PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron has signed a decree designating April 24 as the day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
According to the document, a ceremony paying tribute to the Armenian Genocide victims are set to be held in Paris on this day every year. Similar events can also be held in each department at the initiative of the community heads. The French prime minister is responsible for the implementation of this decision, the order says.
Macron, in keeping with a 2017 campaign promise, told an annual dinner of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France that France was among the first nations to denounce “the murderous hunt of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire.”
France officially recognized the Armenian Genocide in 2001 and a law in 2016 made it illegal to deny that status.
The Council of Europe and European parliament have both recognized the massacres as genocide, as has Pope Francis. However some other countries, including the UK, have said the evidence is not strong enough.
Macron said he informed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the decision in advance, adding that he wanted to keep an open dialogue with Turkey.
“We have disagreements over the fight against the Islamic State, human rights and civil liberties in Turkey and on the genocide,” Macron said.
“We also have points of agreement such as the necessity for a political transition in Syria. As such, dialogue with Turkey is indispensable,” Macron said.
Turkey has denounced Macron’s decision to set April 24 as a day to commemorate the Armenian genocide as political manipulation.
“We condemn and reject attempts by Mr Macron, who is facing political problems in his own country, to save the day by turning historic events into political material,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement.