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Turkey warns France over genocide vote

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Turkey warns France over genocide vote


A row is brewing between France and Turkey over a parliamentary vote in the French lower house which is expected to outlaw denial of genocide.

Although not named in the bill it will cover the controversial killing of Armenians in 1915 at the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Turkey denies the deaths amount to genocide.

MP Patrick Devedjian of Armenian decent supports the bill and said: “The fact Turkey is sending delegations to France and threatening us because we want to consider a law which would be introduced in France only, and not in foreign states, shows that Turkey is acting in bad faith.”

The vote has provoked protests outside the French embassy in Ankara. Many in the country view the move as a political ploy by President Nicolas Sarkozy to win the support of 500,000 ethnic Armenians living in France.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned of boycotting French goods and cancelling significant construction contracts. He said, “the preposterous step Sarkozy is taking to win votes will harm relations between Turkey and France.”

More than 1.5 million Christian Armenians were killed in what is now eastern Turkey during World War One in what some allege was a deliberate policy of genocide. Ankara says many Turks and Kurds were also killed as Russian troops invaded the region.

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