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France's National Assembly last October approved a socialist-drafted proposal which stated that those denying the genocide should be punished by one year in prison and pay a fine of €45,000.In order to come into force, the bill would have had to be approved by the country's senate where the current centre-right government of Dominique de Villepin and President Jacques Chirac - both opposing the bill - holds a majority."I sometimes receive hateful messages, hate emails from nationalist people reacting to my novels or comments but most of those come from Turks living abroad rather than those living in Turkey." She believes the phenomenon can be explained as the "immigrants' psychology", adding "Most immigrants freeze their mindset and they become much more conservative.They embrace and defend their identity strongly because they always try to retaliate in response to a bigger majority identity.Nevertheless, despite temporary successes, current events keep forcing the government to return to its “Balatonõszöd legacy”.The government’s task is made more difficult by the fact that since the autumn riots, the activities of far right groups have been in focus.The left-of-centre media, whilst stressing the danger posed by the extremists, endeavoured to present the number of those participating in the anti-government actions as minimal, and simply cast some organisations and individuals as ridiculous.
But she argues that the trials in Turkey of intellectuals and authors for their comments on this and other taboo topics is actually evidence of the ongoing transformation of Turkish society.It came at the same time as an EU deadline for Ankara to fulfil its obligation over Cyprus or face a freeze of its membership talks and was seen in Turkey as yet another negative political message against its European aspirations.Elif Shafak, one of the best known Turkish novelists, says that the French move sparked nationalist reactions in her country that eventually mainly harmed people like herself who are trying to push for an open debate about sensitive issues such as the Armenian genocide.The ruling capped a long legal battle for Carla Boni who had won a ruling in a lower court to adopt the son of her partner Marie-Laure Picard who was conceived through artificial insemination."This decision stems from a conservatism that is unjustified," Boni told LCI television.