Turkey recalls envoys posted to France, Canada

9th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

ANKARA, May 8, 2006 (AFP) - Turkey said Monday it had temporarily recalled its ambassadors in France and Canada for consultations over disagreements with both countries on whether massacres of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire should be termed genocide or not.

ANKARA, May 8, 2006 (AFP) - Turkey said Monday it had temporarily recalled its ambassadors in France and Canada for consultations over disagreements with both countries on whether massacres of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire should be termed genocide or not.

"Our ambassador in Paris, Osman Koruturk, and our ambassador in Ottawa, Aydemir Erman, have been recalled to Ankara for a short time for consultations on the latest developments," the foreign ministry said in a brief statement.

"We foresee that our ambassadors will return to their duties after the consultations," it said.

Last week, Turkey warned France that bilateral ties would suffer "irreparable damage" if the National Assembly passes a bill that would make it a punishable offence to "deny the existence of the 1915 Armenian genocide".

If approved, the bill would provide up to five years in prison and a EUR 45,000 fine for any person who denies that the 1915-1917 massacres of Armenians were genocide.

The bill, which follows a 2001 French law officially recognising the massacres as genocide, was proposed by members of the opposition Socialist Party (PS) and will have its first reading before the Assembly on May 18.

Turkey was also angered when Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper referred to the "Armenian genocide" as fact in a statement praising commemorations of the 91st anniversary of the killings on April 24.

The foreign ministry said at the time that Harper's words were "appalling" and would "negatively affect" bilateral ties.

In 2002, the Canadian Senate recognised the massacres as the first genocide of the 20th century and the House of Commons followed suit two years later.

Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings between 1915 and 1917, as the Ottoman Empire, modern Turkey's predecessor, was falling apart.

Turkey categorically rejects the claims, saying 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with Russian troops invading Ottoman soil.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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