Turkey calls on France to halt 'genocide' bill

By REUTERS
December 20, 2011 20:03




ANKARA - Turkish President Abdullah Gul called on France on Tuesday to drop a parliamentary bill making it illegal to deny the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey was genocide.

Tension has risen between Paris and Ankara in the last week over a draft law put forward by a member of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's party to be debated in parliament on Thursday.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan wrote a letter to Sarkozy last week warning political and economic relations would suffer grave consequences if the bill is passed. But it is not clear what unilateral steps Turkey, a WTO member, can take.

"We ask France to immediately give up the initiative that will bring it into a position where it is does not respect ... freedom of expression," Gul said in a statement.

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