Turkish army suspends relations with France

16th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

ANKARA, Nov 16, 2006 (AFP) - The Turkish army has suspended its military relations with France in retaliation for a French parliamentary bill which would make it a crime to deny that the World War I massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks constituted genocide, the army chief said late Wednesday.

ANKARA, Nov 16, 2006 (AFP) - The Turkish army has suspended its military relations with France in retaliation for a French parliamentary bill which would make it a crime to deny that the World War I massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks constituted genocide, the army chief said late Wednesday.

No high-level visits had taken place between the two countries for that reason, General Ilker Basbug was quoted as telling journalists at a reception here by the semi-official Anatolia news agency.

Turkey has warned that bilateral ties will suffer a great blow if France adopts the bill, which foresees one year in jail for anyone who denies that Armenians were the victims of genocide by Ottoman Turks between 1915-17.

The bill was approved by the lower house of the French parliament last month but still needs the approval of the Senate and the president to take effect.

Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their people were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire, modern Turkey's predecessor.

But Turkey rejects the use of the term "genocide", saying some 300,000 Armenians died when the Ottoman Empire fell apart, but at least as many Turks did too.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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