23 Dec 2011

Armenian genocide bill passed by parliament

5:33 am on 23 December 2011

The lower house of parliament in the France has approved a bill making it a criminal offence to deny that the mass killings of Armenians in the Turkish Ottoman Empire during World War I amounted to genocide.

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to France in protest.

The bill will go before the Senate next year. Foreign Minister Alain Juppe publicly opposed it.

Ambassador Tahsin Burcuoglu will leave France on Friday. Further measures are to be announced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey rejects the term "genocide" to describe the killing of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million people were killed by the Ottoman Turks in 1915-16. Ankara says closer to 300,000 people died.

The BBC reports half a million ethnic Armenians live in France.