x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

France and Turkey face off

Readers advocate for a wider plastic-bag ban, consider the volatile political situation in Pakistan, question equal treatment of Arabs in the United States and condemn corruption in French politics.

France's Armenian genocide bill, which led to counter-accusations from Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is an example of politics creating an unneeded controversy, one reader comments. Bulent Kilic / AFP
France's Armenian genocide bill, which led to counter-accusations from Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is an example of politics creating an unneeded controversy, one reader comments. Bulent Kilic / AFP

Nabila Ramdani's comment article about Jacques Chirac and his co-defendants (Unworthy of the guillotine, Paris's graft is no less vile, December 22), who are convicted of breach of trust and embezzlement of party funds, should be a pretty tough read for most Parisians since their sympathy and affection for Mr Chirac is well-known.

During his time as mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995, and as French president from 1995 to 2007, Mr Chirac failed to reform France or bring it in line with modernity, but his anti-war stance on Iraq and his devotion to values that are reassuringly French was admired by Parisians.

His frank remarks, or unforgettable gaffes, about the UK ("one cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad") and about women ("there have been women I loved a lot, as discreetly as possible") were enjoyable for the French people nonetheless.

His political career which started in 1962 when he was only 30, as the head of the personal staff of Prime Minister Georges Pompidou, could have ended in a respectable and remarkable manner, but the state officials seem to show zero tolerance towards abuse of trust.

He was guilty of corruption, and that is not to be tolerated despite his present mental and physical illness, sadly.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

Plastic bag ban should be wider

Banning plastic bags is a step in the right direction (Solution to plastic bag ban is in the bag, December 23) .

However, this also needs to apply to retail stores and not just supermarkets. So many plastic bags are tossed away everyday from customers buying clothes, shoes and other items.

Project GreenBag, Dubai

Army humiliated by request to US

The front page news article Conspiracy to oust Pakistan government (December 23) highlights the tension between three major Pakistani officials: the prime minister Yusuf Gilani, the president Asif Ali Zardari and the military chief Achraf Kayani.

The memo was delivered to the then American military chief by the then Pakistani ambassador to the US seeking help to rein in the powerful army on behalf of the president of Pakistan. This is undeniably an important case in the country's history, but not the most important.

The most important case remains the humiliation of Pakistan's army by the US raid on Abbottabad. Pakistan did not know that the world's most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, was living just a few kilometres away from its main military academy for five years.

A request for armed intervention from a country's president to another country's military officials shakes the morale of the armed forces who are supposed to sacrifice their own lives to defend their beloved country.

Ali Sedat Budak, Abu Dhabi

Not everyone gets same protections

In reference to the story Two Muslims to sue airlines after being taken off US internal flight (December 22), imagine if a Caucasian American citizen was treated in such manner.

The western media would go into a xenophobic frenzy as is so often the case. One is free to insult others as long as it is directed towards Arabs and Muslims in the land of free speech.

Name withheld by request

Genocide bill will increase tensions

This is in reference to Turkey suspends ties with France following passing of Armenian genocide bill (December 23).

It is a crime to publicly deny the Holocaust of European Jews in France. Ironically, you can get away with it in the United States and Great Britain, the two historical nemeses of Nazi Germany. There is no shortage of sympathy towards Holocaust victims in these countries but their lawmakers have so far refrained from passing such legislation as there are many technical problems with applying it and serious freedom of speech concerns.

That is different in France. There are now attempts to prosecute anyone who publicly refuses to accept that the massacre and forced expulsion of Armenians from eastern Turkey in 1915 is genocide. Even if the bill does not actually pass into law, much harm is already being inflicted to relations between Turkey and France as well as between Armenians and Turks whose opinions are polarised on the issue.

Meanwhile, no one remembers that Armenians and Turks  had co-existed in peace for centuries and had it not been for power games and divide-and-rule policies of the imperialist powers including France during the dying days of the Ottoman Empire, there would have been a lot more Armenians remaining in Anatolia today.

Chinar Yazici, Abu Dhabi