On October 17, 2006, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey passed a resolution condemning a French bill that would have criminalized any denial that WWI-era mass killings of Armenians in Turkey was genocide. The proposed bill would have punished French Armenian genocide denial with one year in prison and a fine of up to €45,000. The controversial bill drew condemnation from the EU and an apology from French President Jacques Chirac. Turkey also considered passing retaliatory legislation that would have classified the killings of Armenians by the French as genocide. Although the French bill passed the lower house of parliament by a vote of 106-19, the French Senate did not pass. Approximately 1.5 million Armenians were killed between 1915 and 1917 in the Ottoman Empire. Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, has maintained that those deaths do not constitute genocide.
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Learn more about the Armenian genocide from the JURIST news archive, and read commentary on the issue from Guest Columnist Laurent Pech in JURIST Forum.