. Wide of giant Turkish flag being held up, pan to protesters with another flag

2. Wide of demonstrators with Turkish and French flags

3. Close up of women at protest

4. Wide of protesters with banner reading (French) "No to the bill, history for historians, politics for the true politicians."

5. Wide of protest

6. SOUNDBITE (French) Fatih Ekici, protester of Turkish descent:

"We are asked to officially recognise that our grandparents were assassins but no one can say that our grandparents were assassins."

7. Medium of protesters holding banners reading: (French) "My grandfather is not an assassin"

8. Set up of protester Emma Topcu holding banner

9. Topcu talking to friend

10. SOUNDBITE (French) Emma Topcu, protester of Turkish descent:

"Today, it is our rights that we are defending, our right for free speech, our freedom of expression. To say that we'll have to pay 45,000 euros fine, that we can be fined up to 45,000 euros with a one year prison sentence, I mean, at some point, you have to say no, it's not acceptable."

11. Wide of protesters draped in Turkish flags

12. Medium of protester with flag as head scarf

13. Set up of protester Ahmed Celik

14. SOUNDBITE (French) Ahmed Celik, protester of Turkish descent:

"I don't know what they have against us. This Armenian issue is over a century old, what is it about? It's just creating tensions."

15. Wide of banner reading: (French) "Stop stigmatising the Turkish community"

16. Various of protesters

STORYLINE

Hundreds of members of the Turkish community gathered behind France's National Assembly in Paris on Thursday to protest against a bill that would render the denial of the Armenian genocide a crime.

Politicians approved the measure that will make it a crime in France to deny that a mass killings of Armenians in 1915 amounted to a genocide.

This could put France on a collision course with Turkey, a strategic ally and trading partner which argues the conflict nearly 100 years ago should be left to historians.

Holding Turkish and French flags, protesters demanded that French politicians oppose the bill.

"We are asked to officially recognise that our grandparents were assassins but no one can say that," said demonstrator Fatih Ekici.

Another protester said she was standing up for Turkish rights, free speech and freedom of expression.

"To say that we'll have to pay 45,000 euros fine, that we can be fined up to 45,000 euros with a one year prison sentence, I mean, at some point, you have to say no, it's not acceptable," said an outraged Emma Topcu.

Ahmed Celik, a French citizen of Turkish descent, said debating the issue is just creating tensions.

"I don't know what they have against us", Amhed said. "This Armenian issue is over a century old, what is it about?"

Turkey insists the mass killings of Armenians, up to 1.5 according to historians estimate, occurred during civil unrest as the Ottoman Empire collapsed, with losses on both sides.

But it vehemently rejects the term "genocide".

Turkey has campaigned to get France to abandon the legislation, threatening to withdraw its ambassador and warning of "grave consequences" to economic and political ties.

France is pressing Turkey to own up to its history for the sake of "memory" just as the French have officially recognised the role of the state, the collaborationist Vichy government, in the deportation of Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II.

France formally recognised the killings as genocide in 2001, but provided no penalty for anyone denying that.





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