Turkey Strikes Back, Accuses France of Algerian GenocideWorld | December 23, 2011, Friday // 14:53| views
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. EPA/BGNES
France has committed genocide against the people of Algeria, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed a day after the lower house of the French parliament adopted a bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian genocide.
"France massacred an estimated 15 per cent of the Algerian population starting from 1945. This is genocide," Erdogan declared, as cited by The Telegraph. He further accused French President Nicolas Sarkozy of "fanning hatred of Muslims and Turks for electoral gains."
Turkey has been infuriated by the French bill that would make it illegal to deny the mass killing of Armenians during World War I in the Ottoman Turkish Empire was genocide. It has already been announced that Turkish Ambassador to France Tahsin Burcuoglu will leave the EU member state on Friday
Even though the bill is yet to be passed by the French Senate, Turkey's main political formations have condemned it, saying it "denigrates Turkish history", and there have been protests outside the French embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
Turkey is also set to freeze its military ties with France, as well as boycott an economic committee meeting in Paris in January.
Turkey rejects the term "genocide" to describe the killing of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire.
Armenians say up to 1.5m people were killed by the Ottoman Turks in 1915-16.
Ankara says closer to 300,000 people died, and that Turks were also killed as Armenians rose up against the Ottoman Empire when Russian troops invaded eastern Anatolia, now eastern Turkey.
More than 20 countries have formally recognized the killings as genocide.
Under the proposed bill, those publicly denying genocide would face a year in jail and a fine of EUR 45 000.
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