Turkey considers action against France

The Turkish prime minister has said Ankara is studying retaliatory measures against France following the approval of a law making it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide.

    Erdogan said Turkey would take the necessary steps

    Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that the government would take measures within Turkey and abroad.
    "Turkey's foreign trade volume with France is $10 billion and this is equal to 1.5 per cent of France's whole foreign trade volume.

    "We're going to make the proper calculations and then take necessary steps," Erdogan said.

    Turkey denies claims that Armenians suffered genocide in Turkey during World War One, arguing that large numbers of both Muslim Turks and Christian Armenians died in a partisan conflict that accompanied the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

    The EU also reiterated its criticism of the French move.

    Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, said: "We don't think that this decision at this moment is helpful in  the context of the European Union's relations with Turkey."

    The Armenian government welcomed the French vote, saying that Turkey had carried out a "intensive, aggressive and official" campaign to stop the killings being recognised as genocide.

    France's lower house of parliament voted for the bill on Thursday, despite warnings from French firms that it would create repercussions for their business in Turkey, a fast-growing market which imported 4.7 billion euros' worth of French goods in 2005.

    "There are no real threats in current trade, though perhaps [there could be] with some big contracts," a French Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

    The bill still needs approval from the upper house, the Senate, and Jacques Chirac, the president, to take effect.

    Hundreds of French firms such as Renault and Carrefour have large investments in Turkey, employing thousands of Turkish workers.

    This week Turkish consumer groups and some trade unions called for boycotts of French products.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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