Relations between France and Turkey strained over genocide

22nd December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Here are key dates in relations between France and Turkey since Paris in 2001 recognised as genocide the massacres of Armenians perpetrated during World War I by the forces of Turkey's former Ottoman Empire.

Armenians says 1.5 million were killed in a genocide, but Turkey rejects the term and says between 300,000 and 500,000 Armenians, and at least as many Turks, died in combat or from starvation when Armenians rose up and sided with invading Russian forces.

On Thursday French lawmakers backed a bill to ban the denial of the genocide.


- January 18: French deputies adopt a bill that recognises the genocide. Turkey immediately recalls its ambassador to France for consultations and says that "serious and lasting harm" has been done to Turkish-French relations.


- December 17: French President Jacques Chirac backs the opening of EU membership talks with Ankara, but says "the road will be long and difficult."

He earlier said talks could last for up to 20 years.


- October 12: The French parliament approves a bill that would make it a crime to deny the genocide. Ankara says France has dealt "a heavy blow" to bilateral relations. The text is later rejected by the parliament's upper house.


- October 5: France and Turkey say they will work to mend fences and seek closer cooperation.


- May 17: Turkish President Abdullah Gul says efforts by some countries, notably France and Germany, to block Ankara's entry into the EU are "unacceptable".


- October 7: French President Nicolas Sarkozy urges Turkey to recognise the genocide within a "very brief" period before his term ends in May 2012.

- December 16: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeals to Sarkozy to block a new bill which would see anyone in France who publicly denies the genocide facing a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($58,000), and warns of "serious consequences" if it is adopted.

- December 20: Gul makes an appeal to France to drop the bill, saying that the planned legislation is unacceptable.

- December 22: The French lower house backs the law.

© 2011 AFP

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