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Turkey Cuts Ties with France over Armenians

Ankara will pull its ambassador from France, cancel all bilateral political, military and economic meetings.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/22/2011, 8:28 PM


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Thursday that he would cancel all political, economic and military meetings between representatives of Turkey and France. He also forbade French aircraft from landing in Turkey and said French ships were no longer welcome in Turkey's ports.

Turkish television reported earlier that Ankara would call back its ambassador from Paris.

The crisis was precipitated by a bill ratified Thursday in the French parliament, according to which denying the 1915 Armenian genocide would be punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year and a 45,000 euro fine. The bill has yet to receive final approval in the senate.

Turkey has been threatening a tough response if the bill is passed. Armenia, meanwhile, expressed its official thanks to France for approving the bill.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian told AFP that France had "once again proved its commitment to universal human values."


Armenians say up to 1.5 million people were killed by the Ottoman Turks in 1915-16. Turkey claims the number is about 300,000 and that Armenians also killed Turks, in an Armenian uprising against the Ottoman Empire precipitated by a Russian invasion in the course of World War 1. More than 20 countries have formally recognized the killings of the Armenians as genocide.

France's legislation is believed to be connected to the fact that there are about 500,000 Armenians living in the country and their vote may help decide the country's presidential election next year.