Turkey’s Envoys Return to France Canada after Genocide Disagreement

(AP/AFP)–Turkey’s ambassadors to Canada and France have returned to their posts after being been recalled to Ankara because of disagreemen’s on whether the massacres of Armenia’s during World War I constituted genocide–a Turkish diplomat said on Thursday.

The ambassador to Paris–Osman Koruturk–and the ambassador to Ottawa–Aydemir Erman–"have returned" to their posts after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and foreign ministry officials–the diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The foreign ministry said on Monday the two had been summoned to Ankara "for a short time" for consultations. Turkey has warned Paris that bilateral ties will suffer if the French parliament adopts a bill that would make it a punishable offence to "deny the existence of the 1915 Armenian genocide."

A first reading of the French bill–proposed by the opposition Socialist Party–is scheduled for May 18. It follows a 2001 French law officially recognizing the Armenian genocide and–if approved–the new bill would provide for a five-year sentence and a 45,000 Euro (57,000 Dollar) fine for any person who denies that the 1915-17 massacres constitute genocide.

Turkish Lawmaker visiting France said they "relayed the Turkish people’s strong reaction to our French colleagues" and warned that there were calls for a boycott of French goods in Turkey and that Turkish-French relations would be severely harmed if the bill is passed–Turkey’s Anatolia news agency reported.

Turkey was also angered when Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper reaffirmed the Armenian genocide during commemorations of the 91st anniversary of the Genocide on April 24. The Turkish foreign ministry said at the time that Harper’s words were "appalling" and would "negatively affect" bilateral ties. In protest–Turkey withdrew from a planned multi-nation military exercise to be held in Canada–officials in Ottawa said on Wednesday.

In 2002–the Canadian Senate recognized the Armenian genocide as the first genocide of the 20th century and the House of Commons followed suit two years later.


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