Turkish President Abdullah Gul has called on France to halt plans for a law criminalising the denial of the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide.
The French lower house of parliament is due to consider a
bill that proposes a one-year prison term and a heavy fine.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million people died during mass deportations. Turkey puts the figure at closer to 300,000.
In a statement, President Gul said the proposed legislation, set
to go before the National Assembly on Thursday, denied Turkey the freedom to reject unfair and groundless accusations . He also suggested that France was jeopardising centuries of friendship because of small political calculations .
Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote to French President Nicolas Sarkozy warning him that bill was
hostile and directly targeted Turkey and Turks living in France. Such steps will have grave consequences for future relations between Turkey and France in political, economic, cultural and all areas, and the responsibility will rest with those
behind this initiative, the Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying.
A delegation of Turkish MPs and businessmen has travelled to Paris to lobby against the bill and was due to meet Sarkozy's diplomatic adviser, Jean-David Levitte, and
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.
The French Senate has approved a controversial bill that makes it a criminal offence to deny that genocide was committed by Ottoman Turks against Armenians during World War I. The Senate approved the bill by 127 votes to 86.
The measure will
now be sent to President Sarkozy for final approval.
The bill's passage in the lower house caused major tensions with Turkey. Ankara froze ties with France after the vote last month and promised further measures if the Senate backed the proposal.
The BBC's correspondent in Istanbul, Jonathan Head, says stronger Turkish measures could include the withdrawal of ambassadors and creating more barriers to French businesses in Turkey.
In the first reaction from Ankara, Justice Minister
Sadullah Ergin condemned the bill. He told the CNN-Turk television channel:
The decision made by the Senate is a great injustice and shows total lack of respect for Turkey.
The Turkish embassy in
Paris warned that if President Sarkozy approved the bill, the damage done to relations between the two countries would be permanent.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered his government to draft a new law punishing denial of the Armenian genocide after a top court struck down a previous bill.
The Constitutional Council earlier ruled the law backed by Sarkozy
infringed on freedom of expression. The bill, which covers the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I, was passed by both houses of the French parliament.
Turkey welcomed the ruling. But now Sarkozy seems set on re-opening
Turkish antagonism. Noting the great disappointment and profound sadness of the law's backers, Sarkozy's office wrote in a statement:
The President of the Republic considers that [genocide] denial is intolerable
and must therefore be punished. He has asked the government to prepare a new draft taking into account the decision of the Constitutional Council.
The Crown Prosecution Service has just published proposals to end obscenity prosecutions of images and videos of fisting, golden showers, squirting and bondage.
The key proposed prosecution policy update:
considering whether the content of an article is “obscene”, prosecutors should distinguish between:
Content showing or realistically depicting criminal conduct (whether non-consensual activity, or consensual activity where serious harm is caused), which is likely to be obscene;
Content showing or realistically depicting other conduct which is lawful,
which is unlikely to be obscene.
And there is a consultation question to ask about this new policy
Question 2 Do consultees agree or disagree with the guidance that prosecutors must exercise real caution when dealing with the moral
nature of acts not criminalized by law, and that the showing or realistic depiction of sexual activity / pornography which does not constitute acts or conduct contrary to the criminal law is unlikely to be obscene?
16. The following conduct (notwithstanding previous guidance indicating otherwise) will not likely fall to be prosecuted under the Act:
Activity involving bodily substances (including urine, vomit, blood and faeces)
Infliction of pain / torture
Bondage / restraint
Placing objects into the urethra
Any other sexual activity not prohibited by law
It is consensual;
No serious harm is caused;
It is not otherwise inextricably linked with other criminality; and
The likely audience is not under 18 or otherwise vulnerable.
More to follow after reading the document but the new policy seems to expand on the concept of obscenity to incorporate modern issues such as revenge porn, or non consensual publications eg upskirting.
Maybe this change of heart is
related to a delay in age verification guidelines for the new BBFC internet porn censorship regime. It would seem very closely related.