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France Responds to Turkey Pulling Military Ties


France offered a low-key reaction to Turkey's announcement it is suspending military ties over a recent Armenian genocide vote in the French parliament.

At the heart of the dispute is the recent approval by French deputies of legislation making it a crime to deny an Armenian genocide took place in Turkey a century ago. The bill needs to be passed by the French Senate and approved by French President Jacques Chirac before becoming law.

But the matter has sparked anger from Turkey, which denies an Armenian genocide took place.

Wednesday, a Turkish general announced Ankara had suspended military ties with France. But a French foreign ministry spokesman says France has received no official word from Turkey.

French defense officials say they doubt Turkey's move will fundamentally hurt diplomatic relations.

But analyst Jean-Francois Daguzin, of the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris, believes the impact may be more severe than has been suggested.

Daguzin says Turkey's reaction to the French legislation is among the strongest to date. He says Ankara traditionally makes countries who fall out of favor pay a steep political price and the suspended ties could affect military cooperation.

Turkish and French troops are stationed and work together in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kosovo, Bosnia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition, French and European companies supply Ankara with a significant amount of military equipment.

Recently Turkey's relations with the European Union have been rocky. Ankara wants EU membership, but it has yet to fulfill a number of European conditions for accession talks, including opening trade with EU member Cyprus.

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