Turkey freezes relations with France over genocide denial bill

December 23, 2011


Turkey Freezes Relations With France Over Genocide Denial Bill

By Steve Bryant and Emre Peker

Turkey froze political and military relations with France in retaliation for the approval by the French parliament’s lower chamber of a measure that makes it a crime to deny genocide against Armenians a century ago.

The government recalled its ambassador to Paris for consultations, canceled a joint meeting of economy and trade ministers in January and halted all programs for training and cultural affairs, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday in televised remarks in Ankara following the vote.

Turkey has been warning France for the past week that its fast-growing economy means it can hurt companies such as Airbus SAS and Electricite de France SA if the measure goes through. It was presented by a member from the party of President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is seeking re-election in April and trailing his socialist opponent in the polls.

The French legislation is “injust, inaccurate and Turkey condemns it vehemently,” Erdogan said. “People will not forgive those who distort history, or use history as a tool for political exploitation.”

The premier said Ottoman Turkey had not committed genocide against Armenians and his country is proud of its history. The measures are the first steps in a series of sanctions against France that will follow, depending on what course the French parliament and government take, he said.


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