Turkey proposes bill that says French committed genocide in Algeria

The proposal was a tit-for-tat move, and the latest expression of Turkey's disapproval of NATO ally France, whose parliament on Thursday postponed voting on a similar bill that would make it a crime to deny that Turks committed genocide against Armenians around the time of World War I.

Mahmut Kocak, a legislator from Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party representing the city of Afyon, said his proposal included making May 8 of every year "The Genocide Carried out against the Algerians" day. Under Kocak's proposed law, anyone who denied that the French committed genocide against the Algerians could be put in jail and fined up to 100,000 Turkish lira (about US$70,000).

Turkey's government has argued that designations of genocide should be debated by historians, and not legislated by politicians. Nonetheless, several countries, including France, have passed resolutions recognizing the killings of as many as 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey as genocide.

The bill in the French parliament would have taken recognition one step further, however, by making it a crime to say Turks did not commit genocide, similar to a French law that makes it a crime to deny that Nazi Germans committed genocide against the Jews during World War II.

Turkey vehemently denies that it committed genocide against Armenians, saying many were killed as the Ottoman Empire fell but it was not part of an organized genocidal campaign, the AP reports.

The Turkish legislator's remark was aimed to hit a sore spot in French history.