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France’s Constitutional Council has been asked to determine whether a bill concerning the mass killings of Armenians a century ago violates the constitution.

The bill makes it a crime to deny that the killings of some 1.5 Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 constituted genocide. Turkey, which says there was no systematic campaign against Armenians, is strongly opposed to the bill and says relations with France will suffer as a result.

Both houses of French parliament passed the bill in recent weeks. On Tuesday, the Constitutional Council said legislators have submitted a formal request that the body rule on its constitutionality.

Turkish officials welcomed the move. President Abdullah Gul said, “I hope the French court makes the right decision.”

HP

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