French President Francois Hollande, on a two day visit to Turkey, is hoping to improve the often prickly relations between Paris and Ankara.
Hollande attended a ceremony at the mausoleum to Turkey’s founder, Kemal Ataturk.
The euronews reporter on the ground says that Ankara is hoping that this first visit by a French president in two decades will remove obstacles to EU entry.
In return France wants Turkey to remove trade barriers erected after French attempts to outlaw the denial of the Armenian genocide.
At a press conference Hollande spoke of the challenge a country faces when it wrestles with its past.
“The task of remembering is always painful, but it must be done,” he said. “What we have to work for is reconciliation by looking for what happened and by recognising what happened.”
Turkish President Abdullah Gul took a different position, recommending that they not relive the suffering of a hundred years ago.
“In this case what needs to be done,” he said, “is leave it to historians”.
Trade barriers will occupy the next leg of Holland’s trip. In Istanbul he will attend a forum for French and Turkish business leaders.
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