Turkey’s prime minister is warning France to examine its own history before making laws about Turkey’s in a row over the deaths of Armenians during the time of the Ottoman Empire.
France has been pushing for the killings to be recognised as genocide and may pass a law making it illegal to deny it was.
However, during a press conference on Saturday, Recep Tayipp Erdogan made scathing remarks about the proposed legislation:
“Those who want to recognise genocide should take a look at their own dirty and bloody history. If the French National Assembly wants to take an interest in history, let it go to the trouble of highlighting and looking at what happened in Africa, in Rwanda and Algeria,” Erdogan said.
A draft of the law is due to go before French parliament on Thursday, and if passed anyone breaking it could get a one-year prison sentence and a 45,000 euro fine.
Erdogan has already written to French President Nicolas Sarkozy cautioning political and economic relations between the two countries could suffer if France goes ahead with the law.
Armenia says 1.5 million of its people were killed in eastern Turkey from 1915 to 1917.