TURKEY FREEZES ALL POLITICAL RELATIONS WITH FRANCE
Turkey has frozen relations with France, recalling its ambassador and suspending all economic, political and military meetings in response to French MPs' approval of a law that would make it a crime to deny that the mass killing of Armenians in 1915 by Ottoman Turks was genocide.
The furious Turkish reaction to Paris's parliamentary vote marked an unprecedented low between the Nato partners, The Guardian reports.
Accordinf to the source, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, cancelled permission for French military planes to land and warships to dock in Turkey, annulled all joint military exercises, recalled the Turkish ambassador to France for consultations and said he would decide case by case whether to let the French military use Turkish airspace.
He said this was just the start and "gradually" but "decisively" other retaliation measures would be taken against France. He warned of heavy diplomatic "wounds" that would be "difficult to heal".
A majority of the 50 MPs present in France's lower chamber approved the bill which would make denying any genocide - but implicitly the Armenian genocide - a criminal offence punishable by a one-year prison sentence and a fine of €45,000 (£37,500). The bill was put forward by an MP from Sarkozy's rightwing UMP party, but the issue was supported by socialists.
"This is politics based on racism, discrimination and xenophobia. This is using Turkophobia and Islamophobia to gain votes, it raises concerns regarding these issues not only in France but all over Europe," Erdogan said, accusing the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, of deliberately courting the large Armenian-French vote ahead of next year's election.
The French foreign minister Alain Juppé said he didn't want "our Turkish friends" to "overreact". Earlier, trying to smooth the row with Turkey, he dismissed the bill as "useless and counterproductive". He said Turkey, "a proud nation", should work on its issues of history and memory, but threatening French criminal sanctions was not the right way to make them do it.
Under Sarkozy, who opposes Turkish entry to the European Union, relations between Paris and Ankara have been difficult. But the Nato allies had been working together on key issues such as the Syria uprising. Erdogan said Turkey was now "suspending all kinds of political consultations with France".
A Turkish official indicated the freeze would not affect the country's membership of Nato, and that the withdrawal of military co-operation would be at a bilateral level.
ANNUAL CONSUL'S SILICON VALLEY RECEPTION: A NEW EVENT TO APPRECIATE THOSE WHO "GIVEN SO MUCH FOR ARMENIA"By Gourgen KhazhakianOn December 17, 2011 a special event sponsored by Consul General of the RA in Los Angeles and the ArmTech Congress was held at San Jose Fairmont Hotel, which, due to its success, is expected to be repeated ...
ANNUAL CONSUL'S SILICON VALLEY RECEPTION: A NEW EVENT TO APPRECIATE THOSE WHO "GIVEN SO MUCH FOR ARMENIA"By Gourgen Khazhakian
- 1868 Death of Father Arsen Bagratoonee, writer and author of "Haik Dyootsazn".
- 1900 Lenin publishes the first number of the "Iskra" newspaper in Leipzig (Germany).
- 1908 Birth of Yoosoof Karsh. He is an Armenian portrait photographer in Ottawa (Canada).
- 1952 Death of Anton Gazeli, writer and publicist.
- 1964 The Armenian SSR creates the districts of Artik, Gugark, Kamo, and Hrazdan.