Turkey Scraps French Military Ties over Genocide Bill

World | November 16, 2006, Thursday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Turkey has suspended all military ties with France over a French bill to make it a crime to deny Armenian "genocide". Turkish land forces commander General Ilker Basbug said this was in protest at a motion by the French National Assembly in October, which approved the bill. The bill would have to be approved by the French Senate and President to become law. France's Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry had no immediate comment. The Turkish general spoke at a reception in honour of the founding of the breakaway republic in Turkish northern Cyprus. Armenia says Ottoman Turks killed 1.5 million people systematically in 1915 - a claim strongly denied by Turkey. Both France and Turkey are members of the NATO military alliance, and Turkey is a market for French-made weapons. The two countries also have participated in military exercises together, and have sent troops to serve in the international peacekeeping force in Lebanon. The move raises tensions with a key member of the European Union at a time when Turkey's negotiations to become a member of the EU25 look increasingly troubled. Neither side is willing to give way on a dispute over divided Cyprus. Turkey has refused to extend its customs union to include Greek Cyprus, despite EU warnings that failing to do so would risk the suspension of membership talks.
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