Sarkozy urges dialogue over Armenia genocide row in letter to Turkey's Erdogan
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has written to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a bid to smooth relations as Ankara calls on French Senators not to approve the bill on denial of the Armenian genocide.
The French upper house is to vote on Monday on a bill criminalising the denial of the Armenian genocide.
In a bid to defuse the continuing diplomatic row over the question, Sarkozy sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which was released by the French embassy in Ankara on Friday.
"I hope we can make reason prevail and maintain our dialogue, as befits allied and friendly countries," Sarkozy wrote, adding that the measure "is in no way aimed at any state or people in particular."
“Those who exploit history will themselves suffer from this exploitation," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in televised remarks.
"If the bill passes, it will remain as a black stain in France's intellectual history," he continued, calling it an "error."
Turkey denies that the World War I killings of Armenians amounted to genocide.
If passed, the bill would impose a jail sentence on anyone found guilty of denying that the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turk forces amounted to genocide.
Ankara froze political and military ties with France when the bill was passed by the National Assembly, and has threatened further measures if it continues through the Senate or is approved by Sarkozy.
Most Senators opposed to the legislation are expected to abstain in Monday’s vote.