ANKARA — 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.
“The task of remembering is always painful, but it must be done,” he said. “What we have to work for is reconciliation by looking for what happened and by recognising what happened.”
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.
Hollande also touched on the need for “intense joint work” on the issue on the eve of the centennial anniversary of the 1915 events, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
French president did not give a sign of renewing attempts to ban the denial of the genocide, but underlined that they would be “whatever the laws stipulated,” referring France’s recognition of the mass killings of Armenians as genocide in 2000.