France apparently has written a new chapter in its history textbooks, and in its recent history of confrontation with Turkey. The story of Ottoman Turkey's slaughter of ethnic Armenians, which Ankara claims was collateral damage from World War I, has been included in France's high-school-level world history textbooks, Armenian and Turkish media report.
The news comes just as Paris and Ankara were hesitantly trying to make up after a bitter diplomatic row over a law (eventually scrapped by France's Constitutional Court) that criminalized assertions that the massacre was not genocide.
In July, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu traveled to Paris to talk trade and ways of crafting "a new understanding" in Franco-Turkish ties.
In August, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius returned the courtesy with a trip to Turkey to discuss the Syria crisis and to visit a Syrian refugee camp.
Nonetheless, the law's influence lingers on. Before his election this year, President François Hollande told voters (and, in particular, Armenian Diaspora voters) that "a new law" would address assertions that the massacres were not genocide.
Whether or not the textbooks fall under that same general goal is unclear.
So, too, at times, is the question of whether the entire French government is on board with Hollande's objective.
Foreign Minister Fabius in July underlined at a joint press conference with Davutoğlu that it "will not be possible" to pick up the same genocide law again.
A few days later, though, an unidentified source in the president's office told Reuters that Hollande's promise for a new law "will be met."
Whatever the end result, Turkish education ministry officials will be among the first to read the amended history books. If they find anything incriminating Turkey, a diplomatic response will follow, Turkey’s Today's Zaman reports.