by Staff Writers
Paris (UPI) Dec 29, 2011
The Web site of the French Senate was functioning again this week after it was hacked by Turkish protesters upset at an Armenian genocide bill.
The Senate's Web site was commandeered Christmas Eve by a hacker identifying himself as the notorious Turkish computer outlaw Iskorpit, who boasts of having hacked 500,000 Web sites, France24 reported.
The cyberattack came as the upper chamber of the French Parliament was considering whether to approve a bill passed by the National Assembly that would outlaw the denial of the 1915 massacre of Armenians in Turkey as a crime of genocide.
The attack rendered the Senate's Web site inoperable for two days but it was functioning again Tuesday, authorities said.
Also affected was the Web site of National Assembly member Valerie Boyer of the ruling UMP party, who was the primary sponsor of the genocide bill.
Her Web site was still inoperable Tuesday, the broadcaster said. The lawmaker's site showed a black screen with a Turkish flag while it was commandeered, with messages in Turkish and English signed by a group calling itself "GrayHatz" denouncing the bill as "pathetic and pitiful" and accusing France of committing genocide in Algeria, France24 said.
The French news site Nouvelobs.com reported "GrayHatz" shares membership with another cyberterror group called Akincilar, which attacked the Web site of satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo after it angered Muslims in November.
The newspaper, which ran an image of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover, was firebombed in the incident.
The Akincilar promised to "hack the Web sites of every single French lawmaker" along with their GrayHatz "friends," Nouvelobs.com said.
Boyer told reporters that she was filing a criminal complaint for harassment, claiming she had received death threats aimed at her, her parents and children.
The National Assembly last week passed the bill that criminalizes denial of the 1915-16 deaths of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide. France and approximately 20 other countries, including Italy, Canada and Russia, have formally recognized genocide against the Armenians.
Turkey, however, disputes that the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Christian Armenians was carried out as a systematic genocide and that Turks also suffered during the conflict.
Ankara recalled its ambassador to France immediately following the Assembly's adoption of the bill, which must be passed by the Senate and signed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to become law.
Turkish ally Azerbaijan, which is locked in a dispute with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, voiced support for Ankara, adding the French move doesn't help an international effort to resolve the "frozen conflict."
Azeri Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov told the Turkish daily Today's Zaman Monday his country is "badly disappointed" by the French Parliament's decision.
"Putting my feet in the shoes of my colleagues in Ankara, I cannot trust a country [Armenia] which creates genocide initiatives on the one hand and speaks about a desire to cooperate on the other, not recognizing the territorial integrity of Turkey and compromising the borders of the country," Azimov said.
Turkey backs Azerbaijan's claims to majority-Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh, which revolted against Muslim Azerbaijan in 1993 following the collapse of the former Soviet Union.
Baku claims Armenian forces that backed the rebels expatriated most of the region's Azerbaijani settlers during the fighting.
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