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24 April 2024

Armenians name baby 'Sarkozy' after France genocide vote


A couple in Armenia named their newborn baby  after French President Nicolas Sarkozy in thanks for the French Senate vote to outlaw denial of the genocide of Armenians during World War I.

The family said the child was given the first name Sarkozy out of gratitude to the French leader, who many Armenians have praised for backing the bill.

"We were going to name the baby after his grandfather, but after the French Senate passed the bill despite threats from the Turks, we decided to name him in honour of the president of France, this brave man," the boy's grandmother Alvard Manukian told AFP.

"Let our baby, Sarkozy Avetisian, become a man as brave and just as his namesake," his grandmother said.

Armenia has hailed Sarkozy for his commitment to the bill which has infuriated France's NATO ally Turkey, with President Serzh Sarkisian saying on Tuesday that France had "reaffirmed its greatness and power, its devotion to universal human values".

Armenia and its diaspora in countries around the world have long campaigned for international recognition of the killings by Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide, despite strong denials from Turkey.

The issue has poisoned relations for decades between the two neighbours whose mutual border remains closed.

Armenia says that planned massacres and deportations left more than 1.5 million of its people dead, but Turkey puts the number at up to 500,000, describing the bloodshed as civil strife.