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French vote 'pitiful', Ankara says

ANKARA, Turkey, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- A Turkish lawmaker said a French measure criminalizing denial of the Armenia genocide in 1915 was "pitiful."

Turkish relations with Armenia are complicated by claims of genocide during the Ottoman Empire. Last year, Turkey reacted angrily to a series of measures passed in Sweden and the United States that described the killing of Armenians in World War I as genocide.

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Ankara said Thursday it recalled its ambassador in Paris after French lawmakers made it a crime to deny the 1915 atrocities were an act of genocide.

Turkish Labor Minister Faruk Celik said the French measure was an outrage.

"This is a measure which is against all European Union standards, norms and laws," he was quoted by Turkish daily newspaper Today's Zaman as saying. "I see this as pitiful."

Turkish opposition Republic People's Party issued its own condemnation, accusing the French government of tampering with history.

Turkey has said there was no systematic attempt to wipe out the Christian Armenian people in 1915.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in an op-ed in the Turkish newspaper published before the French vote, said Paris was making decision largely for political reasons.

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"You know very well that whatever the laws dictated by domestic politics the truth cannot be silenced, and ultimately only the voice of truth will be the loudest and resonate more," he wrote.

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