ANKARA (Reuters)–Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit on Tuesday called on NATO ally France to leave to historians a dispute over whether Ottoman Turks massacred Armenia’s 85 years ago.
He spoke before a debate by the French National Assembly on Thursday on a parliamentary bill formally accusing Turks of genocide against Armenia’s. Ecevit repeated frequent Turkish warnings that ratification would harm relations between the two countries.
"So-called genocide claims should be left to the objective assessmen’s of historians. Evaluating and using a historical event for daily politics would be a great mistake," the state-run Anatolian news agency quoted Ecevit as saying.
Turkey has faced a series of similar accusations despite fiercely denying the accusations and saying both sides suffered losses during 1915 partisan fighting.
The European Parliament ratified a resolution late last year accusing Turkey of conducting the genocide during the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire.
"If the bill is approved–it is clear that Turkey will not be responsible for the damage the relations between the two countries will naturally suffer,” the agency quoted Ecevit as saying in reference to the French motion.