ANKARA, Turkey (A.W.)—Official Ankara announced this week that it has recalled its ambassador to France. The Turkish government’s decision came on the heels of the French Parliament vote to criminalize Armenian Genocide denial.
According to Turkish State Television (TRT), Ambassador Tahsin Burcuoglu will return to Ankara.
Ankara also announced sanctions on France. “As of now, we are canceling bilateral level political, economic, and military activities,” said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Zaman. “We are suspending all kinds of political consultations with France” and “bilateral military cooperation, joint maneuvers are canceled as of now.”
On Dec. 22, the French Parliament approved a bill criminalizing the denial of the genocide and rendering it punishable with a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($58,000).
A special delegation of Turkish officials had arrived in Paris on Dec. 19 to prevent the bill from passing. More than 2,000 Turks demonstrated against the bill outside the French Parliament building. Several proposed amendments aimed at diluting the bill were voted down.
The French Senate is expected to vote on the bill in March 2012.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had likened the move as one from the Middle Ages. “If this proposal is legislated, France will pioneer the return of the Middle Ages mindset to Europe,” Anatolia News Agency quoted him as saying. The law would “create a new dogma about understanding history, to forbid alternative thoughts. This is the mentality of the Middle Ages. The adoption of this mindset in France is the greatest danger to Europe.”
Addressing his government officials, Davutoglu said it would be “out of the question to leave unanswered an attempt by any country leader, government, or parliament to dishonor our country and nation.”