The French National Assembly’s decision last week to approve a bill criminalizing public denial of the 1915-16 Armenian Genocide in Turkey triggered a stiff rebuke from Ankara. Over the weekend, Turkish hackers took down the French Senate’s website.
PARIS -- Hackers have followed the Turkish government's lead in lashing out at the French parliament for its approval last week of a measure criminalizing public denial of Turkey's Armenian Genocide.
As of Monday afternoon, the website for the French Senate remained offline following a cyber attack attributed to a Turkish hacker group called Iskorpitx. The hackers also claimed responsibility for a Sunday attack on the personal website of Valérie Boyer, the conservative French deputy who drafted the bill making denial of the World War I-era Genocide a criminal offense.
On the homepage of Boyer's site, the hackers posted an image of the Turkish flag accompanied by a message written in both Turkish and English. "You, the diaspora Armenians, are such cowards that you don't have guts to open up the Armenian archives and face the truth," the message read. It went on to describe the French as "pitiful and pathetic" for "disregarding the truths."
Dep. Boyer, a member of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's Union for the Popular Movement (UMP) party, told reporters she has also received death and rape threats. She said her parents and children have been threatened as well.
Boyer and other members of France's National Assembly passed the controversial bill last Thursday. It will still need Senate approval before going into law. The bill proposes that anyone found guilty of publicly denying the Armenian genocide face a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros. An estimated 500,000 ethnic Armenians reside in France.
Furious about the move, Turkish authorities immediately recalled the country's ambassador to France. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said he was freezing all political visits and joint military projects.
Armenians claim Ottoman Turks massacred up to 1.5 million people between 1915-16. The Turkish government puts the number at 300,000 and insists the Armenians were not victims of genocide, but rather causalities – along with some Turks – of a failed revolt against the Ottoman Empire.
Read the full story in French on Le Monde
Photo - Wikipedia
*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations