France tells Turkey 'admit to Armenian genocide'

13th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Dec 13 (AFP) - France wants Turkey to acknowledge the World War One massacre of Armenians during negotiations on its membership of the European Union, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Monday.

BRUSSELS, Dec 13 (AFP) - France wants Turkey to acknowledge the World War One massacre of Armenians during negotiations on its membership of the European Union, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Monday.

"It is a request that France will make, to recognise the tragedy from the start of the century .... Turkey must carry out this task as a memorial," he told reporters after talks with his EU counterparts in Brussels.

France's Armenian community has vowed to press President Jacques Chirac to prevent negotiations on Turkish membership of the European Union until Turkey acknowledged responsibility for the massacre.

EU leaders are expected to give Turkey a conditional green light at a summit this week to start membership talks with the block, while setting a series of strict conditions and warning the whole process could take at least a decade.

The Armenian massacre has been a bone of contention for nearly nine decades, with Turkey consistently refusing to acknowledge that genocide in 1915-1917, when up to 1.5 million Armenians died.

Turkey says that between 250,000 and 500,000 Armenians and thousands of Turks were killed in civil strife during World War One, when the Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers.

The French parliament passed legislation in 2001 stating that genocide had occurred, thereby causing hard feelings in relations with Turkey.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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