ReutersAzerbaijan, which lost land in a war with neighboring Armenia, on Friday condemned French draft legislation making it a crime to deny the genocide of Armenians by Ottoman Turks and said the massacre was a "fantasy".
Azeri President Ilham Aliev, speaking in English, criticized the bill, which was approved by France's lower house of parliament earlier this month causing fury in Turkey.
"It has nothing to do with reality. The so-called genocide is the fantasy of the Armenian lobby ... to justify their aggression against other countries to present themselves as the victims," Aliev told foreign journalists. He said the bill was a "blatant violation" of democracy.
France is home to Europe's largest share of the Armenian diaspora.
Azerbaijan, which shares with Turkey the Muslim faith, common ethnic roots and a similar language, lost its Nagorno-Karabakh territory to its Christian neighbor Armenia in the 1990s during a full-scale military conflict in which some 35,000 people were killed.