16 November 2006

1233) Turkey ends French military ties

 © pix The French move led to street protests in Turkey

The commander of the Turkish army says his country has suspended all military ties with France.

General Ilker Basbug said this was in protest against a bill passed by the French National Assembly to make it a crime to deny the Armenian "genocide". . .

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 dispute comes in the midst of worsening relations between Turkey and the European Union - of which France is also a key member.

Some European leaders say Turkey is not making sufficient progress in membership talks to join the Union.

The new French bill, tabled by the opposition but opposed by the French government, needs approval from the Senate and president before it becomes law.

16 November 2006
http://news.bbc.co.uk

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