French politician Valérie Boyer and her staff seem to like Wikipedia — too much, maybe. Their admiration for the online encyclopedia will now be forever documented in governmental transcripts, after the opposition politician presented a draft law which was allegedly copied from the platform in large part. She and her assistants didn't even remove Wikipedia's footnotes, according to French newspaper Le Figaro.
On Tuesday, French media outlets exposed the plagiarism when they analyzed the law proposal which argues that France should recognize the Assyrian genocide during the World War I under the Ottoman Empire.
As WorldViews reported earlier, in the final days of the Ottoman Empire, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians and Assyrians were killed. Armenians argue that the killings were committed by Turkish soldiers, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to acknowledge the historical guilt.
Speaking to Le Nouvel Observateur's Rue 89, an unnamed assistant to Boyer confirmed the allegations: "There are only few information on this subject, so the MP decided to overtake some wordings from Wikipedia." The assistant was also quoted as saying that the copied sentences had been fact-checked before being published.
Boyer is considered an expert on the topic among French politicians — an aspect which has raised larger questions over how much politicians really know about the goals they pursue.
This tweet, published by an Armenian organization last month, appears to show the MP during a commemoration of the killings in Marseille in the south of France.
La CBAF était très heureuse et très fière de partager ce moment avec Valérie Boyer#marseille # commémoration genocide pic.twitter.com/grulaOPoiC
— CroixBleue Armeniens (@cbafmarseille) March 21, 2015
"In their haste, the delegates did not even take the time to erase the traces of their iniquities. In their reckless and rude act of plagiarism they even copied the links leading to the original sources of the encyclopedia," France's leading center-left Le Monde newspaper commented.
The incident has certainly shed an uncomfortable light on the conservative UMP opposition party, headed by former president Nicolas Sarkozy. The party had recently been shaken by a series of scandals and internal squabbles.
Sarkozy himself acknowledged in a recent interview with Le Figaro that his party's "brand is a little worn off." Last month, however, the UMP party made unexpected gains in local elections and can now even hope to win the 2017 presidential elections.