A growing export sector in Turkey is disproportionate responses to not getting its way. “Turkey Bans France From Using Its Airspace and Territorial Waters,” from PanArmenian, February 3:
French state aircraft and warships are no longer using Turkish airspace and territorial waters after permission requests in three different cases were rejected by the Turkish government, France’s top diplomat in Ankara said, amid the ongoing spat over the French bill penalizing the Armenian Genocide denial.
“Our requests [for an aircraft and two warships] have been rejected, so we are no longer issuing such requests. We are using alternative routes,” ambassador of France to TurkeyLaurent Bili said.
Bili said the first rejection was to a request for a French military aircraft that wanted to use Turkish airspace on its way toFrancefrom Afghanistan. Similarly, two French warships were not allowed to enter Turkish territorial waters recently. Turkey’s move against the French military was part of sanctions imposed againstFranceafter the French Parliament’s adoption of the Genocide draft law late December last year.
“There was such an atmosphere [in Ankara] that necessitated my return to France,” Bili said, adding that the Turkish reaction against the move was a surprise for many French people but did not affect Turkey’s image in the country. “France attaches great importance to its ties with Turkey. We need to be calm. The law is not aimed againstTurkey[“¦] The number of Armenians living inFranceis 10 times more than the number of Armenians in Turkey. They have become a part of French history. I understand how sensitive issues are, but cutting off ties is not a good idea.”HÃ¼rriyet Daily News quoted ambassador as saying.
On January 23, the French Senate passed the bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial with 127 votes for and 86 against. Expected to be signed into law by President within 14 days, the bill will impose a 45,000 euro fine and a year in prison for anyone in France who denies this crime against humanity committed by the Ottoman Empire.
Two separate groups of French politicians who oppose the legislation – from both the Senate and the lower house – said they had formally requested the constitutional council examine the law. The groups said they each had gathered more than the minimum 60 signatures required to ask the council to test the law’s constitutionality. The council is obliged to deliver its judgment within a month, but this can be reduced to eight days if the government deems the matter urgent.