Turkish FM: Ankara to drop sanctions against Paris over Armenian Genocide bill

Turkish FM: Ankara to drop sanctions against Paris over Armenian Genocide bill

Photo: www.wikipedia.org

Ahmet Davutoglu

Turkey on Thursday praised the positive attitude adopted by the new French president toward relations with Ankara, saying that sanctions imposed on Paris over the Armenian Genocide bill row would no longer be implemented.

“Sanctions will drop from the agenda thanks to this new stance adopted by France,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a televised interview quoted by international newswire agencies. The Turkish official added that he would be visiting Paris next month.

New French President Francois Hollande promised to open a “new page” in relations, which hit a low over French objections to Turkey’s bid to join the European Union and controversial legislation in France seeking to make it a crime to deny the Armenian Genocide.

Turkish-French relations deteriorated when Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy was in power, who angered Turkey when he pushed ahead with a bill to criminalize the denial of the Genocide.

After the contentious bill passed in the National Assembly in December Turkey retaliated by suspending military and political cooperation with Paris.

But France’s top constitutional court struck down the bill in February, saying it violated freedom of expression, in a ruling welcomed by Ankara. Sarkozy vowed to launch new legislation but was defeated at the polls first.

During the interview, Davutoglu said he would pay an official visit to Paris on July 5 for talks with French officials.

“After the talks on July 5, this stagnation in bilateral ties will hopefully be over," he added.

On Wednesday, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Hollande on the sidelines of a UN meeting in Brazil. The two leaders then reportedly agreed to turn a “new page” in relations.

Erdogan also invited Hollande to make the first official visit to Turkey by a French president in 20 years, and received a positive response, according to the Anatolia news agency.