Turkish ambassador to return to Paris

After being recalled following French bill on Armenian genocide, the Turkish embassy says ambassador set to return.

By REUTERS
January 6, 2012 17:03
1 minute read.
Turkey's Erdogan and Frances' Sarkozy

Erdogan and Sarkozy R 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

 
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PARIS - Turkey's ambassador is returning to Paris after he was recalled for consultations in response to a draft French law that would make it illegal to deny that the 1915 mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks amounted to genocide.

"He's coming back this weekend and will be in the embassy on Monday," a Turkish embassy official in Paris told Reuters.

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France's Senate upper house will examine the bill on January 24.

It was overwhelmingly approved last month in the lower house, prompting Ankara to cancel all political, economic and military meetings with Paris and summon its ambassador home for consultations - one step short of a complete recall.

Representatives of Turkish and Armenian groups, and the Turkish and Armenian ambassadors, are invited to a Senate hearing next week on the legislation, which its backers want in place before parliament is suspended at the end of February ahead of an April presidential election.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has described the bill as "politics based on racism, discrimination and xenophobia".

The French government has stressed that the bill, which mandates a maximum 45,000-euro fine and a year in jail for offenders, came at the initiative of a conservative lawmaker and not from President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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France is Turkey's No. 5 export market and the sixth-biggest source of its imports, with bilateral trade worth $14 billion in the first 10 months of 2011.

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