France - Armenia - Turkey

France carried out genocide in Algeria, claims Turkey

Reuters/Umit Bektas

The war of words continues between Paris and Ankara with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accusing France of committing "genocide" in Algeria. His comments come after French lawmakers voted a bill a day earlier criminalising the denial of the Armenian genocide. 

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"France massacred an estimated 15 per cent of the Algerian population starting from 1945. This is genocide," Erdogan told a news conference after the French vote.

In a separate move, Turkey has frozen military and diplomatic ties with Paris after the French parliament approved the draft law, while the Turkish embassy in Paris says its ambassador has been recalled and has already left the country.

"This is politics based on racism, discrimination and xenophobia," Erdogan said on Thursday, warning of "irreparable damage" to relations and suspending political visits between the two Nato allies.

"From now on we are revising our relations with France," he added. "There was no genocide committed in our history. We do not accept this."

Under the draft law, people can be jailed for a year and fined 45,000 euros for denying that the killings of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by Ottoman Turk forces during World War I amounted to genocide.

In retaliation, Turkey's premier said the country would rule on a case-by-case basis on any French request to use Turkish airspace or military bases and would turn away French military vessels from Turkish ports.

Turkey would also boycott an economic committee meeting in Paris in January, Erdogan said - a move that will worry business leaders in both countries fearful for the fate of 12 billion euros in annual trade.

In Paris, Foreign Minister Alain Juppé termed Turkey's decision regrettable, and urged the country not to "overreact".

"Turkey is an ally of France and a strategic partner," Juppé said, citing work done by the states in Nato and the G20 to address the crisis in Syria, bring peace to Afghanistan and develop security in the Mediterranean.

The United States also urged France and Turkey, both Nato members, to de-escalate the row.

Prime Minister Erdogan has accused France's President Nicolas Sarkozy of pandering to domestic voters, and warned of an escalating scale of Turkish sanctions against France.
 

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