Turkey riled by genocide reference

Dec. 15, 2004 at 10:43 AM

BRUSSELS, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- France's demand that Turkey accept responsibility for the alleged 1915 Armenian genocide has drawn an angry denial from Ankara, The Times of London reports.

In preliminary talks among European foreign ministers on Turkey's entry into the European Union, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Turkey must first officially recognize the 1915 genocide.

"When the time comes, Turkey should face up to the requirement of remembrance," Barnier said. "The European project itself is founded on reconciliation."

Historians claim Turkish authorities orchestrated the killing of 1.5 million Armenian Christians, who were indigenous inhabitants of Turkey, in an attempt to make an ethnically pure nation. However, subsequent Turkish governments have maintained only a small number were killed in spontaneous violence.

Tuesday saw a similar denial from an unidentified government official in Ankara.

"They are just trying to make us angry. It is their last chance to cause trouble against us," the official said.

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