December 23, 2011
Turkey’s prime minister has accused France of having committed genocide during its colonial occupation of Algeria in the latest round of the worst diplomatic row between the two Nato allies in more than a century.
The claim by Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday follows French MPs’ approval of a law that would make it a criminal offence to deny that the mass killing of Armenians in 1915 by Ottoman Turks was genocide.
Turkey has frozen political and diplomatic relations with France, recalling its ambassador to Paris and suspending all economic, political and military meetings. Erdogan has withdrawn permission for French military planes to land and warships to dock in Turkey and annulled joint military exercises. He said he would decide, case by case, whether to allow the French military to use Turkish airspace.
“What the French did in Algeria was genocide,” he said in a deeply personal speech laced with criticism of France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy.