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France seeks to mend ties with Turkey over genocide law

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France seeks to mend ties with Turkey over genocide law


France has urged Turkey not to take tit-for-tat measures over a draft bill that makes it illegal to deny the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.

Despite outward appearances, diplomatic tensions have long been fraught, most notably over Ankara’s desire to enter the EU.

France says the bill will become a law in two weeks, however it has urged Turkey not to take retaliatory measures which could hurt both countries.

“What is happening in France is not aimed against Turkey, we respect Turkey – today’s Turkey, the Turkish people and, as I said, we welcome Turkey with open arms. I hope that Turkey doesn’t overreact to what happened in France,” said Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.

Turkey’s Prime Minister however appears in no mood for conciliation. Recep Tayyip Erdogan told parliament the bill was “discriminatory and racist.”

“Those who remain silent and indifferent to these developments are guilty of not hearing the footsteps of fascism in Europe,” he added.

Turkey disputes the term genocide and claims many Turks died during fighting in eastern Turkey in 1915 and 1916. A view seemingly shared last week by a French Senate committee which warned the law would be unconstitutional because it violates the right to freedom of speech.

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