TURKEY: Islamist PM Erdogan accuses Nicolas Sarkozy of inciting Islamophobia

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is inciting racism and Islamophobia in France in order to get re-elected in the upcoming elections. Erdoğan said resorting to xenophobia, particularly Islamophobia, to win elections is very irresponsible.

TodaysZaman  Depicting a recent bill Sarkozy’s center-right UMP initiated seeking to penalize the denial of Armenian claims of genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as an act inciting the French to xenophobia,

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Erdoğan said the current president adopted a more aggressive stance after the bill was passed into law but then overruled by the French Constitutional Council, which deemed it unconstitutional. Erdoğan said the council had corrected a historic mistake by cancelling the law.

Valerie Boyer, a deputy from the UMP, initiated the genocide bill criminalizing the denial of the so-called Armenian genocide in December 2011. The bill was approved in the lower house of the French Parliament and in the French Senate in January.  Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, says a the controversial genocide bill passed by the French parliament is “racist”.

The proposed law makes it illegal to deny that the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 constituted genocide.However, the constitutional council deemed it unconstitutional, stating that it violated the freedom of expression. Armenia, backed by many historians and parliaments, says some 1.5 million Christian Armenians were killed in what is now eastern Turkey during World War I in a deliberate policy of genocide by the Ottoman Empire.

“Sarkozy is making xenophobia a matter of domestic politics, and issuing threatening remarks against foreigners in his country. This is in violation of the EU’s universal values and fundamental principles,” Erdoğan said. The French presidential elections will take place between April and May.

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