By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — More than 140 French deputies and senators have asked the Constitutional Council to examine the legality of the new bill that makes it a criminal offense in France to deny that a genocide of Armenians by Ottoman Turks occurred a century ago.
Both houses of the French parliament passed the bill in recent weeks — triggering a furious reaction from Turkey and threats of Turkish sanctions against France.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to sign the measure into law in early February.
Turkish officials welcomed the referral to the Constitutional Council, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying, “I hope the Constitutional Council will do what is necessary.”
France formally recognized the Ottoman-era acts as genocide in 2001.
The modern-day Turkish government denies that any genocide of Armenians occurred.