Turkey Continues to Threaten France

ANKARA (Reuters)–The Turkish military-dominated National Security Council warned France on January 22 that its accusations of the Turks committing genocide against Armenia’s in 1915 would threaten security in the region.

Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said any counter-measures against France after the French National Assembly passed the resolution last week should not harm Turkey’s interests. Turkey rejects charges of genocide–saying both sides suffered losses during partisan fighting as the Ottoman empire crumbled.

"It has been evaluated that this resolution will have a negative effect on regional stability and security,” said a statement issued after a meeting of the National Security Council–an advisory body dominated by the military which meets to discuss politics.

"This resolution seriously damages Turkey-France relations,” the statement continued–without indicating if any retaliatory action might be taken.

Ecevit–who discussed possible steps against France with his coalition partners–said any measures would be a response to a few "irresponsible politicians” and not to the entire French people.

"We must warn France without harming ourselves,” he told reporters. "We should not target the French people–most of whom come and visit our country.”

French arms manufacturers have an interest in lucrative weapons deals as Turkey’s armed forces prepare to spend an estimated $11.2 billion upgrading helicopters and tanks–and France is a member of the European Union–which Turkey hopes to join eventually.

The European Parliament late last year passed a similar non-binding measure accusing Turks of genocide. The US Congress dropped a resolution on the same issue after then President Bill Clinton warned it would threaten US interests in the Middle East.

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