French Senate passes Armenian genocide law
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.
Armenia says up to 1.5 million people died in 1915-16 as the Ottoman empire split. Turkey rejects the term genocide and says the number was much smaller.
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.
In the event the Senate approved the bill by 127 votes to 86.
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.
“The decision made by the Senate is a great injustice and shows total lack of respect for Turkey,” he told the CNN-Turk television channel.
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.