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France’s stance on Armenian Genocide unchanged, Hollande says in Turkey

On a visit to Turkey French President Francois Hollande has made it clear that France’s fundamental stance on the Armenian genocide was unchanged.

At a joint prss conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul both sides stuck to their positions in a row over France’s official recognition of a genocide by Ottoman Turks of Armenians in World War I — something Turkey contests, AFP reports.

An attempt by French lawmakers in 2011 to declare it a crime to deny the genocide was struck down in February last year.

But Hollande made it clear that France’s fundamental stance was unchanged.

“Uncovering history is always painful, but must be done,” he said.

Gul for his part said that “woes of 100 years ago are our common woes…. It is not right to pass these woes from generation to generation.”

“What should be done, instead of reviving these woes, is to leave these to historians. This issue can not be tackled unilaterally,” he said.

In 2000, France recognized the Armenian Genocide. In 2011 both branches of the French legislature approved bill to criminalize the denial of the Armenian Genocide in France. The French Constitutional Court deemed elements of the bill unconstitutional.

Hollande was asked if he would pursue the passage of such a bill, to which the French president said: “We will do what is right and only what is right.”

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