TURKEY BREAKS OFF MILITARY CONTACTS WITH FRANCE

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
November 16, 2006 Thursday 8:54 AM EST

Turkey on Thursday broke off military contacts with fellow NATO member
France in protest against a proposed French law criminalizing denying
that Turkey committed genocide during the First World War.

According to Turkish media sources quoting military chief Ilker Basbug
in Ankara, high-ranking visits will no longer take place between the
two countries.

Last month, deputies in the lower house of the French parliament,
the National Assembly, voted by a large majority in favour of a bill
that would make it a crime to deny that Turkey committed genocide
against the Armenian people more than 90 years ago.

The Turkish parliament condemned the move as a blow to freedom of
speech and warned it would hurt French-Turkish bilateral relations.

While Turkey admits that massacres took place, it vehemently denies
that the deaths of Armenians during the war were part of a planned
genocide.